5 SMART Things to do when getting solar

Before you install solar, make sure you do the following:

1. Get multiple quotes on a system.

With the recent Utah solar boom that started in 2015, systems are routinely being sold at $4.50 to $5 per watt which makes the average 6kW residential solar system $27,000 to $30,000 before tax credits are considered. Recently, there are a few good solar companies out there installing quality solar systems at or slightly below $3.80 per watt and that's including finance costs.

The troubling factor in all this is that many homeowners are not being educated on solar and instead are confronted with pushy sales guys that use every trick in the trade to convince you to move forward based solely on a monthly payment. When it comes to financing, if all you are concerned about is a monthly payment then you will miss some important factors. To understand your true return on investment consider not just the total cost, but all the many details of equipment quality, real life production estimates and the value of net metering with the Utility Company.

With so many companies out there in the Utah market, it is wise to obtain around 3 separate bids and consider what each company offers that justifies the pricing they present. Online solar calculators can be misleading as they do not understand your specific home situation  and you will experience a flood of calls from companies they have sold your information to. 

At Genuine Solar, our first goal is to offer you a solid education on solar and answer any and all questions you have about the who, what, when, where, why and sometimes how.

2. Check out the companies reputation and quality.

You may have noticed an increasing number of neighbors installing solar. Because of this recent "boom", many of the roughly 100 solar companies in Utah have just recently started installing residential solar and do not have many years of experience. There are great resources out there showing your peers reviews on most solar companies such as Solarreviews.com, Facebook, and Yelp.

The owners of Genuine Solar have over 8 years experience marketing roof top solar from the east coast all the way out into the middle of the ocean on the small island of Guam. Coming home to Utah, we searched long and hard to find the most reputable installation partner around with 10 years of installing experience. This partnership allows us to ensure that our quality never falls short. As we climb on your roof, secure panels to your home, and tie into your electrical service we know our team will make the best choices backed with 10 years of a craftsmanship warranty and 25 years of labor warranties to match all your solar products.

Always look into the quality of equipment that is being offered. You can always check reviews on those devices and ensure that your system will last well beyond 25 years. Check out these links to look into the solar panel and the inverter you're being offered.

You should have warranties that cover the products for no less than 25 years to achieve the best ROI (Return on Investment). At Genuine Solar, not only do our products meet the highest quality standards, but they are warrantied by the manufacturers for 25 years and then backed up with a 25 year "true labor warranty" to help you avoid any extra costs for years to come. 

3. Understand how solar will save you money.

Many people looking into solar have obtained erroneous information from friends who either don't have solar or by those who do have solar yet have never fully understood its great benefits.

Ask the companies offering you estimates how they are arriving at their proposed production. We have seen it time and time again when helping out our customers with other bids that many companies are over-estimating what the solar will provide. Companies will then reassure the customer that they are backed by a production guarantee. What they fail to mention is that the system can drop as much as 10% in production, or more, before they will step up to that guarantee.

In Utah, we have snow that sits on the panels during parts of the year, dirt that settles on the panels, trees, roof vents/pipes, roof direction, roof pitch, and many other factors that can cause energy loss. All these items should have been considered in the proposal you are being offered.

At Genuine Solar, we use a state of the art software that has been backed by NREL that allows us to build your home in a 3D model taking into account all the previously mentioned variables ensuring our estimates are 98% accurate before even coming to your home. Check it out for yourself aurorasolar.com.

4. Don't wait for battery technology to emerge

Consumers are hearing a lot about batteries coming from great companies like Tesla who are putting out attractive and sleek home batteries with great advertising. But just like their electric cars are about double the price of a cost effective Toyota Camry, their batteries are fairly expensive and don't do as much as one would hope at this point.

There is little doubt that Lead Acid Batteries, much like the one in your car, are still far more cost effective than most of the current lithium solar batteries. The reality is back-up battery technology is still a couple years away from being real advantageous to the home owner. With so much happening in the electric vehicle market, we can only expect battery technology to increase in efficiency exponentially over the next couple years along with lower prices that make them a viable option.

Until batteries reach their best potential both in efficiency and cost, we have the benefit of "Net Metering". There are many states like Utah where the Utility Company will have the consumer sign a "Net Energy Metering Agreement" that allows for a 1 to 1 exchange of energy. This means that for every unit of energy, a kilowatt hour (kWh), that your solar system produces and is not used at the moment of production, the Utility Company will allow you to send that energy to the grid for use by other homes and businesses drawing energy. This will be tracked by a Net Meter installed on your home that will tell both you and the Utility how much energy you send to the grid and then take back. Any extra energy produced in a month that is not used will then roll forward to the next month. This is a huge advantage for solar and makes the need for batteries unnecessary at this point as the grid is essentially acting as the battery for you.

With Net Metering still open to consumers and with the Federal Tax Credit, as well as the State Tax Credit, it makes right now the time to get solar. Waiting could mean you miss out on these benefits.

5. Stop waiting for solar to get cheaper.

A big misconception for those waiting on buying solar is that it is going to continually get cheaper as all technology does.

With the current tax credits available to the consumer that help reduce cost, consider that 30% of the cost is subsidized by the Federal Investment Tax Credit and then another 25% (Up to $2,000) is subsidized by the Utah State tax credit as well. That's usually 40% of the cost covered by those incentives that over the next few years will be going away. Without those, that means the cost of solar has to drop by at least 40% just to be equally advantageous. Not to mention certain aspects of solar such as the copper wire, electrical components, labor, and racking materials have all been around for a very long time and are not subject to price drops due to advancements in solar technology.

Solar equipment prices have no doubt dropped since 2008 and earlier. But in 2017 with solar having gained such a large footprint throughout the world it has allowed for solar equipment production on a mass scale by hundreds of suppliers utilizing major production facilities. Competition has brought solar equipment prices down to a level where the foreseeable future of residential solar will see almost unnoticeable drops in cost. Not to mention much of the focus in residential renewable power is being directed toward batteries so that homes can become truly independent.

We all desire our homes to be as comfortable as possible and this has left us with an energy debt. We can either endlessly pay the Utility Company or with the advent of solar we can take control and put an end to that debt. Our goal at Genuine Solar is to properly educate homeowners on the benefits of solar. We provide customized information that is specific to your home and family. Contact us for all your solar needs and together let's make sure solar is the right decision for you.