Going green is all the rage these days. Sometimes going green can save you money and other times you just have to think of it as helping to save the environment a little bit at a time, with no monetary savings. Solar panel prices are starting to come down and more consumers are considering installing them on their homes or in their yards. In addition, more businesses are getting into the solar business because of the government subsidies that can be obtained.
Keep in mind that solar energy requires the sun. So find out how many sunny days your area has each year. As with every product or service, comparison shop with several businesses to make sure you are getting the best deal.
BBB offers the following tips for those leasing, buying or installing solar panels themselves:
Talk to your energy (electric) company.
· Most utilities have net metering programs. Net metering measures the difference between what consumers pay for the energy purchased from their utility minus the cost of energy that the consumer provides to the utility collected through the solar panels.
· Make sure you meet all standards and codes that are applicable along with local, state/provincial and federal laws.
· Ask about the cost of installing a new meter.
Find out about federal and state/provincial tax credits.
· How much will you receive – for what amount of energy generated?
· Will you be taxed on these tax credits?
· How long (months, years) will you receive tax credits?
· What do you have to do to receive the tax credits? Is there a filing date?
Choosing a business
· Check out the business with Better Business Bureau, bbb.org
· Will you be leasing or purchasing the solar panels? Compare costs – upfront versus long-term.
· Who receives the government (federal and state) benefits?
· Who pays for maintenance costs of the equipment?
· How long is the contract? 10, 15, 20 or 25 years?
· Is there a cancellation fee?
· If you move will the panels be moved for free? What if your new home will not accommodate the panels? Can you cancel?
· Consider location – on your house or in the yard?
· If the panels are located on your house, what happens if there is damage during installation – who pays to repair?
· If you have to have a new roof replaced (on average every 20 – 25 years) will the company remove and replace the panels for free or a cost?
· If the business promises a percentage savings from your current utility bill – what happens if that savings don’t materialize?
For more information, visit www.bbb.org/us/article/solar-panels–make-it-a-sunny-decision-41677.