Frequently, people leave comments on our contact with an expert form and all over our state incentive pages. Some of you are concerned about the upfront cost of going solar, while others have lingering questions regarding how incentives work in your municipality. On a daily basis, Dave and I also hear from home and business-owners who have plenty of other objections to solar too. So, we decided it was best to aggregate all the barriers to going solar we could think of in one place and address all of them here. Please comment below if we have missed one and we’ll add it to our list.
1. Sticker shock/don’t see the value: The prospect of creating your own energy from the sun is very attractive and the benefits of doing so are undoubtable, however many are surprised there’s such a huge upfront cost. Well, given the current financial crisis, we urge you to re-evaluate your investment portfolio (if you have one) and consider viewing installation of solar panels on your roof an investment just the same. However, unlike the stock market, an investment in solar has a guaranteed annual rate of return of roughly 9%. Chew on that for awhile before you object to the cost.
Now, even if you don’t have more than $10,000 lying around in underperforming investments or even in your bank account, there are solar leasing, power purchase agreements, and financing options available that can solve your problem. Many times in these scenarios your monthly payment will be lower than your previous electric bill. After working out the numbers, this is a no-brainer.
2. Waiting: This is a big one. There are thousands of new technology websites out there, each touting a new and high-falutin’ way to generate more electricity from the sun. However, bare bones facts still are facts. These oh so new products have not made it to market yet, nor have they achieved cost per watt parity of refined technology that has been around since the 1950s: regular ol’ solar panels. They work, they’ve been tested, and they can save you money – now.
3. Skepticism: The majority of people out there tend to follow early adopters in using new types of equipment: think about cell phones, the automobile, iPods, the personal computer, and any other technological innovation out there. If there’s no communication, and your neighbors aren’t going solar, you may feel awkward going out and slapping solar on your roof. Fact of the matter is, when more people see this equipment in the neighborhood, more people ask questions and get it. That’s just the way things go.
4. People don’t like in home sales: We are totally on board with this one. There’s not much of a way around this since someone will have to take measurements of your unique home and you’ll have to sign some papers and give a check to someone, though 1 Block off the grid is doing their job to put the purchasing in charge of groups of affiliated neighbors instead of individuals. Check them out and see if they’re coming to your town soon.
5. Misconceptions in general: Though solar has been around for over 60 years, many people don’t know a lot about its true performance. A lot of people don’t realize for instance that solar still works during cloudy days. Many of those people assume their climate is no good, they don’t live in a desert, etc. so they don’t seek out more information. By the way, cooler climates actually are better for solar. Colorado for instance has an ideal situation: Lots of sunny days per year and cool temperatures.
6. Tax credits hard to understand/navigate: That’s why we’re here. Over the coming months, you’ll see examples in every state of how tax credits weave in to different types of solar installations. We’ve got some up already, though we still need to take that newly passed tax credit into account! Stay with us.
Last modified: October 23, 2008