The fact that Scottsdale receives an average of 86% sunshine yearly as well as proudly boasting an average of 330 days of sunshine with only 7.05 inches of rainfall would make solar energy a win win. What could be the downside of going solar?
One of the longest licensed solar companies in Scottsdale, REC, reported that they assess the electric bills of the client to determine how much usage compared to how much saving the customer could appreciate. There are two options that are available; one option is to pay for the solar panels by way of cash upfront, the other option is to lease. The overall cost of these units range anywhere from $8,000 to upwards of $80,000 depending on square footage, usage, construction materials and a wide array of variables. The lease option comes with a zero down payment, although there were no other costs verbalized. This does not mean zero cost to the customer, there can always be hidden costs.
The claim of this solar company was that there is the satisfaction of renewable energy creating “green energy”, energy independence, saving money and increasing home value. Although this particular company states that they are hooked to the grid, which prevents loss of power due to rainy days and other issues of “black out” times, it also is more environmentally friendly as batteries are shown to harm the air quality. With this method of solar (hooked to the grid) the excess electricity used is recorded by the power companies and used to determine the overall cost of electricity when they bill the customer. These bills can be smaller than normal or zero at the end of the year. These systems are bill on an annual basis. Depending on the cost of the solar panels, there appears to be savings.
The downside of leasing occurs when and if you should decide to sell your home, the potential buyer will have to assume the lease on the solar equipment or the seller will have to have the company uninstall the equipment and the roof will need repaired. This was a cautionary note from the media mogul from Salt River Project, Scott Harelson.
Scott Harelson of Salt River Project (SRP) reported that they are working to create 15% of all energy sold to consumers to be renewable and sustainable energy resources by 2020. With some of the power currently coming from solar stations in Florence, Queen Creek, and Arizona State University Polytechnic and other energy coming from wind farms in Holbrook and soon from the Navaho Tribe, SRP is moving to more sustainable resources. When asked why, in the Valley of the Sun, Arizona does not use more solar technology; Scott reported that renewable energy is more costly. Although sunshine is free, the technology large enough to generate enough power for tens of thousands is just more expensive.
The real question for the consumers to consider when talking to companies about installation of solar products such as solar hot water heaters and whole house solar systems is the upfront cost of the technology to provide energy independence. Sometimes it really isn’t so cost effective, so shop wisely, consider the cost per month and per year and determine what you individual finances can cover. Don’t be afraid to ask the company many questions before taking the big step towards energy independence. For more information on solar energy and other green products stay tuned and subscribe.