Government and Utility Incentives You Can Cash in On While It Lasts
As a solar consultant marketing a very successful zero down bank-financed method of providing solar to customers who are interested in keeping the incentives for themselves, yet do not want to invest any of their own cash up-front, I revisited a community where we started the process with a customer around March 2016. My customer wanted to show others how well solar was working for him, so I set out to design a study to demonstrate typical benefits for someone in his community. What this evolved into is similar to an ATM machine with a catch – the solar panels have to be put on a home in a qualifying region with a sunny, structurally-adequate roof. Some shade is acceptable, but we need to measure the sunlight on your roof with a no cost roof inspection.
To keep it simple for now, we can determine if your house pre-qualifies for this by using Google Maps.
So here is the portion of the spreadsheet which calculates net system cost for this customer when I originally priced his project back in March 2013. I am leaving out details of his design so that this study remains installer, and technology-neutral.
The highlighted line is the market value of the SRECs as determined by broker pricing during March 2013.
Feel free to click on the chart to the right to view that system’s historical solar generation and real-time solar energy generation. On the live monitoring screen, you can click the button at the top right to request a customized, no-obligation, no cost proposal for your own home or by clicking here.
Next, I updated the date in the proposal generator, knowing that our materials and labor costs have not changed since that time (our company did not factor in the pennies’ worth of cost difference in the panels, if any), and the Federal Tax Credit also remained in place, and will for the time being, at least until Inauguration Day 2017 (see pictures below), at which point we will keep an eye on developments in the energy sector.
Note that we offer the ability to cash out the SRECs in advance which takes the risk out of SREC market volatility.
Why should you be concerned with SREC market volatility? Flett Exchange, an online market where you can sell your SRECs on the spot market or in advance under multi-year buy-outs, predicts that the NJ SREC market recently hit a high, ending a 4-year rally, and will decline steeply over the next 3 years.
Now, considering that the cost of the solar panels consists of 5% of the total installed cost of the solar power system, that would put the solar panel cost (for January 2017’s proposal) on this project at $ 1,624.
Let’s assume that solar panel costs drop 5% in this year and panel efficiency increases by a newsworthy 0.5% (that’s the amount that made headlines last year when Silevo came out with the most efficient panels), saving you a total of $ 81.20 on this project.
Now let’s assume you wait until 2019 to go solar. Instead of receiving $ 15,145 in SRECs, you will receive $ 8,261 in SRECs.
By losing $ 6,884 in SREC incentives, in the example above, the net system cost increases from $ 7,589 to $ 14,473 !
By waiting two years to go solar:
You save $ 162.40 in materials cost
You could lose $ 6,884.00 in incentives (not including potential loss or reduction of 30% ITC)
This is speculative, but it’s based on recommendations that Flett Exchange makes to investors, including institutional investors.
This makes NOW the best time to go solar. Net prices (after incentives) are close to their 4-year lows and will most likely go up from here.
(And we didn’t even calculate the opportunity cost of waiting in terms of the money you won’t save on your utility bill without solar over that time period, which is calculated below.)
Why hesitate when this is the chance of a lifetime to protect yourself from rising energy costs, inflation, and become energy independent at no up-front cost out of pocket while securing fantastic returns and protecting the environment, a legacy you can pass on to future generations.
It’s worthwhile to take 20-30 minutes to evaluate what’s in it for you, right?
Or call / text me at: 443-864-3072
Relax, regardless of the signs below, once you go solar, and we cash out your SRECs for you, the government cannot them away from you, but you have to lock-in your promotions and incentives soon!
Example of Savings from Energy Costs:
Assume electric power bill now costs $ 165 / month, but that will increase with time as rates go up.
After spending $ 0.00 down on a solar power system, your monthly payments for the solar power system will be: $ 138.00 / month – fixed!
Your new utility bill will be: $ 8.00 / month.
The combined cost of the solar panels and new utility bill is already less than what you are paying now for electricity, but with solar, you pay off the panels and own them. What do those monthly payments to the electric utility company get you?
Add to that, thousands in incentives and credit for excess energy exported to the utility grid:
On the months where solar production is greater than your consumption, your meter spins backwards and you receive full credit from your utility company in a process known as net metering. Your unused credit balance carries forward to the next month.
On months where your consumption is greater than your solar generation, you use those net metering credits and you won’t get charged by your utility company until the credits run out. If / when you do run out of credits, you simply buy energy from your utility company at your normal rates like before, just alot less energy.
In other words, the net metering agreement with your utility company is like having a free storage battery for your extra solar energy!