The right solar panel system can save you tens of thousands of dollars over time, but the shopping process feels daunting and overwhelming for many homeowners.
As with any investment, you want to be sure to make a smart decision. For solar, that means choosing a reputable installer, getting high-quality equipment, and identifying the right payment option, usually cash upfront or financing.
With this in mind, here are five tips to help you go solar with confidence:
You wouldn’t buy a new car without researching different models and shopping for the best deal, right? Otherwise, you’d risk paying more for a car that doesn’t fit your needs. Similarly, comparing multiple solar quotes empowers you to invest in a quality solar panel system for a fair price.
There are a few key things to consider when reviewing solar quotes: the equipment, size of the system, installer’s reputation, and cost. No two quotes will be the same, but significant differences between them could be a red flag.
Understandably, the complexity of solar technology and the industry’s general lack of transparency can make reviewing and comparing quotes feel intimidating. To take the guesswork out of going solar, we recommend using the EnergySage Marketplace, which provides free quotes from vetted installers near you. The best part? Homeowners who go solar through EnergySage pay about 20% less on average compared to shopping alone!
Learn more about comparing solar quotes.
While the overall financial savings of a solar panel system are usually much greater than the upfront installation costs, going solar is still an investment. For many homeowners, concern about upfront costs can delay their adoption of solar energy.
To reduce that concern and increase affordability, the government offers substantial financial incentives at the federal, state, and local levels. Solar incentives typically come in the form of rebates and tax benefits and can reduce the cost of solar by up to 50%.
State and local incentives vary widely, but federal incentives such as the solar tax credit are available no matter where you live. Formally known as the investment tax credit (ITC), the solar tax credit allows you to apply 30% of your solar system’s cost as a credit to your federal tax bill. This incentive alone reduces what you owe in federal taxes and can even result in a bigger tax refund!
Learn more about solar incentives available to you.
Once you understand the financial incentives available to you, it’s time to decide how to pay the remaining cost of your system.
Most people purchase their solar panel systems with cash upfront or choose alternatives like a loan or a lease. Each of these financing options has benefits, but paying upfront with cash or taking out a smart solar loan will offer the greatest savings.
Cash payments and solar loans both grant you ownership of your solar panel system (which qualifies you for those incentives we previously mentioned). Paying with cash upfront yields the most savings over time, but you’ll need about $20,000-$30,000 on hand.
Alternatively, you can pay off your system in monthly installments with a loan. You’ll end up paying more in interest payments, but many solar loans today are $0-down, allowing you to start saving on day one!
Learn more about solar financing.
Solar energy is intermittent, meaning your panels are only able to produce electricity when the sun is shining.
Solar panels commonly generate more electricity than needed when it’s sunny out, but without storage, you either use it or lose it. Because of this, most homeowners connect their solar panel systems to the utility grid so they still have electricity when their solar panels produce less energy than they demand. But what happens if the grid goes down?
The advancement of energy storage technology, such as solar batteries, enables you to store electricity for later use. Instead of losing all the solar energy you don’t consume when it’s produced, you can store it in your battery to use at night, on cloudy days, and even during power outages.
Pairing your solar panel system with energy storage allows you to further lessen your reliance on the utility grid and enhance your home’s resiliency in the case of a blackout.
Learn more about solar batteries and energy storage.
Electrifying your home is the best way to shrink your carbon footprint while avoiding turbulent fossil fuel energy rates.
For example, electric vehicles (EV) and heat pumps are reliable replacements for appliances traditionally dependent on fossil fuels that you can power with emission-free solar energy produced directly on your property. If you size your system appropriately, solar panels can support your entire home, including appliances you don’t currently power with electricity: You just have to plan for it!
If you intend to electrify other aspects of your home soon, let your installer know so they can size your solar panel system to accommodate future electricity needs. It’s also important to ask them if any oversizing restrictions exist where you live, in which case you may need to make your electrical upgrades within a certain timeframe of your solar installation. In the meantime, you can store the excess energy in your solar battery!
Learn more about how to size your solar panel system.
Going solar is complex, but you don’t have to go it alone.
EnergySage delivers a simple and transparent solar shopping experience. In just a few minutes, you can request free quotes from multiple local solar installers, all of whom EnergySage has vetted for reputation and quality. Then, you can easily compare your personalized quotes in the EnergySage Marketplace to choose the one that’s right for you, or connect with an unbiased Energy Advisor to help you evaluate your options.
And don’t worry – unlike most solar sites, with EnergySage, you won’t get any harassing sales calls or texts. Start your solar journey on the EnergySage Marketplace today!