How Do You Pay For A Solar Panel Installation
Once you know the cost of solar for your unique project, its time to decide how youll pay for solar. There are three primary ways to finance a solar panel installation: a cash purchase, a solar loan, or a solar lease/power purchase agreement.
Generally, a cash purchase is right for you if youre looking to maximize your savings from solar, you have enough tax liability to take advantage of the solar tax credit, or you have the funds available to pay for a solar panel system upfront.
A solar loan is right for you if you dont want to shell out the amount of cash required to pay for a solar panel system upfront, you still want the most savings on your electricity bills as possible, and you would like to be eligible for all incentives and rebates.
A solar lease or PPA is right for you if you would prefer someone else to monitor and maintain the system, if you arent eligible for tax incentives, or if youd just like to reduce and/or lock-in your monthly electricity bill.
How Community Solar Can Save You Money On Your Next Electric Bill
Solar Developer » How Community Solar Can Save You Money on Your Next Electric Bill
For people who cannot install rooftop solar, such as renters or low-income families, community solar is often the only option to access renewable energy. With no upfront costs or capital investments, community solar removes many of the financial and physical barriers to solar energy. As a bonus, early participation in community solar comes with financial incentives and allows users to save on electricity bills.
Annual Kilowatt Hours Of Electricity Usage
Look at your utility bill to see your annual electricity consumption in kilowatt hours then compare it to the results you get from PV Watts.
If you own and occupy a commercial building, you may be able to offset a significant amount of your electricity usage with solar.
If a tenant pays the electricity, your common electricity charges can be offset or you can create a green lease so that both you and your tenant benefit from solar.
If there is excess electricity produced, you may be able to sell the electricity produced to others, as in the case of selling renewable energy certificates or providing community solar.
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How Does Solar Panel Installation Work
The process for switching to solar doesnt happen overnight. It may take weeks or even months to decide on a solar provider and an additional several weeks to six months before your system is fully operational. The amount of time it takes depends on a companys availability and schedule, as well as the permitting and inspection processes where you live. The size and type of solar panels you choose can also affect the length of this process.
In general, though, solar panel installation occurs in five steps: survey, design, permitting, installation and connection.
Community Solar Farm Overview Faqs
Who is community solar for?
The short answer: all Mainers! Community solar is inclusive solar, meaning it is appealing to a large variety of people who are interested in transitioning to solar power but who dont have the opportunity to invest in solar on their own property. This includes renters and apartment or condo owners, small businesses in larger buildings, homeowners or business owners with structural roof issues or insufficient sun exposures, and Mainers planning to relocate in the foreseeable future. CSFs are also a great option for customers who already generate electricity through rooftop solar but want additional clean energy than what they are capable of producing on their property.
Should I install rooftop panels or own solar on a solar farm? Is one more beneficial or cheaper?
The long-term investment in a community solar farm is roughly the same as rooftop solar. The economy of scale renders CSF power less expensive than rooftop solar power, but of course, this depends on the specifics of your property and your electricity needs. Solar farms have the benefit of greater accessibility and scale, while rooftop solar has advantages related to battery storage and home resale value.
Does my solar farm have to be in the town where I live? Where will it be located?
How many other members of my solar farm will there be?
Are CSF projects insured? If so, what type of insurance do you carry?
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Easier Option For Going Solar If Youre Selling Or Moving Homes
People who are planning to sell their home or anticipate a move will find that joining a community solar program is much easier than buying and installing rooftop solar panels.
Community solar takes away the hassle of having to worry about solar lease transfers, as well.
The best part is that if you are moving within your electric utilitys service territory, you can simply transfer your solar share to your new home.
If youre moving further away, its usually possible to sell your share to someone else.
The Cost Per Kilowatt Hour You Pay For Electricity
Under the Retail Electricity Rate section, enter the commercial cost per kilowatt hour that you currently pay for electricity from your utility in the Rate field.
PV Watts uses your current cost per kWh for electricity to calculate the amount of money you can save per year by using commercial solar.
You can look up the rate for commercial electricity on your utility bill or through a site that aggregates energy suppliers, like this one.
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The Pros Of Nexamp Community Solar
Is Nexamp Community Solar your best option? This depends on your personal situation and requirements.
