The Complete Guide To Get Free Solar Panels In 2021
I dont know about you, but Ive been thinking about installing solar panels for a while now. Solar systems are becoming much more efficient, and it feels that the time is right to kit out my home with a renewable energy source that will save me money and help the environment.
Id heard that there are ways to get government subsidies and maybe even get solar panels for free. When you look into the detail, As you can probably imagine, the story is a little more complicated. But there are some excellent incentives from the government to help you get started with a solar system.
Ive done a ton of research that I want to share with you about how to get free solar panels from the government.
No Such Thing As Free Solar Panels
CLAIM: You can get free solar panels installed on your roof!
FACT: Some companies offer solar panel installation for no money down, but its not exactly freeyoull be renting the panels, monthly, for the term of the lease, which is usually 20 years.
CUB RECOMMENDS: Explore all of your options. While leasing may make sense for some homeowners, buying your solar system outright could end up being much more cost-effective.
For several months now, weve been getting reports of door-to-door salespeople pitching free or no money down solar panels to homeowners all over Chicagoland. Sounds great! But are these offers legit?
In general, any company that says theyll install free solar panels on your roof is actually offering a solar lease.
Yes, the solar panels will be installed on your home for no money down, but you will have to pay the leasing company every month to lease the panels, and those leases typically last 20 years. Leases weve seen also include a provision allowing the company to raise the lease rate by 2.9% every year.
If you lease your solar panels, you are not eligible for the Federal Tax Credit or Illinois Shines incentive programs.
With a solar lease, you will never see a return on investment, and do not see the full benefit of the monthly energy savings. Most people will pay more over the lifetime of a solar lease than if they purchased and financed a system.
Scenario : Solar Companies Upgrades And Warranty
In a different variation of the scam, solar panels owners have been receiving telephone cold calls offering to supply upgrades or accessories alongside extended warranty products. These calls from people claiming to represent solar companies come with misleading claims such as the need for an inverter replacement, that a component is broken or faulty or that the performance of the system will be increased.
Criminals also claim to be official partners of the U.S. Department of Energy, Ofgem , or Australian Energy Regulator, which is not the case.
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Solar Panels Are Generally Low Maintenance
The Energy Saving Trust says little maintenance is required on a properly installed, well-designed solar PV system, though you’ll likely need to replace the inverter a gadget which is a key part of the mechanism within about 25 years .
Of course, though, things can go wrong. If so, check the installer warranty you get it can cover you for up to 20 yeas. If the panels are damaged by something unexpected, like a storm, you may also be covered by buildings insurance check with your insurer before you have them installed.
What Is Bad About Solar Energy
When some people think of solar energy, they think of toxic materials and leaks. But modern day panels are non-hazardous, Cohen said. The same is true for batteries that help to store solar electricity so it can be used at night or during inclement weather. The batteries are mostly lithium-based like what is used in smartphones, Cohen said, and do not have a history of leaking.
With both utility and rooftop solar, some people also dont want to look at the panels they consider them an eyesore. But many times the panels can be hidden with setbacks, landscaping or different films that make them less noticeable.
One of the other main issues for rooftop solar is that not everyone has the ability to install panels on their own roof, Schalk said. That could be because there isnt enough room, the roof faces the wrong direction for the panels to get sunlight, or there is a Homeowners Association that restricts the ability to install solar panels. It could also be a situation where someone cant afford the installation cost or lives in a building where they dont own their roof.
The good news is that many of those barriers can be lowered through good policy, Schalk said.
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Are Solar Panels Free In Massachusetts
We would love to live in a world where free solar power for your home was a reality. When you own your own solar panels you can generate free renewable energy to power your home. But sadly, there is no such thing as free solar panel installation in Massachusetts, despite what you may have seen online.
But, there are ways to go solar with $0 down and be cash positive right away, so while you may not be able to get free solar panels in Massachusetts, you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy without having to spend a lot of money upfront. Here at Boston Solar, were committed to helping Massachusetts meet its renewable energy goals and were proud to recommend affordable financing options that make solar energy more accessible.
What Kinds Of Incentives Are Available
The first point to note is perhaps an obvious one, but its worth saying. Nobody is just going to come to your house and install a solar system for free.
