Renewable Energy

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3/11/2016

Home Renovations and Solar Panels

Whether you’re considering selling your home in one year or ten, knowing how a home improvement project will impact your home’s resale value can make or break the decision. The conventional wisdom from HGTV and home improvement magazines is that updating your kitchen, renovating your bathroom, and building an addition are among the smartest ways to increase the resale value of your home. But there’s another home improvement that you may not realize can add serious value to your property: installing a solar energy system.

 Multiple studies by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), a research laboratory affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy, have shown that solar can improve the value of your home. The lab’s 2015 Selling Into the Sun report analyzed sales of solar photovoltaic (PV) homes in eight different states over 11 years with the goal of determining just how much value solar adds to your home’s sale price. The key finding: on average, homebuyers are “consistently willing to pay PV home premiums” of approximately $4 per watt of installed solar capacity.  For a standard 6-kilowatt (kW) solar PV system, this means that solar can add $24,000 to your home’s resale value. 

While a $24,000 increase in property value is compelling, knowing how much a solar panel system costs, and how that cost compares to other home renovations, illustrates why going solar is truly the best investment you can make in your home.  

The Value of Solar-Panel Installations vs. Other Home Renovations

According to EnergySage data, the average cost of a solar panel installation in 2015 was $3.70/watt, which means an average 6-kilowatt (kW) system has a $22,200 price tag. Tax breaks and other incentives drastically reduce that cost – once you subtract the value of the 30 percent solar tax credit, your total solar installation costs are a little less than $15,600.

When you sell your solar home, you will be able to recover your installation costs and more, but how does this compare to more traditional home improvement projects? To determine the answer, EnergySage used the Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, which evaluates project costs and resale value for a variety of home renovations. What we found is that you are not likely to recover your costs for the majority of home improvement projects (see chart).

Table Comparing Solar Panels and Home Renovations

According to the Cost vs. Value Report, a $20,100 minor kitchen remodel – which includes replacing appliances and upgrading countertops and fixtures – only adds $16,700 to your home’s resale value. That means you will recover 83.1 percent of your project costs. You’ll recover even less with a bathroom remodel, just under 66 percent. The same is true for a deck addition. In contrast, by installing a solar energy system you will recover 154 percent – that’s 54 percent more than you spent in the first place! 

Why Is Solar Such a Valuable Home-Improvement Project?

Perhaps you’re now wondering why homebuyers are willing to pay so much more for a solar-equipped home. The most important reason is that these prospective buyers can reduce or even eliminate their electric bill when they move into in a solar-powered home. Solar panels can help save money in the short term, and additionally protect from increasing utility rates for the 25+ years that they generate electricity. And it doesn’t hurt that solar reduces one’s impact on the environment by producing emissions-free electricity.

If you’re considering going solar as a way to improve the resale value of your home, remember that increased property value is only one component of solar’s financial benefits. That value doesn’t take into account the month-to-month savings you will see on your electricity bill – money that you can use to make other investments (like finally adding those granite countertops, or investing in the stock market).

So what’s the downside? Buying and installing a solar panel system on your home might seem like a more complicated process than other home improvement projects at the outset. However, you can use home equity loans and lines of credit to go solar, just as you can to make other updates to your property. Many solar financing options are low-interest, and most require zero money down. And unlike a disruptive home remodeling project, solar can typically be installed in a single day. Take a look at EnergySage’s short Solar Power Installation in Less Than a Minute video to see just how quickly a solar installer can get your system up and running.

Compare Your Solar-Panel Options to Find the Best Installation for Your Home

As with any other home improvement project, the best way to ensure that you’ll be satisfied with your solar installation is to get multiple quotes from contractors first and then compare all of your options. To get started, use a solar calculator to estimate just how much you can save. Once ready, register your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to easily receive and compare multiple quotes from pre-screened solar installers in your area.

Vikram Aggarwal is the founder and chief executive of EnergySage, the online solar marketplace. EnergySage simplifies the process of researching and shopping for solar. By offering shoppers more choices and unprecedented levels of transparency, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them, quickly and easily. Read all of Vikram's posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



3/1/2016

Confirming expectations, solar PV installations broke multiple records in 2015, according to figures released by GTM Research in advance of the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report. In total, the solar industry installed 7,286 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, which accounts for an impressive 17 percent annual growth. To put the solar industry’s growth in perspective, aggregate U.S. solar installations can currently produce more than 25 gigawatts (GW) of energy, which compares to just 2 GW in 2010. Investors and potential residential producers should take note, because with the surprise extension of U.S. tax credits in December, solar energy’s rise is sure to continue for the remainder of the decade.

