With Only $0 down Solar Can Save You up to $34,000 Over 20 Years

by Zachary Shahan.

Originally published on Cost Of Solar.

How Much Are Solar Panels? Wrong Question. How Much Can Solar Panels Save You?

OK, it’s true, How Much Are Solar Panels? can be a useful question. But, really, this question is largely of minimal importance today. Either through $0 down loans or 3rd-party-ownership models that let you lease a solar power system instead of buying one, most residents and businesses with a decent roof or ground space for solar panels should have an opportunity to go solar without buying the entire solar panel system up front.

The real question — the real ways in which ‘going solar’ affects your finances — is how much it saves you and how soon, or when, it starts to save you money.

I’ve recently created the short infographic below to highlight the 20-year savings from going solar in some of the most populous states in the country, as well as in Hawaii, which has the greatest average savings per project.

Solar savings graphic
Renewable Energy solar savings graphic (USA).

Notably, those savings are based on 2011 research. The cost of solar has dropped tremendously since then, so the savings should be even greater (on average). Unfortunately, I haven’t seen more recent research on this matter. The specific data points — average 20-year savings from going solar — for those states are as follows:

  • California: $34,260
  • New York: $31,166
  • Florida: $33,284
  • Texas: $20,960
  • Hawaii: $64,769

These numbers were included in a cool solar power infographic I shared last week. However, the map displaying these numbers was number 3 of 4. I’ve gone ahead and pulled out this key map and will insert it below so that you can see savings in your specific state if you don’t live in one of the four most populous states or Hawaii.

Renewable Energy. Solar Power savings over 20 years in the U.S.A.
Renewable Energy. Solar Power savings over 20 years in the U.S.A. Image by 1BOG

These savings are tremendous. Even the national average (again, in 2011, when solar panels were much more expensive) is above $20,000! How much are solar panels… going to save me? That’s the question to ask. (Of course, you can request a quote on Cost of Solar to get a savings estimate and even a follow-up site visit for a more exact estimate, and it will also give you an estimate of how much solar panels for your house or business will cost.)

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This article, How Much Are Solar Panels? Wrong Question. How Much Can Solar Panels Save You?, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy. Zachary ShahanZachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

$60 Million More For Low Cost Solar Power

by Tina Casey

The cost of solar energy has already plunged a whopping 70 percent in just three years, and it is set to dive right off the charts. The Department of Energy has just announced a new round of $60 million in grants from the innovative solar funding program that has been the driving force behind this impressive success, the SunShot Initiative.

Some of that SunShot money is going to a company called EnergySage, Inc., which is tasked with applying the “best practices of web-based shopping” to develop an online comparison tool that will help make it easier for consumers to compare prices for solar installations.

The “Other” Federal Marketplace

If that sounds vaguely like the idea behind the Affordable Care Act’s online Marketplace, healthcare.gov, that’s generally the idea. In fact, earlier this year EnergySage released a version of its shopping tool, which it calls the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.

SunShot gives $60 more for low cost solar power.
Rooftop solar panels courtesy of Arlington County.

As in the health care Marketplace, the Solar Marketplace providers are pre-screened and an automated format makes choosing among numerous options a relatively easy task, while competition for consumers helps keep prices in check.

The first version of the Solar MarketPlace received $500,000 in SunShot funding back in 2012. Based on the success of the Solar Marketplace so far, yesterday the company was awarded another $1.25 million to tweak it some more.

With the new funding in hand, EnergySage will develop the Solar Marketplace thusly:

Planned enhancements will allow consumers to evaluate the suitability, costs and benefits of solar panel systems at their own properties using real-time market data provided by the EnergySage platform prior to initiating the buying process.

The Solar Marketplace system currently provides automatic adjustments for consumers to compare prices and benefits among different sizes and types of installations, and among financing options, too.

As noted previously in CleanTechnica, one standout feature of the Solar MarketPlace is that it provides at least two tiers of engagement, enabling interested consumers to dig deeper into the technology details.

Aside from the obvious benefits to consumers, EnergySage also notes that the Solar Marketplace has benefited the bottom line for solar companies by providing national, mass market exposure to all qualified solar companies, regardless of their size.

Here’s the result, according to EnergySage:

Since its launch, the EnergySage Solar Marketplace has demonstrated its success in closing sales at a much higher rate and shorter sales cycle time than the industry average.

$60 Million In Funding For Low Cost Solar Energy

The EnergySage award is a good example of SunShot’s singular focus on the goal of driving down the cost of solar energy by any means necessary, rather than focusing exclusively on improving solar cell efficiency.

To that end, the new round of funding devotes $12 million to 17 companies that will help lower the “soft costs” of solar power. That includes the Solar MarketPlace as well as a new rooftop solar mapping tool and automatic installation systems designed for utility-scale solar plants.

The new round also addresses “hard costs” with $16 million in funding for advanced single-junction solar cells (loosely speaking, single-junction refers to solar cells made of one material), and $7 million for durability and performance measurement improvements.

Another factor that can help drive down costs is grid integration, and projects in that field will get $8 million. Some of that funding will go to 150 counties through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, to help local electric cooperatives bump up their integration of solar power.

Workforce availability and quality is also a key component in solar costs. To help feed the solar industry a steady stream of qualified workers, the new funding includes a total of $16 million for regional training consortiums, with another $ million going to help ensure education and training opportunities for minority students.

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About the Author

Tina Casey Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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Canadian Solar Offers Rooftop Financing For Residential Projects

by Joshua S Hill

.

Canadian solar
Solar panels installed on a home. New financing options for residential solar installations are making it easier than ever to lower energy costs.

In an attempt to combat the popularity of solar leasing companies, North America’s largest solar manufacturer Canadian Solar have announced they will be offering a financing program to the US residential market. The Canadian Solar Residential Financing Program is “designed to make it even easier for residential solar installers to bring more solar projects to completion in the US market.”

Announced on Monday, the financing program is being launched in partnership with Admirals Bank, a privately held bank in Boston.

“We believe there is a great opportunity to leverage our scale to help customers in the U.S. residential market to more easily gain access to necessary financing at attractive rates,” said Dr.Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar Inc..

“We have a very qualified partner in Admirals Bank, as we work to streamline the process for both residential customers and installers. This latest program will further build on Canadian Solar’s global leadership in renewable energy as we continue to deliver high-value, high-quality solar energy solutions.”

The Canadian Solar Residential Financing Program will allow residential solar installers the opportunity to borrow up to $40,000, with no fees, no constraints on system design, and benefit from loans paid out quickly: “Installers will be able to receive payment quicker because the loans are funded directly to the homeowner before the work begins.”

Furthermore, the Residential Financing Program will provide a “Step Down” feature which Canadian Solar says will allow customers the opportunity “to monetize the solar tax credits, rebates and other incentives associated with ownership of their system. They can then pay that amount into the principal balance, and then re-amortize the loan, which can potentially dramatically reduce their remaining monthly mortgage payments.”

“Our program provides homeowners with an easy way to finance solar installations that lower energy bills and allows them to reap the benefits of ownership through tax credits, rebates, and other incentives,” said Nicholas P. Lazares, Vice President and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Admirals Alternatives, a division of Admirals Bank.

“We are excited to partner with Canadian Solar, an innovative global leader, as we work together to facilitate the adoption of clean energy and reduce the cost of power for homeowners across the United States.”

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This article, Canadian Solar Offers Rooftop Financing For Residential Projects, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Joshua S Hill I’m a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we’re pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.

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