While there are lots of ways you can get financial help with the purchase of your solar system, it will take some careful planning, and you need to be aware of what is available to you before you get started with looking at designs. Lets go through all of the different options that might be available to you. You
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Are Solar Systems In Florida Exempt From Property Tax And Sales Tax
Yes – solar power systems in Florida are exempt from property tax and sales tax.
The sales tax exemption represents a savings of 6% on the upfront cost of a rooftop solar system.
Meanwhile, the property tax exemption means ongoing savings on your annual property tax bill. This is especially beneficial considering that when you go solar – be it on an existing roof or new home – you will see a boost to your homes selling price.
On top of the energy savings, this is a great selling point when listing your home on the real estate market.
Hidden Costs Of Free Solar Panels By Payment Plan How Do Loans And Leases Compare To An Outright Purchase
Now that you understand the nuances between solar leases, power purchase agreements, and solar loans, its important to assess the return on investment in each scenario. Heres a break down of the most potential to least potential return depending on the payment plan you choose:
- Cash purchase: buying your solar panel system outright is usually the best value over 25 years. Even though your initial cost will be steep, you can reap all of the financial benefits and savings associated with going solar .
- Personal loan: applying for a solar loan is the next best option when it comes to a return on investment. The initial cost is $0 however, interest payments chip away at energy savings for approximately the first 7 years until the loan is paid off. After that time period, you get to keep 100% of your energy savings.
- Solar leases and PPAs: choosing to go with a solar lease or PPA may be something worth considering for certain homeowners. The biggest selling point here is that there is no upfront cost, but beware that the value is dampened by the solar company who takes out their cut of your savings each month. By the end of your warranty period, the lease or PPA will have taken up more than half of your potential savings as profits for the solar installer.
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Can Free Solar Save You Money
There are numerous reasons for going solar. But the primary motivator is how much solar can save compared to your current utility company. Our utility bill is a cost that we must pay each month. With a solar PPA or solar lease, you can swap your more expensive electricity bill with a smaller, predictable monthly payment. By paying $0 down, you can start saving on your electricity costs immediately. Imagine if Time Warner Internet gave you a 30% discount on your bill for the next 20 years. Would you consider it?
Are you looking to maximize your ROI? Consider solar financing vs. free solar.
Solar Leases and Solar PPAs were a revolutionary way to remove the historically high entry barrier to purchase a solar energy system. But solar energy systems are now more affordable than ever. And solar financing is even easier to access than ever before. Which has allowed solar financing to be a viable option for homes and businesses interested in owning the system vs. a solar lease and solar PPA. With solar financing, you can benefit from owning the system, like being eligible for the Federal ITC of 26% in 2021.
Before deciding whether youre interested in Free Solar, make sure that you are fully aware of the true meaning of free solar panels. The is no such thing as free solar. It comes with a cost but typically means you can go solar with $0 down initially.
There is no such thing as Free Solar. It is Used to Describe No Upfront Cost Solar.
Consider Forme Solar Electric
The Further South You Live The More You Can Make
While you don’t need a summer home in Hawaii to get some juice from solar panels, the further south you are can make a difference when it comes to their effectiveness. Remember, this is about daylight, not hours of sunshine. Northern homes get slightly less, so where you live needs to be factored in.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that panels in Manchester could save you between £95 and £230 each year on your electricity bills, compared with around £100-£240 in London and £90-£220 a year in Stirling. See Does buying solar panels add up? below for full analysis.
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The Downsides Of Free Solar Panels
The appeal of free solar panels is that you dont need to have thousands of dollars on hand to switch to solar. This was great 10 years ago when the prices of solar panels were much higher than they are now. In fact, solar leases and solar PPAs helped drive the solar industry forward.
Now, however, the cost of solar is cheaper than ever, so making cash purchases or taking out a solar loan is a realistic option for homeowners. Free solar panels just dont offer as much of a benefit as they once did.
Actually, they tend to come with more downsides.
Rooftop Solar Leases Scaring Buyers When Homeowners Sell
A recent article lists experiences of homeowners who have had a solar lease and faced various challenges when attempting to sell a house. Thats because instead of owning them the leased the panels the the new owner of the house is required to assume a lease contract. Many sellers need to shave the asking price by the remaining cost of the lease , to draw in buyers unfamiliar with the financing arrangement. Read More in this article By Will Wade, Bloomberg.
