Buying solar can seem like a complex undertaking. Here are some FAQs to make it a little easier
How much will a system cost?
Don't you hate "it depends" answers...we do to but it's true because so much depends on this: how much energy do you need; how much roof do we have to work with; how much upgrading is necessary for the electrical integration?
But here is an answer. Our systems will cost from $8,000 for a small residential to $40,000 plus for large, rural "solar farm" systems.
If you own a typical home, please expect $8-16,000.
If you own a larger rural property and desire a larger system, then $18 - 25,000 are good starting points.
Please remember - our estimates are free and we can firm those estimates up after we speak and see the site.
Do I need batteries?
Typically - No. 90% of what we install for our residential customers is a "grid-tied, no battery backup" system. This means the grid is acting as your "battery" and any excess solar during the midday hours will feed back to the grid and you'll get "renewable energy credit" for it on your bill. We help coordinate that for you.
This also implies that if there is a grid failure, your solar will stop functioning. This is part of the design because the utility company does not want backfed solar being pushed back on grids when the linemen think the system is down. That's a safety requirement.
We can install battery backup for those that have a requirement for backup power when the grid is down. We also install the very latest SMA inverters with "Secure Power Supply" so you can get some power for your critical loads when the grid is down. This is a very popular installation for our customers.
Can I lease solar from you?
No. We think leasing is great - for the leasing company. We don't think it's a smart way to get solar for your home. Why let the leasing company take the tax credit - you should!
A leased system will really complicate the sale of your home because it cannot be appraised as part of the home's value nor can the "personal property" be included in a new mortgage.
People who want leasing typically like the allure of "no out of pocket cost." Well, we can offer this too with multiple financing options that can fit your individual requirements.
What are the financing options?
Almost another "it depends" answer. We can arrange financing for your circumstances.
Looking for "no interest / no payment?" We have that for the portion of your system that is eligible for the 30% Federal tax credit.
Looking for tax deductible loans? We work with Admirals Bank Renewable Lending to provide mortgage-secured, tax advantaged loans where you can deduct the interest.
Are you a Veteran? We can help you arrange a Texas Veterans Land Board home efficiency improvement loan with ultra-low interest rates and up to 20 year terms.
You have many options. Let us help you find the best one for you.
Do the electric cooperatives offer rebates?
We get this question a lot. No, the cooperatives do not offer rebates. If another solar company tells you this, they're not telling you the full story. They're actually taking more of your money up front and giving some back to you as a "rebate!". You call it what you want but I call it dishonesty.
What the cooperatives do offer is true net metering. This means your bill is the difference between how many times it spins forward and how many times it spins backward. You get full retail credit for your extra, backfed electricity and that is a great benefit.
We're always ready to explain more - we have extensive experience working with every cooperative in Central Texas so let us optimize the best system for your needs.
Tell me about the Federal tax credit
The most important thing to say is that it is a tax credit. It's not a deduction. it's a full tax credit that is worth 30% of the system cost. Install a $10,000 system and you'll have a $3,000 tax credit next year...there are some important points.
First, you must have a tax liability. We meet some customers who have zero tax liability. You must have some taxes in order to earn the credit. But even if you cannot take the full credit in the first year, you can roll over the unused credit to subsequent years.
This tax credit is in effect until 2016, at which time it is scheduled to reduce to 10%. Don't miss the opportunity.