Nexamp offers flexibility to consumers. There is no upfront setup fee, and they don’t make you sign up to a long term contract. Not only that, you can opt out of your contract at any time with no cancellation fee.
If you are renting, planning on moving soon or you are a low to middle income consumer, community solar can be a great option for you. With no up-front cost, you can reap the benefits of renewable energy resources with no personal out of pocket expense.
Community solar is also ideal for homes where rooftop panel installation is simply not an option, whatever the reason may be.
Another added bonus of community solar is there is zero maintenance on your behalf. In a properly managed community solar system, specialist staff will be responsible for monitoring performance, thereby saving you the time and hassle.
To recap the pros of community solar:
- No upfront costs or cancellation fees
- Its great if you are renting
- An easier option if you plan to move
- Can help you get into the market if you are a low to middle income consumer
- Will not affect the look of your home
- Zero maintenance worries
Kw Solar System Price
The average home located in a very sunny climate can easily use a 5kW system to go off-grid. A smaller-than-average home with a backup system could also go off-grid with a 5kW solar system in a moderately sunny area. At this size, the system can generate sufficient power for most homes. If you have excessive energy needs, it may still be too small. A 5kW system costs around $40,000 to $45,000 for off-grid use.
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Solar Rating Is Irrelevant
If you want to install a rooftop solar array, it is necessary to know the sun score or solar rating of your property. This relates to the time for which sun shines on your roof. The solar rating also explains the intensity of the sunrays.
It helps to analyze how much power one can generate through a rooftop solar array. However, the subscribers of the community solar garden dont require any kind of solar rating.
As long as the solar garden receives the sunlight, you are good to use this facility.
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How Are Solar Panels Installed
In a sense, all the research youre doing now is the hardest part of installing solar panels on your home. The time between when you get a quote from a solar energy company to solar panel installation can be anywhere between one and four months. The whole process can be described in six steps:
Consider hiring a good electrical engineering consultant to look over the proposed system prior to purchase as well. This will help ensure that you get the right system for your needs.
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How Do I Know What A Good Deal Is
The Illinois Commerce Commission and the Illinois Power Agency have to sign off on community solar contracts, so there are consumer protections. But some offers might be better for you than others.
Here are some questions to ask when deciding between community solar offers:
How long is the term of your contract with the community solar provider?
Does the company charge a fee if you exit the contract early?
How do you pay for your community solar subscription? If it is per kilowatt hour, what is the rate? Can that rate increase over the time of the contract?
Do they require a credit check?
How will the company bill you? Electronically? A paper bill? How do they accept your payments? Can you choose? Do they require automatic payments?
How much will I save? So far, people are expected to save anywhere from 10 to 20 percent on theelectricity produced through their community solar subscription. Keep this in mind when looking at offers.
Production Of The Facility:
The sun does not always shine in Minnesota. Developers rely on models to estimate the production of their facilities. A solar developerâs claim that its facility will produce a certain amount of energy may not pan out. The Public Utilities Commission has not standardized the method developers use to estimate the production of their facilities. Therefore, consumers should know how the energy production of a solar garden will impact their costs, and whether they think the production estimates are reasonable.
Solar Panel Costs By State
Solar panel costs in the U.S. typically include equipment and installation services. Visit the Solar Energy Industries Association website to learn about local incentives and tax credits in your area. Its usually in your best interest to take advantage of state clean energy programs when you can it lowers your upfront costs and shortens your payback period. According to our analysis, Washington is the greenest state, followed by Oregon and New Hampshire.
How Much Does It Cost To Go Off
- Added the Off-grid Internet Solutions section.
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- Added a section on the number of panels needed to go off grid.
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As energy costs rise and concerns about the environment grow, homeowners are seeking their own energy solutions. Many homeowners have started installing solar panels to go off-grid and reduce their dependence on traditional electricity. Going completely off-grid or creating a stand-alone power system involves more than installing solar panels. Those who accomplish it untether their homes from the standard electrical power grid.
Solar Costs Over Time Continue To Fall
A solar panel system hasnt always been $2.76/W. As recently as five years ago, the cost of solar panels was almost 20 percent higher than it is now:
Prices will likely continue to fall even more in the future. The solar industry is still young, and theres plenty of innovation still to come. As manufacturing and installation processes mature and become even more efficient, solar shoppers will hopefully start to see some of those cost savings impacting their sticker price for solar.