Table: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight report

In a symbolic milestone, new solar installations surpassed natural gas installations for the first time, which is significant because politicians and the natural gas industry have long marketed the fossil fuel as a “bridge fuel” to renewable energy.Perhaps we’re closer to crossing that bridge than previously thought.

When broken down by source, residential solar continued to recover its share of the solar market in 2015, sporting a year-over-year rate of 66 percent, which represents its highest new installation share since 2009. Meanwhile, the industrial solar sector—long the driver of the U.S. solar market—installed 4 GW and grew 6 percent. By comparison, non-residential, non-industrial solar installations, often seated on top of big-box stores, storage sheds and office buildings, remained unfortunately flat, installing slightly more than 1 GW of capacity.

 

 Table: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight report

In 2016, solar energy advocates should support continued national capacity growth while arguing for a larger, national distribution of production. Currently, 87 percent of new installations occurred in only 10 states, according to Shayle Kann, a senior vice president of GTM Research. Of these, California led, while North Carolina’s solar industry boom kept that state in second. Solar industries in Nevada, Massachusetts, and New York rounded out the top five for new installations by GW. Because state policies, such as net metering, are particularly influential in spurring or hampering local solar markets, investors and home-producers should research local solar legislation and advocate for renewable production models. 

Once again, the overall news is positive for the solar industry. As installation prices continue to fall, 2016 will likely continue to smash records as renewable energy’s share of the U.S. market continues to grow. The full U.S. Solar Market Insight Report will be available on March 9th along with detailed projections from Greentech Media.    

 
Josh Brewer is an Assistant Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS who covers Renewable Energy, Green Homes, Omega Fatty Acids Nutrition, and Nature and Environment.


2/25/2016

Pairing energy efficiency and solar panels

There’s a reason why home energy efficiency measures are referred to as the “low-hanging fruit” of home energy upgrades. Achieving an eco friendly house can be as simple as swapping out incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or installing a programmable thermostat that only heats or cools your home when you’re there to enjoy it. Simple energy efficiency measures are one of the easiest ways to make an investment in your home and reduce your home energy costs – but they will only take you so far. 

Thanks to solar incentives and rebates and rapidly falling equipment prices, investing in a home solar PV system is another smart option for homeowners who are looking to reduce their energy costs. By installing a solar energy system, you can generate your own electricity and protect yourself from utility rate increases for twenty years or more.

What many homeowners don’t realize is that energy efficiency measures and solar panels are each effective ways to save on electricity costs, and when you combine them, they can save you even more. Here’s how it works.

How Green Homes, Energy Efficiency, and Solar Power Work Together

When you implement green home design in your home before going solar, you reduce your electricity consumption. This in turn decreases the amount of electricity your solar panels have to generate to match your household usage. As a result, energy efficiency can help you save on the price of your solar power system by making it possible to install a smaller system with fewer panels. The end result: lower upfront costs for your new solar energy system, and the same amount of electricity bill savings over its 20+ year lifetime. 

Even if you don’t have the cash to pay out of pocket for a solar energy system, the increased availability of $0-down solar loans puts home solar within reach for everyone. Most homeowners in the U.S. can achieve payback on their system in five to 10 years, meaning that all electricity that their solar panels produce after break-even is essentially free – that’s a home improvement worth making!

In addition to turning your roof into your home’s own mini power plant, going solar has another energy-efficient benefit – it makes you more aware of your energy usage. Many solar energy systems come with performance monitoring systems that help you track how much electricity your solar panels produce, how much you’re consuming at home, and how much you’re sending back to the grid. This increased level of energy awareness often results in less usage and an environmentally friendly home. 

And if that wasn’t enough, pairing energy efficiency and solar power will also reduce your impact on the environment.

Comparing All Your Options is the Smartest Way to Go Solar

When you start exploring your solar options, be sure to compare multiple options – when solar installers compete for your business, you can save 20 percent or more off the costs of installation. 

Start off by using EnergySage’s solar calculator; this energy savings tool takes electricity costs, incentives available in your area, and real-time market prices into consideration to provide you with an estimate of how much you’ll save by going solar. Once you’re ready to move forward, register your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to receive multiple quotes from pre-screened, local solar installers in your area.

