If you are considering a solar power system there are two main factors to consider. First, the time it will take to pay yourself back for your investment. Second and just as important, the quality of the install. How long is the ‘no roof leak’ guarantee? If either of these factors are substandard then at best all you are doing is trading who you buy your power from, sometimes worse.
This means how many months will it take using the money you would have had to pay your utility provider to pay off your solar system. The goal on a purchased system is around 6 ½ years. There are some factors here, the 30% tax credit you will receive on a purchased system and the historic utility rate increases. In most every case the payback is substantially better if your purchase the system. Remember there is no such thing as a free solar system, you should be very cautious if a solar company states that the system is free. It is a play on words. In most cases if you qualify for a no money down lease you will qualify for a no money down solar loan. The push from the big solar companies is to lease, and the sales pitch is, no money out of pocket and since you don’t own the system no repair costs. The problem is you are locked into a 20 year lease. 20 years! 240 months, where will you be in 20 years? It is the biggest scam we have ever seen. In addition you do not get any federal tax credits because you do not own the system. As far as the repair cost, both a lease and a purchased system have a 20 year manufactures warranty and any repair costs will be covered. We can sit down and do the math to show the huge long term savings on a purchased system.
The installs we are seeing done should be criminal. In short, installing a 20+ year solar system on a deteriorated roof has become the normal. Then you factor in that the average system will have more than 40 penetrations for the roof mounts and these are often installed without any type of roof flashings.
This is a perfect recipe for roof leaks, and it happens every time it rains. Our office receives dozens of calls during every storm that their roof has been leaking ever since they had their solar system installed. The fix is not an easy one, often we have to remove all the panels, and set them aside. Then we add flashings to their roof mounts, replace the damaged underlayment and re-install the solar system. This is all an unnecessary expense that could have been avoided if the project was simply done right the first time, in addition this added cost adds years to your payback time.
We have a policy and we only install our solar systems one way–the right way. On concrete tile roofs we replace the roof underlayment with a 50 year composition shingle on any roof section where the panels will be installed.
Then we integrate the highest quality roof flashing solar mount. Then the tile is roofed back up to the panels, hiding all composition shingles and giving the panels a low profile and wind proof install.
On existing composition roofs that do not have at least 20 years of life left we will replace the roof on the sections that will have panels installed. Now we can offer you a non-prorated 10 year no leak workmanship warranty. This means there is no finger pointing, if you experience a leak we are 100% responsible to fix it. One might think that this will increase the cost of the install, however in most cases we remain very competitive price wise and our payback and roof warranty is miles ahead of our competition.
In most cases the main electrical panel will have to be upgraded. This is all done by our in house certified electricians. We do not sub contract anything. We have full time roof installers, solar panel experts, and certified electricians to handle every aspect of the project. Don’t become a victim of the high pressure salesperson. Let’s do the homework together. Just food for thought, some solar companies often promote, “Save 20% off your electric bill”. Well if you do the math, if you have an average bill of $300.00 that is a savings of $60.00 a month. The way this is done is by eliminating your electric bill and locking you into a 20 year lease at $240.00 a month. So in 20 years you pay a total of $57,600.00 for a solar system that saved you a grand total of $14,400.00. That is a horrible return on your investment. We can give you a no pressure quote on a purchase and show you your 20 year savings. All we need is 12 months of electric bills, this will allow us to properly size your system.