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Solar Panel Price Vs Return On Investment
Upfront costs for solar panel installation can be a little steep, which may leave you wondering how much money you will actually save and whether your energy savings will be enough to offset your initial investment.
It is not unreasonable to think that you can cut your monthly utility bills by as much as 75% or more by switching to solar energy. Of course, the specific dollar amount will depend on where you live, the size of your home and the number of people in your household.
One way to look at it: The average household energy bill is somewhere between $100 and $200 monthly. Based on these rates, it may take about 10 years for your energy savings to cancel out the cost of solar panel installation. However, factor in savings from tax rebates and other incentives, and most solar systems pay for themselves in closer to seven or eight years.
Solar Panels For Low Income Families
In several developed solar states, the government or non-profits have solar programs for low income families, some of which are low cost or free. The most popular solar program for low income families is GRID Alternatives, which provides low-to-no cost solar systems to families that quality as low income.
GRID Alternatives uses a barnraising model that gives volunteers and job trainees hands-on experience that they can use to get jobs in the solar industry. They estimate that there are 20 million single family homes in the U.S. that qualify for low income solar programs. In California as an example, the company manages the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes Program, which is funded by the California Public Utilities Commission through utility rate-payers.
There are several other programs similar to GRID Alternatives and more information can be found at lowincomesolar.org. One of the more successful programs is the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance.
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Its Not All About The Purchase Cost
Now that weve taken a look at all the different ways to enjoy financial incentives for purchasing a solar system, youll see that the situation isnt just about how to get free solar panels from the government.
Whats most important is to make sure you know about all of the different incentives that are available to you. These may be tax rebates, loans, grants, or bonuses for selling back the electricity they produce.
You also need to consider the money youll save from generating your electricity through a solar system.
The next thing to do is shop around and decide on what solar system would best suit you. Then you can use the cost of that system as a starting point.
Next, apply all of the incentives that are available to you in your area. You should be able to figure out how much money youll need to put down on your system and then how much you will save per year in electricity costs and ongoing incentives.
Going through the steps will let you work out how long it will take you to pay off the cost of your solar system through reduced energy bills. You can expect a pleasant surprise when you look at the price of a good solar system after incentives and how quickly you will have paid everything off through savings.Related article:How Long Does It Take for Solar Panels to Pay for Themselves?
I’ve Got Solar Thermal Panels Can I Get The Smart Export Guarantee
Unfortunately, no. The smart export guarantee is only available on what’s known as solar PV, which catch the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that can be used to power household goods and lighting.
Solar thermal, which allows you to heat water and can cut down heating bills, isn’t covered. However, help is available for these types of solar panels under what’s known as the domestic renewable heat incentive scheme.
This guide shines a light on solar PV, as that’s where you can earn money by selling the electricity you don’t use back to suppliers, as well as save on your electricity bills. According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, well over half a million British homes have panels installed.
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Disadvantages Of Solar Energy
There are not many disadvantages to solar energy that we can come up with.
As mentioned above, this specific form of energy is beneficial in almost every way.
The one thing which we can say can be counted as a disadvantage is that the sun does not shine 24 hours a day.
There are times when the weather turns cloudy, or its rays get heavily blocked, which leads them not to be able to reach the earths surface, and due to that very reason, the solar panels stop producing electricity.
In other words, we can say that a user of these solar panels cannot be dependent on then all the time.
Solar panels being large, they consume a lot of space for their efficiency.
The sun doesnt shine in the night, of course, which leads to the user being forced to purchase a large battery bank to store power for later use.
Coming towards the use of solar panels in cars and other automobiles, solar energy is not that efficient as that of a vehicle using petrol or other fossils as they dont have the same speed and power as a typical fossil or gas-powered car does.
Solar panels are no doubt an excellent invention of the century and have provided many ease.
Still, due to the lack of technology, its very costly and is not affordable by everyone.
To draw to your attention, there is a thousand time more solar power that comes in contact with the earths surface than the amount that is being used by the worlds population.