Is this a good time for you to consider installing a home solar system? It’s a great time, but the process can be complicated.
You will need solar panels. Because solar panels produce DC and your house runs on AC, you will need inverters. You can get a single inverter for the entire system, or you can get a mini inverter for each panel.
The legal and regulatory requirements depend on where you live. So do the amount of sunshine you receive and the cost of electric utility service, which directly determines how much money your home solar system will save you.
Once you receive electricity from your panels, it’s that much electricity you don’t buy from the utility. If your panels generate more electricity than you use, the utility will reimburse you. It’s called “net metering,” and in some places the utilities are fighting against it.
As if these considerations aren’t complicated enough, someone has to install the system. You can’t compare costs as easily as you can compare prices at the grocery store or among different gas stations.
The price of installation depends less on competition among installers than on their perception of what you can afford and what you’re willing to pay. Prices among similar installations within the same community can vary as much as 50%!
And yet according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the US has seen its millionth solar installation this year. It has taken 40 years to achieve a million installations, but the association estimates that it will only take two years to reach two million.
Getting a home solar system has become less complicated
Sustaining Our World has entered a partnership with a company called EnergySage in order to come to the rescue.
EnergySage helps you comparison shop for solar energy much like Kayak allows comparison of hotel prices.
Many large organizations and corporations have likewise become partners with EnergySage, including Staples, the Sierra Club, and many towns and even states (like Connecticut). Other household names are also launching solar programs, like Comcast.
According to Forbes, EnergySage works with multiple manufacturers and finance companies. By now, it has prescreened more than 325 solar installers in 31 states and DC. It has also received grants from the US Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, a national collaborative effort to promote solar energy and reduce its cost.
Using EnergySage is easy. Simply register your property for the Solar Marketplace. If you prefer, use the Solar Calculator first to get an idea of your savings. After registering, you will receive custom quotes from pre-qualified installers in your area. Then you compare the options and select the one that best suits your needs.
EnergySage shows you many different ways to finance your home solar system. Learn more about your options. EnergySage does not share your contact information with the installers, or anyone else. You will not be spammed or received unwanted phone calls. The service costs you nothing.
If you need help understanding the quotes—or anything else about the process—EnergySage provides support from Solar Advisors by phone, email, and chat. You can also find hundreds of articles, infographics, videos, and other resources on its website.
Objections to home solar systems are obsolete
Even with falling oil and natural gas prices, solar and other renewables are now competitive.
Fossil fuel prices will probably go back up some time. The price of renewable energy will continue to fall.
You may have heard that the solar industry can’t compete without government subsidies. The fossil fuel industries are more heavily subsidized than renewable energy.
You know, of course, the sun does not shine at night. Solar panels don’t work very well in cloudy weather. But the technology of energy storage has advanced rapidly. It will soon be possible to generate solar electricity during the day and use it at night.
There has never been a better time than now to go solar. See how much you can save on your own home solar system.
Photos from EnergySage