Should you go solar?

Solar panels on roof

I currently have a listing with a rooftop solar panel system, so I have dived head first into learning as much about solar panel systems so that I can educate any potential buyers about the system and the benefits. In Colorado we get a over 300 days of sunshine per year and so we have several solar companies that install these systems here. There are a couple of options when you decide you do want a system installed on your house. Purchasing vs. leasing and how the down payment and tax rebates are going to be settled. Here is a breakdown of the process of getting solar installed on your home.

Green light:

So you have decided to get a solar panel system installed on your home. The first step is to consult with a solar company for a consultation. This sounds easier than it is. I have seen these companies at Costco, Home Depot and Lowes. They are usually soliciting to people as they are shopping for other things. This can be annoying, but then when I was on a mission to talk to them, they were nowhere to be found! I left my card with Home Depot’s service desk and talked to the lady behind the counter for a while about the systems but never got a call back from the actual solar company. I also tried calling Costco home services and they wanted a ton of my information before even getting to the point where someone would call me back. I ended up calling my cousin Ryan down in Phoenix that sells these systems and is extremely knowledgeable. If you have any additional questions after reading this, let me know and I will get you in touch with him.

Sizing the system and the contract:

Once you finally have an appointment set up with a solar consultant, they will come out to your house and measure your home and check your home’s sun exposure. This will help them determine the size system that you need so that you can exactly cover your average electricity costs. They are not allowed in Colorado (and maybe elsewhere) to install a system that is “over-sized” so that you generate more power from the sun that you typically use. They will then determine the value of the power the system will produce. Then you have to determine if you are buying the system or just leasing it. Similar to buying a car, leasing the system allows for lower payments and you may have to give up your tax rebate incentive to the solar company if you are not putting any money down. Purchasing puts more money in your pocket in the long run, but some people can not afford that option. It is important that you understand all of your options during the contract and what will happen when the contract expires.

Living with the system:

As your solar panels generate power, that power is used in your home for all of your electronics including lights, entertainment and other important electrical functions. If you use less than the system produces, then you may be able to sell that power to the power company. If you use more, you will owe the power company for any power you have to use of theirs. Different solar companies pay your power bill for you and then you just pay them for the power the solar system produces. There are many different ways to work out the billing so make sure you ask a lot of questions and get everything in writing so you know what to expect.

The verdict:

Should you get a solar panel system put on the roof of your home? Sure! If you don’t mind or even like the way they look, you are doing a great thing by producing power from the sun so that power companies don’t have to cause as much pollution creating power for everyone. I think solar is a great option, just remember to make sure you double-check the solar contract and know exactly what you are getting into. Not everyone or every HOA likes the way solar panels look. If you decide you may sell your home in the near future, you will need to find a buyer that shares your love for solar power as well and is willing to assume your contract.

I’m sure I have missed some points about solar panel systems, so I welcome you to leave a comment below and help me out with what you want to share about this topic. This is written from my research of solar panel systems so that I can give the information to potential buyers for my listing.

Leave a Reply