The home economics of going solar

47888280 - solar panel on a red roofHome solar is almost always a strong option for a homeowner looking to cut down their monthly utility bill.

That holds up even in the worst markets for energy and, frankly, the worst places for sun. But we often get questions about the economics of making the switch, which is understandable given the investment solar customers are making in their homes.

Our solar math begins with one of the two purchase agreements that we offer. The first is the traditional install, which is basically the direct purchase of a solar system. That means you’ll be buying the panels, inverters, mounts, the whole shebang of equipment that captures solar energy and converts it into electricity for your home. The specific cost of this route is going to depend on your home and the size of the solar system. We’ll take a look at the type of roof, as that affects the install requirements, as well as its size and coverage by shade, both of which will determine how much equipment we can fit on it and how much direct sunlight we can find.

We’ll put together a detailed quote if this is the route you want, but this kind of system typically costs anywhere between $20,000-$40,000 and can take roughly 5-10 years to pay for themselves through energy cost savings. Again, it’s a substantial investment up-front, but that’s because it’s just that — an investment.

The reality here is that you already owe a debt to your utility company in the form of your regular bill. Short of cutting off the power to your home, you will be paying each month for electricity in what is essentially a rental agreement with your energy provider.

The traditional install route changes the equation. If you finance the solar system, you’ll still have that monthly bill, only now you’ll be getting the electricity from your panels — which you own — and your regular payment will instead be going toward that durable asset sitting on your roof. While before you paid for electricity and got nothing but that, you’re now adding permanent value to your home with equipment that will grant you a clean split from your former utility provider and steady savings of tens of thousands of dollars.

We think that’s really cool!

And that’s the traditional install. With all that said, we usually recommend the second option, which is a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA. This one is the recommended option because the savings are just so quick and simple. Rather than buying the system outright, you instead agree to purchase the discounted electricity made by the solar equipment on your roof. You pay something between zero and $500 and we do the work — and accept the costs — of designing, installing and maintaining the system.

That’s pretty much it. The PPE option can start saving you money within the month of install, with average savings of at least $50 per month. Again, we maintain the system and lock in your energy rates at a heavy discount, so there’s really nothing else to do but save money on your regular bills.

These are just the broad strokes of what goes into a quote and what you can expect from the home economics of all this. We’d love to take the time to answer any questions you might have about home electric and what it can do for you, so please feel free to call us or get in touch through our web form.