Many homeowners who are considering – or want to consider – installing solar panels are concerned most about the upfront cost of such a project. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save money on solar panels today. You don’t have to pay full retail price, or even put money down in some cases.
Here’s how you can afford going solar this year:
1. Lease Solar Panels
Instead of owning the solar array yourself, you enter into a contract with a solar company that will install, own and maintain the installation on your rooftop. When you lease solar panels, you only pay a fixed monthly cost for the electricity generated by the panels. Not only is the amount less than what you would otherwise pay your utility company, but it is green energy (help save the environment) and you guard against utility rate hikes during the life of your lease (20-30 years).
2. Negotiate a Group Discount
We’ve blogged about solar panel group buying services such as those provided by One Block Off the Grid (1BOG). Enter your zipcode at the website and they will let you know if other homeowners in your area are also considering going solar. Then, 1BOG will negotiate a group discount for all those interested, which can save you 20% off retail.
3. Look into Financing for Solar Panels
Solar panels are considered to be a good investment, not only by homeowners, but also by various contractors, financial institutions and banks that offer financing for solar arrays and home equity loans for energy efficiency projects, at discounted interest rates.
4. Tax Credits and Incentives
This one is practically a no-brainer. Solar tax credits, rebates and incentives are offered in every state, as well as the federal government. The federal tax credit allows up to 30% of solar panel installation costs. Coupled with state or local rebates, you can save as much as 80% off the cost of solar power.
5. Solar Renewable Energy Credit
Most states in the U.S. allow homeowners to add onto the power bill savings they enjoy each month with solar panels through Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC). The program works by giving financial credit for each megawatt-hour of electricity generated by the owner’s residential solar power system. Depending on the individual state’s program, SRECs are basically a financial instrument, sold to utilities or solar energy markets. People with home solar panels can expect credits of $200-700 a year, which is a nice bonus to lower power bills!