Buying Solar Panels for Home: How much should I pay?

Hey people: Kate and I are considering having solar photovotalic panels added to the roof of our home in Phoenix Arizona. Not only is there a more than ample supply here it will make us that much better than everyone else by yet another level… =)

So far we have talked with Solar City which is a very professional organization but after reviewing things it does not seem that the Lease option is the best match for what we want. Besides the hassle of transferring the lease when we sell the house it is actually a much better deal to purchase and get the rebates and sell power back to APS at $0.10/watt.

Solar City is saying that based on our roof design they can only get 11 panels up there for about 2500 Watt of power. Based on that estimate we will definitely save on our already low electric bill.
The problem now is finding a contractor in Phoenix who has designed and installed Solar Panels for less than Solar City. From doing a quick survey of Home Depot’s website I see a 3kWatt system for just over $7k. After rebates that comes down significantly. So how much should I expect to pay someone to install some panels and then hook up the wiring?

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
Should I buy or lease solar?
Opinionated page on Solar Leasing
Homeowner in PA who is making money on his system

3 Replies to “Buying Solar Panels for Home: How much should I pay?”

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  2. A solar lease is one of the absolute worst ways to finance the rental of a solar system. First of all you have to forfeit the 30% federal tax credit which is worth about $10,000.00 on a typical 6 kW system. You’ll also have to forfeit any cash rebate. The leasing companies will tell you that they will apply the tax credit and cash rebate to the system price so that you’ll lower the acquisition cost but the leasing company’s pricing is so over inflated that the tax credit and rebate as large as they are will hardly make a dent in their price.

    Instead of an expensive solar lease or PPA, consumers are now getting $0 down solar loans that require no equity, that offer tax deductible interest and allows you to keep the 30% federal tax credit and any other incentives and own your solar system for a much greater return on investment than any lease or PPA.

    And good luck ever selling your home with a lease attached to it. What homebuyer will want to assume your lease payments on a used system, when they can buy and own a new state of the art system for less than $3.15 a watt, installed, before incentives? Don’t take my word for it, search the Internet and you’ll find many articles concerning homeowners who are having difficulty selling because they have solar leases attached to their homes. Here’s a funny video that illustrates some of the pitfalls of a solar lease:

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