This is a summary overview of the PV Only option where the customer wants to get started with just the PV components
- How to Use This Section
- Is Solar a Good Fit At My Location
- How Can I Afford Solar
How to Use This Section
This section will ultimately include interactive components that allow the customer to assess their home’s suitability for Solar based on it’s location, roof orientation, available space, and selected financing option.
Is Solar a Good Fit at my Location… Interactive Estimator
Step 1: Locate Property – First we need to locate your property… use Google Earth by clicking on this link and downloading the app/plugin. Accept the license terms and then run through the setup process. Once installed, just type in your address and hit “Search”. Make sure the displayed pushpin is truly your home’s location.
Step 2: Determine Roof Orientation – Next we need to assess the orientation of your roof. Ideally, it has one side facing due south… again using the open Google Earth app, check the orientation of your roof with the default compass setting (top right hand corner) of due North. If your roof faces north/south, you are good to go. If you are off a bit it is not necessarily a problem, you will have a loss of efficiency. If the roof faces east/west then we will have to see.
Google Earth by clicking on this link and downloading the app/plugin. Accept the license terms and then run through the setup process. Once installed, just type in your address and hit “Search”. Make sure the displayed pushpin is truly your home’s location.
Step 2: Identify Available Space – Next we need to identify the space available for your Solar system. Again using Google Earth, click on the ruler icon and then click one corner of the available roof space. Then move your mouse to the extent of the length or width and click again. A solid line should be drawn and a popup window should show the “Map Length”… make sure it is in feet. Simply record the dimension… no need to save it using the plugin. Now repeat the process for the other dimension of the available roof space and record it.
Step 3: Establish Energy Usage – Once we have the information needed to size your Solar system, we need to establish your current energy usage. Using your utility bills or online account access, assemble your last 12 months of electric consumption as well as your delivered price in $/kWh.
Step 4: Produce Preliminary Estimate of Cost and Savings – Now that we have an idea of what kind of Solar system can be installed and how much electricity you use, we can produce a preliminary estimate of system savings and cost.
How Can I Afford Solar… Interactive Estimator
How to use this item… use this estimator to select the appropriate ownership option for you. You will be able to get specific feedback on your estimated system economics under each of the ownership scenarios.
Pay for Your System Upfront – this is the cheapest option over the long run and offers the maximum financial benefit. However, the majority of customers will not have this level of funds available.
Borrow the System Cost – while this option carries some financing costs, you still own your system and take full advantage of the incentives and financial benefits all without needing a significant amount of accessible assets.
Lease Your System – in cases where you may not be able to take full advantage of the tax incentives, you can choose to lease your system. This option allows you to get in the game with little to no money upfront. You just pay a fixed lease payment that is typically less than your avoided utility costs. The lease owner is responsible for buying, installing and often maintaining your system in exchange for the tax benefits and fixed lease payments over the life of the system.
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – a variation on the lease, you no longer pay a fixed lease payment but a variable payment based on the power produced by your system. Again the power purchased is typically less the avoided utility costs. Again, The lease owner is responsible for buying, installing and often maintaining your system. Only this time they are taking the risk for the performance of your system so they are doubly vigilant about making sure it is producing up to spec. For more details you can go to http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/buygp/solarpower.htm
Participate in a Community Owned Solar system – this is a relatively new option that is growing in popularity. It is most beneficial for people that do not have a suitable site for Solar… their house may not have an ideal orientation, there may not be enough space or they may be in a community managed by an HOA (Homeowners Association) that has restrictions against Solar retrofits to the units.