For homeowners in Northern California, rising costs have been the only consistent thing about their energy bill. Electric bills have skyrocketed, rising nearly 8% in 2020. As a result, solar companies have become more attractive to residents in Livermore and beyond. Many are saying just the thing homeowners want to hear: FREE. Free solar panels. Free energy. But is it really free?
The Cost of Free Solar Panels
The plain truth is nothing in business is truly free. Solar companies are a business and, like all businesses, they need to make money. While free energy is the end result of installing solar panels, getting there requires investment.
Switching to solar means that, in essence, the solar company is installing a micro power plant on your roof or property. Homeowners have two options: purchasing the panels and the system or leasing them. With a power purchase agreement (PPA) or solar lease, the property owner pays zero upfront for the solar panels. Installation and maintenance of the panels is included. The panels are “free”, but the ownership of the panels is retained by the company. The homeowner is then charged for the power the system produces. The rate charged is fixed for the duration of the lease. Typically a lease is for 20-25 years and will cost the homeowner less than standard electricity. Cheaper electricity and a consistent, never-changing monthly bill makes this a popular option.
A solar loan combines the zero-down aspect of a lease with the additional benefit of owning the system at the conclusion of the loan. The solar panels are “free” up front, and within 7-8 years the system is paid for and you own the panels and the power that they produce. Installation and maintenance are paid for by the homeowner. By the time the loan is paid, your energy bill savings will have covered the total investment made to make the switch to solar. In that context, it’s “free”.
What ‘Free Solar Panels’ Means
When solar companies advertise free solar panels, it’s in reference to upfront costs and/or costs incurred at the end of a lease or loan agreement. Once the solar panels and system are installed and start to generate power, your life of freedom from the electric company and high utility costs begins. The type of investment made determines when you’re truly free of all energy costs.
Help for Northern California Homeowners
The total cost and potential savings of a solar power system depends on the size of the system. Key factors to consider are your household’s power consumption, location, tax rebates, and state incentives. At Synergy Power we have a lending program to help you navigate leasing or loaning your own customized solar system. Clients are also welcome to secure their own financing through other means or pay for their system upfront. Each option puts you on the path to free energy.
For 17 years we’ve helped Northern California homeowners in Livermore and surrounding neighborhoods break free from high energy costs. Let us help you discover the freedom of solar panel ownership.
Contact Us Today to Learn More about Solar in Northern California.