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i'm interested in learning about solar power panels for homeowners – especially if it helps curb their carbon footprint + energy expenses.
at the dwell on design conference + expo this month, i visited solarcity to check out a fully solar-powered car-charging station with the $100,00 high-performance electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster + learned how convenient + affordable solar power can be. solarcity's southern california director jim cahill, discussed SolarLease, the company's zero-down solar financing program that makes solar less expensive than electricity from the utility company. solarcity is california's #1 residential solar power company.
here's my interview with jim (if you have questions or information about solar panels for homes, please leave them for me in the comments below):
1) what's an example set up cost for solar panels in silicon valley?
under the SolarLease, there are no setup costs required. assuming the home has sufficient roof space + good sun exposure, a 1,500 sf home in sunnyvale might lease a 2.4 kilowatt system for $0 down + $65/month. if the home’s electric bill was $150/month on average before the system was installed, the new bill would be approximately $65 (plus the $65 lease payment) for a new energy cost of $130, a net savings of $20/ month.
2) what would the electricity rate be for that homeowner in sunnyvale?
utility rates may vary based on usage and time of day. sunnyvale’s rates are available online at http://www.pge.com/tariffs
3) the leases are only for people with excellent credit above 720, that will exclude a large population. how can others get solarcity solar panels?
solarcity is continually working on new ways to allow more families to take advantage of power, + SolarLease does that by eliminating or dramatically reducing the upfront cost of the system + installation. both a SolarLease + power purchase agreement (PPA) are dependent on receiving consistent payments, + as such we can only offer this product to homeowners with excellent credit. we estimate that more than 40% of california homeowners meet or exceed the necessary credit score. the cash purchase option is available for homeowners who don’t meet the credit requirements for SolarLease, + they would be able to finance the purchase through a bank or other lender.
4) in this recession, is there help for low-income customers?
Initiative offers a low-income incentive program with rebates as high as $7/watt, more than double the typical rebate. this makes a cash purchase possible for many low-income homeowners.
5) how does solarcity compare with sun run?
solarcity is a single source (or 1-stop-shop) for solar system design, financing, installation + ongoing support. Sun Run is a financing company that partners with multiple installers, so Sun Run’s customers deal with Sun Run for financing, + a separate company for installation and/or support. both solarcity + SunRun utilize extensive federal + state commercial tax incentives for solar equipment to offer affordable solar financing options for homeowners. the main difference between the 2 companies today is the higher upfront cost of Sun Run’s option. solarcity’s SolarLease includes a zero-down-payment option which can allow a customer to save money from day one. Sun Run offers a power purchase agreement that requires an upfront payment that can range from $5,000 - $20,000 or more for a residential system. you should check with Sun Run for the specifics on their upfront cost. visit href="http://www.solarcity.com/solarlease to see some examples of SolarLease savings estimates for typical homes.
6) what else should a family know when considering solarcity service?
solarcity guarantees the electricity output from its solar systems over life of the SolarLease, + includes an extended, 15-year warranty for parts + service. solarcity also provides a free service called SolarGuard that allows customers to monitor their system’s output + positive environmental impact via an internet link. SolarCity is california's #1 residential solar power company, provides homeowners a single source for solar financing, installation + support. SolarCity serves communities throughout California, Oregon + Arizona. for more information, please visit solarcity.com
by ~mod*mom~ at 26.6.08 Â©
Looks like they're making it a little easier to go green.
We would love to do this!
Some day, some how, some way we'll get solar!
I'd like to have solar panels in my house. :) A great way to save on energy and actually with the use of sun.
This is just what my neighborhood needs. I see we can get a group discout too. Thanks Mod*mom!
This gives me hope that we might be able to afford solar panels...
great you're looking into solar panels :)
I think people really need to do their homework before they jump into a 15 year contract with a big company. I'm not saying this is a bad idea but do the math before you make your final decision.