Solar on Residential Homes is becoming Increasingly Popular
Investment trends: Consumers have historically invested in remodelling kitchen and bathrooms to increase the value of their homes. Installing solar and energy storage systems is added to the list recently. Not only does it increase the value of homes beyond the cost of the system, but it also pays for itself.
Benefits of Solar system:
- If correctly sized, solar system has a potential to pay for itself in 5~7 years or lesser. That can be a 15%-20% or higher return on investment.
- Take advantage of the 30% tax credit offered by IRS before it is reduced after next year and eventually phased out. Please talk to your CPA how you can take advantage on your 2018 taxes. You should have installed your system in 2018.
- Protect against increase in utility rates. PG&E has increased cost of power by over 163% in last 7 years (23% increase every year).
- PG&E is planning a major change in billing plans starting 2019. All residents will be moved from current tiered plans to Time-Of-Use plans. This could increase cost of power by up to 15% ~ 25%
- Electric cars are becoming a norm in California. They consume significantly more power than most homes currently use. Solar system reduces cost significantly for car charging at home instead of using utility power.
- Storage systems back essential systems such as Internet, security systems, IP phone lines, lights and essential appliances in case of power failure.
- Own vs lease: Leasing solar system sounds cheaper option. However it is generally 6x more expensive than owning a system. Leasing puts a 20 year lien on your property and you might not be able to sell or refinance until lease is paid off. After 20 years you don’tt own the system either
- System selection: There are many products in the market. Some of the recent solar products launched in 2017 and 2018 are significantly better than older technology. Look for solar panels that are 350W or more. If a vendor tries selling you panels that are 335W or smaller is size, walk away. These are obsolete, and inefficient. Such products are not being manufactured any more. Chances are some of the panel manufacturers are out of business and unable to provide product warranty.
- Installer selection: Although there are popular brand names for installing solar systems, small / local installers provide best value, service, and pricing.
After going through 5-6, I found a solar energy company (Nabu Solar) that also specializes in home and commercial building energy analytics (EnerSaaS). I have been pleased with the knowledge, workmanship, and quality of work delivered by this company. Besides pricing, \tThey have few advantages over traditional solar companies. I am happy to make introductions.
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