Many companies offer ‘free solar panels’. What they really mean is that they will put solar panels on your roof for no money up-front, but will charge you for the electricity that they produce. This is called a solar lease or solar power purchase agreements (PPAs).
In the lease, you agree to pay a set cost per kilowatt hour. The cost is typically lower than pulling electricity from the grid. Plus, you get the added satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your part of reducing your carbon footprint.
Additionally, the contract typically sets a predetermined rate of increase per year for the length of the contract. This is comforting because you know from the onset how much the rate increase will be each year. Whereas when you pull power from the grid, you will get no such guarantee.
As with any important purchase that will impact you for a length of time, you should research several companies to see which firm will be the best fit for you. Cost comparison, contract length, and maintenance should all be topics of questions you should ask a sales representative.
Check out prices in your area and get free solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace. To see what kinds of deals companies are offering and which program will fit you best!!
A Quick Anecdote
When I put solar panels on the roof of my house in Las Vegas, I used a company called Solar City (an Elon Musk company). The entire process took me less than an hour!!!
I contacted the company, they scheduled a one-hour appointment the following week, I signed the contract via email, and then they set an installation date. I didn’t even have to be home when the installation team came by to install the solar panels!!!
The process was so smooth and seamless.
Easy Transfer of the Solar Lease: Two years later when I sold the house, the buyers needed a minimum credit score of 600 in order to take over the lease.
Home buyers typically needed to have a minimum 600 credit score in order to qualify for a loan, so the transfer of the lease was not a hindrance to the sale in any way.
In fact, solar panels probably made my home more appealing and set it apart from others in the area.
***Especially because my house was one of the last to be grandfathered in to receive solar in Las Vegas.
A Business Perspective:
It sounds crazy that legislation, in a city like Las Vegas, could pass which makes the business environment unfriendly to solar companies!!
Due to lobbying efforts, the tax credit given to companies like Solar City was eliminated.
How did this happen? There isn’t a public track record of which politicians meet with certain lobbyists.
My guess: Las Vegas receives its electricity from NV Energy, which is a Berkshire Hathaway company.
The month after I had solar panels installed on the roof of my house, NV Energy decided to slap a connection fee onto my bill because I had solar power… Go figure…
How Do I Offset These Kinds of Inflationary Costs and Fees?
Eco Economics will soon start to offer two kinds of courses. The first is to educate individuals on the topic of sustainability, and the second is to teach people about how they can increase their financial IQ.
***The sustainability course incorporates social, environmental, political, technical, financial, and economic considerations into the approach of the subject matter.
The way I offset this penalty for installing solar panels is by owning shares of Berkshire Hathaway. B Shares of course (wish I could own A shares) haha. If you are not sure why this is funny, consider looking into the ‘Increase your Financial IQ’ course.
Gasp! You may think that it is hypocritical to support a company that is against renewable technology… I would argue if you can’t beat them join them, and the wave of renewable technology is unstoppable!
NV Energy must get on the renewable energy bandwagon sometime in the near future. They have deep pockets and when they do, they will have the investment capital to make large equipment purchases (capital investments).
This will put ‘the future me’ in a position to own stock in a clean energy producing company. Our society is dependent on electricity, and as the population grows so does the demand.
A Quick Stock Portfolio Analysis: Moreover, owning stock in a utility company is a defensive portfolio strategy move (because they typically have a low Beta).
Algae: The Single-Celled Heroes of the Day!
In a prior blog, I talk about how electricity is currently produced by fossil fuels and coal (62%). One of the main issues with fossil fuels is that they produce greenhouse gasses (a harmful by-product). Algae consume carbon and convert it into oxygen.
There are many ways to capture the sun’s energy. Solar panels are just one of many innovative technologies out there. I am continuously amazed by how there is always a natural cure for issues that arise. I look forward to exploring this topin in more detail in further blog posts.
Anything about this article that you would like to know more about? If so, post a comment below!