Rooftop solar is an exciting new way to power a home with clean, renewable energy. In the past seven years, we’ve helped more than 126,000 homes go solar throughout 21 states. Many of our customers are saving money on their energy bills and helping the environment by using a renewable energy source to reduce air pollution.
In conversations with homeowners around the nation, however, it’s become apparent there are some misconceptions circulating about solar power. We’d like to help clear the air around some of the most common myths about rooftop solar:
Myth No. 1: There’s no way I can afford solar panels on my budget.
Rooftop solar has become much more affordable as the cost of manufacturing solar panels has come down. Many solar companies offer solar panels at little to no upfront cost with power purchase agreements. Many solar companies also have relationships with lenders that can help you finance the purchase of solar panels — or you can use your preferred lender.
If you purchase the panels, you can also take advantage of incentives from the government for going solar by applying for state rebates or federal tax credits. For example, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) allows you to deduct an amount equal to 30 percent of your system’s cost from your federal tax liability, which typically represents thousands of dollars.
Learn how the Lacoco family in Chelmsford, Massachusetts embraced solar energy.
Myth No. 2: My roof doesn’t get enough sunlight to make solar panels worth it.
Would you be surprised to learn that Germany – which generally gets as much sunshine as Alaska – is the worldwide leader in solar power? Although it seems counterintuitive, rooftop solar is a viable solution even in overcast climates.
An easy way to see how many hours of usable sunlight your roof receives per year is Google’s Project Sunroof, which provides a free analysis in seconds. You can also get a consultation from many solar companies at no cost. A team of technicians will conduct an on-site survey and evaluate your roof size, pitch and direction to make sure solar is a good fit for you — and for most people it is. Remember, even on days when the sun isn’t shining, solar panels often continue to produce energy.
Myth No. 3: I can expect to pay and save the same amount as my neighbor with solar panels.
Solar is not one-size-fits-all — each system is custom-designed for a roof and the amount of sunlight it receives. Even on the same street, the orientation of your roof may mean you receive more or less sunlight than your neighbor. This will increase the amount of electricity you can produce but could also mean a larger monthly payment than your neighbor with a smaller array.
Myth No. 4: Solar doesn’t make sense if the panels don’t cover 100 percent of my power.
Although rooftop solar cannot typically offset your entire electricity bill, it often decreases the amount you pay each month — even though you’re using the same amount of energy. Our PPA and Lease customers typically save money on their energy costs because they end up purchasing less electricity from their utility. Additionally, many states support “net metering,” which allows you to sell excess power you generate back to the grid and receive energy credits.
Myth No. 5: Solar isn’t an option for me because I’ve already talked to a solar company and I don’t qualify.
Just because someone told you “no” once doesn’t mean you can’t join the clean energy revolution. Solar providers have different criteria for selecting qualified customers, and key factors like minimum credit scores can vary from company to company. There may also be more than one way to go solar in your state – you can buy your panels outright, take out a loan and pay for your panels over time, or buy power from a solar company who own the panels installed at your home. If you didn’t qualify for a specific solar plan previously, another one may be a better fit. That being said, there are several situations that typically disqualify you from going solar, such as credit score, if you rent your home or your roof is nearing the end of its working life. Learn more about the qualifications for rooftop solar here.
Myth No. 6: I won’t live in my house long enough to get my investment in rooftop solar back.
Some people think solar panels on your roof make your home less marketable, but that may not be true…Solar is designed to be a long-term investment for your home, but finding the actual ROI depends on multiple factors like size of system, local, state and federal incentives available, electricity costs, and sun hours to name just a few. It can be complicated and can vary with each system or home. That doesn’t mean solar is not a worthwhile investment.
In fact, the Berkeley National Laboratory released the results of a study that compared homes in six states across the country with and without solar panels to determine how much these systems affected home prices. They found that home values increase 0.92% for each kW of solar power installed on a home when compared with the prices of similar homes without solar power. Based on those findings, a home with a 7.5kW solar system could see a 6.9% bump over comparable houses without solar. Importantly, this study was limited to homes in California and only holds true for solar systems owned by the homeowner.
Myth No. 7: Using a power purchase agreement puts a lien on my home and means I could lose my house or never be able to sell it.
This is not true. Solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) have been around for about a decade and are available in 26 states. Like with leases, a PPA customer has little-to-no-up-front cost, and the solar company they contract with owns the system and handles its permitting, installation and maintenance, thus significantly reducing the complexity and risk for the consumer.
The Solar Energy Industry Association recently clarified that the public filings, or recorded notices of ownership, are on the systems and do not place a lien, encumbrance, or security interest on the home. The filings are notices to prospective homebuyers, only intended to protect a provider’s ownership interests in the solar equipment. When a solar homeowner sells their house or refinances their mortgage, many PPA providers have dedicated teams that work with all parties to ensure a smooth process.
PPAs have enabled hundreds of thousands of people across the country to adopt solar power. PPAs are not the only option for going solar; you also have the option to purchase the solar equipment, and may be able to finance the purchase.
Join the thousands of U.S. residents who have selected Vivint Solar as their rooftop solar provider and make the decision to go solar today.