Do Solar Panels Damage Shingles
So, do solar panels damage your roof when installed? For most homeowners, as long as your solar panels are properly installed, they shouldnt do damage to the exterior or the infrastructure of your roof. When solar panels are installed, installers will drill holes into the roof to anchor and mount the panels securely.
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Advantages Of A Community Solar System
1. Available for Tenants
If you live in a rental house or apartment, then its likely that you cannot install solar panels on your roof.
2. Your Residences Solar Potential Does Not Matter
Each property goes through an analysis to determine how beneficial it will be to install solar panels. Factors such as the amount of direct sunlight, the degree of shade, and various others are measured. Then, you score all these factors. After that, you calculate the total sum by adding up all the numbers. Community solar does not require all these processes.
3. Lower Up-front Payment
4. Quicker Returns
Community solar energy has low initial financial requirements. Therefore, the payback period is shorter.
If you subscribe to a community solar system, you can start saving money almost immediately if there was no upfront fee or within a year or two.
5. No On-site Installation
Community solar projects are carried out in public or community-owned land. Therefore, it is ideal if you have limited roof space for roof-mounted solar panels.
6. No Physical Equipment
You dont have to worry about the monitoring, maintenance, and repair of the solar panels.
All of that is the responsibility of the community solar provider, who hire trained professionals.
7. No Technical Support Is Required
Since there is no physical equipment in your house, you dont have to worry about diagnosing the system faults and fixing them.
Who Is Offering Community Solar Subscriptions
While some utilities and cooperatives have their own community solar projects, Xcelâs community solar program relies on independent developers who contract to provide the power to Xcel. Xcel agrees to purchase the power from the solar garden and provide a bill credit for subscribers. With some limited exceptions, Xcel does not participate in the construction of the facility or evaluate the contracts between the solar gardens and their subscribers. Instead, consumers enter into contracts with one of these independent developers, so they should carefully research the company they are working with, before signing a contract or paying money.
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But Do You Really Own The Panels
Even if you have signed your name on the back of your solar panels in the community solar project, remember that this is mostly symbolic. As the owner of a share in such a project, the important thing that you own is the rights to the electricity that your share of the project produces. In fact, contracts place restrictions on what you may physically do with your solar panels
This is a good thing: once youve bought your share, your panels are worth much more where they are than at home on your roof. In addition to the panels, a solar project is built with many commonly shared, non-divisible componentslike invertersthat allow the panels to efficiently produce usable electricity for all owners.
Remember that your individual panels are not directly linked to your power bill. Instead, the overall monthly electricity output of the solar project is always divided between all owners according to each ones share of ownership. So its in your interestand everyone elsesfor your panels to stay put.
Community Solar Wont Affect Your Homes Aesthetic
The look of rooftop solar panels isnt for everyone.
Some people get around this problem by installing solar panels on a secondary structure like a carport, or by opting for a ground-mounted solar array instead.
Of course, not everyone has the ability to place solar panels on their property while keeping it out of sight. If that is the case for you, joining a community solar project might be ideal it allows you to benefit economically from solar, without sacrificing your homes aesthetic.
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The Bottom Line: Are Solar Panels Worth It
Solar panels can be a beneficial investment for your home by saving you money long-term on the cost of electricity and increasing the value of your property. However, there are factors that you should consider before making the switch, including how much sunlight directly hits your house daily and the layout and direction of your roof. Residential solar systems in states that are, on average, sunnier will typically perform better, and south-, west- or southwest-facing roofs get more sun exposure.
You should also take a close look at your monthly electricity bill and compare it against your states average energy cost. Solar panels may be a good solution if you have consistently high payments or your cost is more expensive than in other areas of your state. On the other hand, you may not see enough cost savings to justify the expense of installing a home solar system if you have relatively low bills or can find ways to cut down electricity usage significantly.
Its also crucial to determine what incentives, if any, your state offers for solar energy, including a net metering program and tax credits. Remember that you can only take advantage of these incentives if you own your panels, either by paying for them outright or through a loan, so you need to consider whether your budget allows for a purchase rather than a lease.
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