Vikram Aggarwal is the founder and chief executive of EnergySage, the online solar marketplace. EnergySage simplifies the process of researching and shopping for solar. By offering shoppers more choices and unprecedented levels of transparency, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them, quickly and easily. Read all of Vikram's posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/18/2016

Solar Energy Green Home

Do you know that only 1% of homes in the United States have solar panels today? This may not sound like much but it’s actually the result of an exploding solar market. There’s every indication that within the next ten years, solar power will become ubiquitous.

In many ways, today’s solar energy market is like the smart phone market of ten years ago. Disruptive change is around the corner, and here are the top five reasons to go solar today. 

1. Favorable Legislation

The federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy was recently extended so that it will remain at the 30 percent level through 2019 and then ramp down over the following three years, before being eliminated completely for residential customers. This is essentially a 30 percent discount on your solar system courtesy of Uncle Sam, for those of you who opt to purchase your system (with or without a loan). Those who lease or go with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) are not eligible to claim the ITC.

2. Stabilizing Costs

Over the past decade, the cost of going solar has plummeted. It has never been cheaper to go solar, especially when you factor in financial incentives like the ITC. However, the rate at which these costs are coming down is slowing now and we can’t expect to see the same rate of decline in future years.

Equipment prices have taken the most dramatic plunge, but it’s the other so called soft costs, related to customer acquisition, permits and site design, that are more stubborn and difficult to budge. These will continue to decrease, but not at the rate equipment prices fell.

3. Rising Electricity Prices

Electricity prices continue to go up. On average, they have increased by nearly 33 percent in the past decade across the United States. As rates rise, solar energy becomes more and more profitable. By going solar today, you can minimize the risk of rising electricity rates and lock in savings by producing your own electricity for the lifetime of your panels, on average 20-25 years.

4. Low Interest Rates

Most of us cannot afford to make an outright purchase of a solar power system (which costs on average about $20,000 for a 5 kW system before the ITC or other incentives are factored in). Thankfully, the cost of financing your system, whether you choose to go with a loan, a lease or a PPA, is made more affordable with the low interest rates available today. Interest rates are expected to increase, so researching your financing options today could save you money.

5. Helping the Environment

For some, the decision to go solar is purely economic – will solar panels save me money in the long run? For others, it is about more than that. We have been hearing a lot about climate change in the past months, especially with the Pope’s proclamation that the world needs to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and the Paris Climate Conference this past December.

More and more homeowners are asking themselves what they can do to help fight climate change. We can all start with some simple energy efficiency measures at home and learn more about the benefits of solar energy.

Going solar today is one of the safest investments available, one that can save you money over the next 20-25 years, increase the value of your home and help the environment, all at the same time. Make the most of this opportunity by investigating solar for your home today.

Simone Garneau is the co-founder of Sunmetrix, an online consumer education website for residential solar energy. The goal of Sunmetrix is to help homeowners go solar and save money with our Solar Cashback Program. In addition to the 200+ articles about solar energy, Sunmetrix offers homeowners two main tools: Discover, to preview solar energy for your home, and GO, the only solar energy test drive experience. Read all of Simone's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/8/2016

Traveling by Covered Wagon 

My name is Aur “DaEnergyMon” Beck, and I have lived off-grid with solar electricity as my source of power for 18 years. Growing up, I had unique parents that decided to live off-grid in a low-tech way and we moved to what I'm told it is the poorest County in Tennessee to set up a homestead.

I grew up with wood as a cooking source and heat, candles and kerosene lamps for light. We grew our own vegetables and we had chickens and goats for dairy. It was a very simple life. We didn't shun society in any way; we just picked and chose what parts of society we wanted to have inundate our lives. 

My dad decided that instead of working his whole life and saving up enough money to retire, he would retire while he was young and able. Basically my dad decided that instead of saving up enough money to travel he would live in vacation mode. He just simplified his life and somehow he convinced my mom to do the same.

My whole life, until I was about 20, consisted of us (my parents and myself were joined with 3 other siblings over the years) traveling by drawn covered wagon through a recorded 14,000 miles across 24 states. I have lived in 34 states and 4 countries now, where having “lived” somewhere consists of staying there for longer than 2 months. I have visited 45 US states and 9 countries that I can remember. 

In between trips where we worked our way around the country, we would homestead through winters in places with nicer winter weather — places like Alabama or Tennessee (where it also has a lower cost of living) and including one winter in Israel.

We always had horses, of course, but also cats, goats and chickens. Growing up low-tech made life fun, with a fire — either camp or woodstove — for cooking and heating, with candles, kerosene lanterns, or battery-operated devices for lighting, and with going to town once a month for groceries and laundry. 

