solar panel

SOLAR PANELS ON MY HOUSE SAVES ME MONEY AND SAVES THE PLANET

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For years, I wanted to get solar panels on my house. What pushed me to finally purchase them 3 years ago was that panel prices were dropping, they were more efficient, the federal and state tax credits, the SREC II program, and my return on investment (ROI) would be around 5 years.

Other than aesthetics, I can’t tell that we have solar panels. Nothing changes with the supply of your electricity. What you don’t use from the panels’ production is sent back into the grid and when they’re not producing because it’s dark or cloudy, you use electricity from the grid. I bought my panels from SunGevity and I had a great experience with sales, design, installation and service. Unfortunately, Sungevity went bankrupt, but luckily solar panels don’t need much servicing. (There have been many solar panel companies that have gone out of business so choose wisely.)

The price for my 17 250 watt panels (4,250 watt system) was $18,091 before rebates. To make the sale, Sungevity gave me an extra $2,125 discount. That brought it down to $15,966. I received the 30% federal tax credit ($4,290), $1,000 Mass tax credit, and at the time, Mass gave me an additional $1,063 because of the amount of sunshine my roof received. My cost was now down to $9,613.

I produce about 60% of my household electricity and save approximately $1,000 a year in electrical costs. With the SREC II program I earn about $1,000 a year. The SREC II program is an incentive that you receive for 10 years. For every kilowatt (1,000 watts = 1 kW) you produce, you receive a “stock” which has been worth between $240-$262 over the past 3 years.

The SREC II program is being replaced by the SMART program (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target). Details have not been finalized, but it will begin sometime in 2018.

Just recently, I signed a contract with Rayah Solar to purchase another 12 330 watt panels (3,960 watt system). The cost was $14,256 before tax credits and should be installed by 12/31/17. After tax credits, the cost is $8,979 and again my ROI is 5 years. When these are installed, I should be producing 100% of my household electricity.

The only negative that I have experienced with the panels is when it snows. My panels are on the front side of my garage roof. The snow stays on the panels until the sun comes back out. The problem is that the snow slides off after you are done with shoveling and when it hits the driveway it really gets packed down.

There are many positives that I experience with solar panels and I encourage everyone to take part in this win-win situation: save money and save the planet.

There are 2 other common options other than purchasing the panels. They are leasing or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Leasing Basics

1) You have lease payments, but you save money on your electric bill

2) No upfront costs

3) No cost of maintenance

4) You’re locked into a 20 year lease

5) The solar company receives the SRECs

6) It could be hard to sell your house when you don’t own the panels. The buyer would have to be willing to take over the lease payments

community solar

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Basics

1) You purchase electricity at a reduced rate

2) No upfront costs

3) No cost of maintenance

4) You’re locked into a 20 year contract

5) The solar company receives the SRECs

6) It could be hard to sell your house when you don’t own the panels. The buyer would have to be willing to take over the contract

By Colin Barbera