Shopping for solar power panels can be a daunting process.
Going solar is cheaper than ever, but it is still a large investment (The cost of solar in 2019 is $2.99/Watt, or about $12,558 after tax credits). A price-point that can cause a lot of anxiety.
It’s hard to know who you can trust, what quality of equipment you’re getting, and if you’re actually getting a good deal.
As homeowners ourselves, we decided to try to find the best deals for solar panels out there, making your job just a little bit easier.
We wanted to provide you with the information to know how to shop for solar panels. With that in mind we created this quick guide on what to know and what to look for when you’re looking at solar panels for sale.
The first section is how to reduce the total cost of purchasing solar, while the following 3 sections include three different ways to purchase solar panels so that you can choose the best and most cost-effective way for you!
Know How To Reduce Your Total Cost
Switching to solar may be expensive, but the good news is, you can get some pretty great deals on solar–including tax incentives that knock thousands of dollars off the price of solar panels.
In many areas, there are solar companies that offer the Power Purchase Agreement program as an option for homeowners to go solar without footing the bill themselves.
In this arrangement, the solar company installs solar panels on your roof at no cost to you, and you enter into a contract where you buy energy from the solar company at a reduced rate. This rate is much lower than your typical monthly energy bill, so it is a good option for many homeowners. The difference is simply that you don’t own the panels themselves.
To find out more about PPA programs in your area, use the Home Professionals pro and quote finder below.
1. Solar Panels For Sale: The DIY Version (Moderate to Hard)
If you decide you want to purchase your panels, need to know #2 will be helpful.
At this point, you should have already looked up:
- how to install solar panels (or if you’re going to get a professional)
- what it’s going to cost
- how many hours you’re going to spend in the sun
Now you are simply on the hunt for the best deals.
First, consider places that sell solar panels at wholesale like gogreensolar.com. They even have pre-sized solar kits complete with inverters that you can buy.
Second, you’ll want to look into all the tax incentives and government rebates that you can take advantage of to save even more money
Here are a few you should definitely look into if you’re doing this yourself.
- SRECs, or Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, are available in most states and can be sold to companies who need the solar credit. Many states have requirements for businesses to use a certain amount of solar power. Homeowners can sell their credits to these businesses, making an additional income that often reaches up into thousands of dollars.
- ITC (Investment Tax Credit) is a government incentive to go solar. It reduces the cost of going solar by 30% (many homeowners save around $9,000 with this incentive).
- State tax credits work similarly to the ITC, but vary from state to state. Usually these discounts are smaller than the ITC but still make a difference overall.
- Cash rebates could be offered by an assortment of city businesses (those who want to promote transitioning to solar energy) and can reduce the cost of solar panels by 10-20%.
Check with each of these to see if you are allowed to combine incentives to save even more. Above all, do your research.
Take the time to shop around and get the best prices for you. There are a lot of opportunities out there.
2. Solar Panels For Sale: Solar Loans and Leases (Easy to Moderate)
Many solar loans are very similar to other home improvement loans with close to the same interest rates and 0-cost upfront.
Solar loans allow you to finance your solar panels. Therefore, you can still take advantage of all the tax incentives and rebates listed in the DIY Version, but you don’t have to have the lump sum of cash upfront.
It’s a great way to get your solar panels.
Solar leases are different in the way that you pay a fixed amount a month to a solar company to rent their solar system. You get solar panels without needing to pay the upfront cost though, which is very nice.
The cost to rent is quite a bit less than coal-powered utility companies charge you.
It’s a great way to go solar if you don’t actually want to foot the solar power panel bill.
Note that you don’t own the solar panels in the solar lease version, you are simply leasing them like you would a car.
Why choose solar loans and leases?
Because you get free solar installation and the benefits of solar energy in exchange for your business to the solar company.
Solar leases usually don’t come with solar panel maintenance, so do note that those costs are still up to you. But you get to invest in a great home improvement without spending much money at all.
3. Solar Panels For Sale: PPA–Free Solar Panels (Easy)
The PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) version mentioned above is actually quite similar to solar leases. You don’t own the solar panel array–it belongs to the solar company, but you also get the solar panels without needing to foot the bill yourself.
Basically, you’re renting out your roof in exchange for solar energy.
PPA is different from solar leases in the way that you pay for the energy that your solar panels produce (rather than a fixed rental price a month).
You enter into a contract in this version as well, but this one comes with free solar panel maintenance and repairs.
The solar company actually monitors the solar power system to make sure it is functioning at its best. If the price goes above what you were quoted, the solar company pays the difference and fixes the solar panels.
This version was listed as easy because of the free installation, free panels, and free maintenance and repairs. You basically increase the value of your home without spending a dime.
When all is said and done…
Sometimes it’s really hard to find good solar panels for sale or good solar deals.
But that’s why we here at Home Professionals decided to create all these guides and articles. We want home-ownership to be as easy as we wished it was when we were starting.
Your solar needs are going to change based on your situation, so it’s best to get a free quote from your local solar professionals before you make big investment decisions.
Home Professionals has an easy-to-use, 100% free pro and quote finder just below. Figure out your solar options today without the hassle.