During the winters or between horse-powered trips, we almost always had a basic workhorse truck and would have a telephone for earning money/business. The phone would only be on the hook 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for work calls.

I remember once when we parked our bus-home in the back of a field and needing to run over half a mile of phone line to the bus for our phone. I now find it hilarious that we had a phone but no running water or electricity while we were living in the bus. 

We had gotten the old bus that was partially converted into living quarters with shelves, bunk beds, etc. It even had a wooden roof on it that kept it much cooler in the summer. We added a wood stove, propane gas stove, and a sink, but no running water, and we had no continuous refrigeration — well, no refrigeration except for our coolers. When we went to town, we would buy ice which only lasted a few days. Rarely did we use our coolers for more than a few days as ice was expensive.

Besides food and occasionally propane, our only other expenses were truck expenses like gas and insurance and our phone bill, but both of those would earn us money. Growing up low-tech off the grid has made me appreciate my life. I have learned and studied and installed solar for a living. I have known since I was 15 that solar would be my life and passion. 

As time has gone on, it has become easier and more affordable to live off-grid without sacrificing comfort and conveniences. Since I have grown up without “modern” conveniences, I don’t know any better but I could see it being difficult for people used to having it all to be able to learn about living off-grid.

The living off-grid mentality is about not wasting, learning to use electricity when the sun shines, designing your life and systems to be more simple and lower tech. When the power goes out or when camping, people shift their mentalities to an off-rid mentality. 

Of course, this is living off-grid to the max without conveniences, but learning to not waste makes it so we don’t have to worry about making or finding the energy to run things.

The living off-grid mentality for me goes beyond just electricity but into my whole life. As such, I am going to provide to you a series of posts on how I grew up, how I now help people design off-grid lifestyles, and what I think are ways we can all simplify our lives. 

I look forward everyday to the interactions I have on my Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page and hope you will join the discussion there. Stay energized.

Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Project, a fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous and a talk show cohost at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/5/2016
solar and electric cars

Solar panels and electric cars are a match made in heaven ­– when you install a solar energy system on your home, you can use it to both power your home and charge your electric car for emissions-free transportation. The cost of solar is falling rapidly, and companies from Tesla to Nissan are manufacturing electric cars for your daily use. Now, the ability to install a solar PV system large enough to power both your home and your car is an option within reach. But even with incentives and rebates available for both technologies, most homeowners still can’t afford to install solar and buy an electric car at the same time. Luckily, it’s easy to install a solar energy system today that takes your future electricity consumption into account, if you take a few additional factors into consideration.

How Much Electricity Does an Electric Car Use?

Before you can make a decision on the size of your solar energy system, you need to determine how much electricity your car will use in the future. In addition to helping you size your solar energy system, knowing your electric car’s mileage rating can help you quantify the amount that you’re saving by switching to an electric vehicle.

Since electric cars don’t run on gasoline, the EPA rates them based on how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) it takes for the car to drive 100 miles, which they convert to a “miles-per-gallon equivalent” (MPGe). You can use U.S. Dept. of Energy's Fuel Economy website to find and compare the kWh/100 miles and MPGe ratings for all of the electric vehicles on the market in the United States.

Once you know EPA’s fuel economy rating for your chosen vehicle, you can easily calculate how much extra solar electricity you’ll need to charge your car. Here’s an example: the 2014 Nissan Leaf, an all-electric vehicle, has a combined fuel economy rating of 30 kWh/100 miles – this means the Leaf requires 30 kWh of electricity to drive 100 miles. If you drive 25 miles on an average day, that means you’re using approximately 7.5 kWh of electricity per day – or just over 2,700 kWh of electricity in a given year. This is the “extra” amount of electricity you’ll need your solar energy system to produce.

Armed with this information, you can work with your solar installer to design a solar panel system that will generate sufficient power to cover both your home and your electric car. But if you’re not ready to make the investment in both at the same time, you’ll need to install a solar PV system that can grow as your electricity use increases. 

How to Size Your Solar Energy System for Future Use

First things first: don’t put off going solar just because you might want to get a bigger system in the future. If you wait to install solar, you could miss out on state and local financial incentives – plus, you’ll have to continue paying for electricity from your utility every month. By sizing your solar energy system for future usage and ensuring your system is “add-on friendly”, it’s easy to find an option that generates enough electricity to power your home today and can charge your electric car in the future. Here’s how to do it:

Install an inverter that can handle more power. The default option for inverters is known as a string inverter. With string inverters, multiple solar panels are arranged into “strings,” which feed the power they produce into a single inverter. Typically, solar installers will include an inverter that can handle the expected output of your solar panels, but no more. If you know how many more panels you’ll need to add to your system later on, you can install an inverter that can handle the capacity of your existing panels plus the new ones you plan on adding after purchasing your electric vehicle.

