Mar 28, 2018
By John Matheny
Every day you don’t have solar is another day you are paying too much for electricity. Over the past 18 years, there have been leaps and bounds in the field of grid-tied solar. No longer in the realm of early adopters, solar-powered electricity is a proven technology and investment.
Too often people let the fact that they don’t have cash to pay for a solar installation hold them back, but there are very cost effective solutions to this issue. For example, Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP), is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that finances solar via property tax assessments, with no attachment to the individual. Another financing option is via a Home Equity Line of Credit, which usually has an attractive interest rate.
In most cases, financing solar will save more in electricity than your outlay in annual loan payments, plus the 30% Federal Tax Credit is returned in the first year. You can be cash positive (often by a lot) from the get-go. The chunk of money back in your pocket within a year after installing solar gives you money to finance other projects on your to-do list.
A grid-tied solar installation protects you against the ever-rising cost of electricity. On average, electricity rates increase 4% annually. By producing your own solar-generated electricity, you avoid rate increases since you only pay for your net usage.
Think of investing in solar as investing in the future. Many solar projects have 15% annual return rates, or even greater. You would be hard-pressed to find a stable, predictable and proven investment on the market that beats solar.
So the answer to “Can I afford solar now?” is: You can’t affordNOT to go solar. Grid-tied solar offers proven financial benefits, helps the environment by reducing the need for fossil-fueled electricity, and when you use a local installer for the work, it helps bolster the local economy.
John Matheny is Operations Manager at Solar Works, a local solar contractor since 1986. John comes from a fourth-generation Sebastopol family, and is an avid rock-climber and outdoor adventurer. He and his wife are about to install solar on the home they recently purchased.
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