Unsuspecting homeowners are still falling victim to “no cost solar power system” and “free solar panels” sales pitches.
Like the old adage states – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Local news companies are in on it too, accepting ad revenue from solar companies and turning their solar services into a “news story.”
Many of the largest solar power companies in America are still utilizing highly questionable tactics to keep homeowners renters of power. “Free” and “no cost” should be major red flags, but these warnings apparently go unheeded. A common justification might sound like this – not everyone can acquire financing for a solar panel system, so these companies are helping people go solar. In reality, a homeowner has to pass credit to get a lease from one of these solar power companies. If someone’s credit situation is good enough for a lease, it’s good enough for a loan.
Instead of renting their power from utilities, these homeowners are now renting from the solar companies. What’s the point of being a homeowner if the value of ownership is not applied to your car, boat, and solar panel system as well?
So what’s the real cost of “no cost solar?” It’s tens of thousands of dollars.
Here’s a very realistic example of what happens when someone goes solar for “free”.
Before solar: Average monthly electric bill from utility – $180
After solar: Average monthly electric bill from utility – $5, Plus new solar power lease payment – $150
Total after solar payments: $155
An initial reaction might be – nice! – that’s a savings of $25/month.
However, homeowners who go this route never attempt to discover the actual cost of the solar panel system that they are renting and compare that to what their payments will add up to after 20 years.
After 20 years, that “no cost” solar power system has cost that homeowner at least $36,000. It’s at least that much because some of these solar leasing companies have rate escalators that actually increase the initial lease payment over the 20 year term.
The actual cost of an average sized solar panel system is no more than $20,000. Also, when homeowners acquire their own financing or pay cash, they can take advantage of the 30 percent tax credit, taking the final cost to about $14,000 ($14k for cash, a bit more if financed). Homeowners who sign long term leases give up their tax credit to the solar power company.
So how much sense does it make to go solar “for free” and end up paying at least $36,000 instead of getting your own financing and paying about $14,000? Not much at all, of course.
The big picture view is that more solar of any kind can be seen as a good thing. We need to increase our acceleration to a clean energy powered world. However, local economies and homeowners will benefit much more when solar is adopted the right way.
Please help spread the word that the real power of solar is in ownership.
It’s time we take the power back both literally and figuratively.