Thinking of Solar? Here are the top 7 Objections!
GUEST POST BY: Sarah Howard, Solar Consultant
Are you intrigued by the idea of solar? Have you heard about friends, family and/ or neighbors doing it? Are you tired of getting continually robbed by your investor owned utility company and looking to gain control over your rates? Does being green make you feel warm and fuzzy as long as you aren’t paying more to save the only planet we have? But wait! Change is scary, drilling holes in your biggest asset is less than ideal, and you’re worried you’ll upset the neighbors who have very astute taste and aesthetic concerns. I am here to address some of the biggest misconceptions and objections about solar and I welcome you with an open mind…
Not many Americans have thousands set aside to invest in a system. Solar, being a relatively new industry, is constantly making advancements to allow this to be more accessible for the average consumer. There are both $0 down rental options as well as $0 down loan options to help you go solar. Since the energy produced by this system will replace the energy you are currently buying from the grid, (or a portion of it) going solar with a $0 down financial product means the payments will take the place of your current utility bill! Often times the solar bill is more affordable or very close to what you are currently paying your utility company while giving you control and predictability around your rates. This is one of the first times you have a choice to gain control over inevitable inflation!
I challenge you to be open minded when looking into this. The worst thing to do is to compare yourself to other families’ quotes or hold onto information from the past. Every roof is different and times are a changin’! What I have noticed is people hear about their friends who paid in full for their system and gloat about their monthly savings. What is left out is that they put thousands of dollars upfront in order to see that savings. So, when a $0 down shopper comes in expecting the same savings as their friend who did a straight cash purchase they think they aren’t getting as good of a deal. With $0 down options the monthly installment is usually similar to what the customer is used to paying with their utility per month. If you have a great roof for solar you will be cash flow positive from the beginning. At the end of the day, there is never enough monthly savings- this is all about protecting your bill from inflation after all!
3. Technology advancements.
NASA just celebrated the 60th year anniversary of the solar cell. Photovoltaics do not change similarly to our cell phones and computers. It makes more sense to go solar now so you can start saving now and take advantage of the incentives while they last as they do nothing but disappear over time. There are new prototypes in the works currently but as with any new technology, there are inefficiencies. It can be expensive out of the gate plus these things take time. Take a look at this Consumer Reports article that draws attention to why now is a great time to go solar in relation to technology, price and incentives.
4. Will my roof leak?
All I can say is you get what you pay for. The “bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten….”. Know what mounting hardware you are getting. Make sure it is aluminum and has an elevated water seal. Bonus points for a lengthy warranty! Quick Mount PV is a recommended brand of mounting hardware.
5. What’s involved in maintenance?
I recommend working with a nationwide provider that offers a LABOR warranty and a pay back performance guarantee. Any reputable company will monitor and maintain your system for 20+ years. Don’t be fooled by a company leading with manufacturer warranties as you will be left paying for the labor which is the most expensive part. There are no moving parts and the equipment is quite resilient. You will need a new inverter on average every 13 years and the company should swap it out for you at no cost. By the way, Chinese made panels are not all crap and American made panels are still made with Chinese parts. Focus on the 200,000 American JOBS solar creates! We are in a global market after all…
The more mainstream this becomes the less this will even be considered as an issue. Panels are much more sexy these days with black back sheets and frames. Companies can show you a remote design as if the panels are already up on your roof in the initial proposal. You are in control as to where you would like to place them as long as it is within building code. There are more and less efficient locations but it is your call. Plus, most companies incentivize their customers to spread the word about their program- when neighbors drive by and see how nice your install looks they are sure to have questions!
Again, solar is the future. This may have been the case in the past but we now have teams dedicated to transferring these agreements. Berkeley Labs has also proven it adds $4/W to the resale value of the home. This gives you an edge in the housing market. Why wouldn’t a buyer want to walk into a home that has more affordable energy with no maintenance fees? This is the only $0 down home improvement you can make that is sure to improve the resale value of your home.
Your concerns are certainly valid and may have even been true way back when! Far too many times people have missed out on an amazing opportunity to gain control over their energy rates. Their expectations may not have been set properly or they couldn’t look into this with an open mind due to fear of the unknown. One third of people can’t go solar at all based around their roof layout, shade, building code etc. If you have solar access, consider yourself lucky to have the choice of producing your own, clean, reliable energy! Solar works and it is time to stop being a passive energy consumers and take control of your energy rates! This industry is quickly advancing and becoming more accessible for all, not just those with a large bank account or good credit. Shine on!
GUEST POST BY:
Sungevity | Generate Positive | 66 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94607