Quick tips and the most important things to know when buying solar:
- Do not lease a solar system (or sign a Power Purchase Agreement).
- Instead, buy and own your solar system. And get a 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) refund from the federal government.
- If you need financing, look into adding onto your mortage or getting a home equity line.
- Or as the next best financing choice, you can go with various solar financing companies or PACE financing companies.
- Understand the cost breakdown of your solar system. For most systems, you should not pay more than $3.50 per watt installed (i.e. ~$17,500 for a 5kW system).
- Understand the value your system will generate. In an average location in the US, a solar system should generate about 1500 kWh of energy per year for each kW of system size. Assuming you are already paying a value of $0.30 per kWh, that equates to $450 of value generated for each kW installed (i.e. for each ~$2,500 of investment).
- Do your ROI (Return on Investment) calculation. Assuming a $0.25 cost per kWh, and assuming 1500 kWh / kW of generation, a typical $3.50/W system should yield a return of $375 per kW per year. To see the complete ROI calculation of a sample system click here.
- Go with a local solar installer when you can. To find decent solar installers click here.