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How to Get Solar For No Money Down

What’s the largest set back when it comes to going solar? Cost. But, is there a way around a large upfront payment? Ideally, you could go solar for no money down, and no additional money out of pocket.

 

Good news, solar doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, the cost of solar has gone down substantially, so much so that it can be virtually free. Now, like most things, it is only going to be ‘free’ by utilizing every incentive out there. Making the switch to clean, renewable energy can occur with zero to no money down.  And the way to do so is easier than many people think!

Reducing Your Solar Installation Cost

Costs vary from company to company in regards to solar systems. Some factors that play into the overall solar panel price is your location, the size of the solar energy system you would like installed, and the amount of sunlight your solar energy system will collect. On average, out-of-pocket purchasers can expect to pay a solar panel price of $7-$9 per watt of power. Fortunately, many solar companies offer energy systems with zero down options using financing, solar leases and Power-Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

Solar financing is one of the best options to go solar for zero money down and not pay any additional money out of pocket. How does this work, though? Let’s say you’re currently paying $200/month for energy, with solar you could have a monthly electric bill of $10-$15 and with solar financing, you could pay $150/month. This would allow you to pay a total of $175/month, saving you around $35/month. While $35 isn’t much, it does add up over time! While these numbers are just an estimate, it allows homeowners to see a rough estimate of how they can go solar for no additional money out of pocket. The other cool thing about solar financing is that you can receive a tax credit up to 30% of your system price.

Solar leases and Power-Purchase Agreements are special programs that were created to help homeowners take advantage of solar installation without having to spend thousands of dollars on the solar panels. Usually, with this circumstance, a company will install the panels onto your roof and will then either sell you the electricity generated for a set price or lease the system for a monthly rate. The main downside to a lease or PPA is that as the homeowner you won’t receive a tax credit for your system, in fact, your solar provider will collect that tax credit.

Solar Leases Versus PPAs

For solar leases and PPAs, a potential agreement might look like the following.  You agree to a 20-year agreement with your local solar installation company, which is most likely under a full warranty. Then, your solar panels are installed with zero down and you pay your agreed-upon monthly stipend either following the lease’s terms or the PPA’s terms. On average with agreements like this, homeowners see 10%-20%-worth of savings on their energy costs when using solar.

Deciding whether you should opt for a lease or a PPA depends on the retail cost of electricity in your area. With a lease, you can save close to $19,000 over a 25-year span, on average. PPA pricing usually starts out much lower than the cost of electricity. However, the cost of a PPA increases around 2-3% annually to keep up with retail electricity costs.  This is one of the main reason why its best to go solar sooner rather than later! Additionally, if you are opting for a PPA, it is important to search for one with lower annual increases to maximize cash savings.

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