Costs and Savings
The amounts that you'll pay for and save with solar depend on a variety of factors, including payment method, energy use, system size, roof exposure, local utility prices, and available incentives. The best way to figure out how much solar will cost you is to get quotes from companies you are interested in working with.
Financing and Incentives
There are a number of ways to pay for a solar energy system, but the best option for you ultimately depends on your state of residence and financial situation. Purchasing a solar system either outright or with a loan means that you own the system and all of the energy that it produces, as well as gives you access to all incentives available in your area, including rebates, tax credits, and performance payments. You'll likely have to invest some of your own money upfront, but will see a return on your investment over time. On the other hand, signing into a lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) can get a solar energy system installed on your roof for little to nothing down. The solar company or third party
financier will essentially become your new power company and you'll make payments to them for less than what you were being charged by the traditional utility. However, because you do not own the system, you are not eligible for available incentives.
Equipment and Warranties
There are two main components of a solar energy system: the panels and the inverter. As with many other products, there are a variety of different brands of each of these components, and some are more high-end than others. Your budget and the amount of energy you are looking to offset with a solar energy system will play a large part in your decision of which equipment is best for you. However, you should also be aware of the different solar warranties available. Solar panels and inverters typically each come with their own separate warranties from the manufacturer that cover the equipment itself, but the solar company selling the system will oftentimes offer additional warranties that cover labor and installation.