Install microinverters with your solar panels. If you opt for microinverters instead of the default string inverter, each of your solar panels will have its own inverter. With microinverters, you can easily add extra panels to your system down the line without having to worry about whether your existing inverter can handle the additional electricity your new panels will generate.

Install a second, smaller solar energy system. So long as you have enough space on your roof, you can add a second system to your home whenever you need it. Homeowners can claim the federal tax credit for solar more than once, so you’ll still save significantly on your purchase.

Determine your future use, and build a bigger system to match. If you know that your electricity use will increase in the next year or two and have access to enough financing, you can build your solar energy system based on your future electricity use. This isn’t always an option – some utilities won’t approve systems that go significantly beyond your historical electricity use, so be sure to talk to your solar installer about your options first.

Another option is to “make room” later down the line by implementing energy efficiency upgrades to your home, which has the added benefit of reducing your overall energy costs. Consider switching out lightbulbs, installing a programmable thermostat, or upgrading your appliances to free up some of the electricity your solar panels generate for future use in an electric vehicle.

It’s worth noting that the strategies above work not just for electric cars, but also for any other additions or changes you make to your house that will increase your electricity usage. If you’re considering adding an electric heat pump system, electric water heater, or an addition on your home, you can expand your solar energy system to take your future electricity use into account.

Comparing Your Solar Options Can Help You Save

If you’re thinking about going solar, it’s important to know all of your options – you can save up to 20 percent just by reviewing multiple offers. To get started, find out just how much you can save with EnergySage’s Solar Calculator, or register your property to start receiving custom quotes from pre-screened solar installers near you.

Vikram Aggarwal is the founder and chief executive of EnergySage, the online solar marketplace. EnergySage simplifies the process of researching and shopping for solar. By offering shoppers more choices and unprecedented levels of transparency, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them, quickly and easily. Read all of Vikram's posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



1/20/2016

should you DIY solar?

Going solar has major financial benefits: it reduces your monthly electricity costs and can even increase the value of your home. Incentives like the federal tax credit for solar can reduce your net cost by 30 percent or more, but solar is still a big investment, and the price tag can result in sticker shock. To save money, it’s no surprise that many homeowners are considering DIY solar panel kits when they decide to go solar. Below, we break down the top things you need to know about DIY solar before making a decision.

DIY Solar Can Be Less Expensive, but Your Options are Limited

According to data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, the average gross cost of going solar for homeowners (meaning your costs before incentives and rebates are applied) was $29,225. Of that amount, design and installation labor costs contribute about 10 percent of the total bill – this ten percent is all that DIY solar saves you, since you’ll still have the buy the equipment yourself. Regardless, it’s still tempting to look into a DIY solar installation to save money and be in full control of your project.

Your solar energy system should continue to generate electricity for 20 to 30 years, so it’s crucial that you consider both the upfront costs and the relative financial benefits for all of your solar options. If you buy a home solar kit like the ones for sale at Costco or Home Depot, it may be less expensive per watt, but you aren’t getting the same quality equipment that solar installers are able to offer you. For the most part, solar installers buy from equipment distributors that don’t sell to the general public – and they’re often getting lower prices because they’re able to buy in bulk.

DIY Solar Works for Small Off-Grid Projects

Most home solar kits are designed for off-grid use, which means you can’t use them and remain connected to your utility. If you’re an average homeowner, going off-grid is probably not in your best interest – being able to access utility-generated electricity is important if your solar energy system doesn’t produce enough electricity to meet your needs at all times of the day throughout the year.

However, home solar kits can be a good solution if you’re not trying to power your entire home. RVs, boats, and the increasingly popular tiny houses are all opportunities to explore DIY solar, because they are already off-grid and mobile.

On a related subject, DIY solar can be useful if you have a large property and want to power an outlying area, like a barn or toolshed, or want to easily install outdoor lights. In those cases, your electricity demands will be relatively low, so purchasing a small home solar kit and installing it yourself is feasible.

Installing Solar is Complicated, and Requires Training and Experience

When you decide to DIY solar, remember that you get what you pay for. A home solar kit may be less expensive, but solar installers offer tremendous value for relatively little additional cost (remember that ten percent figure?). When it comes to installing an expensive electrical system on your property, finding someone who knows what they’re doing can actually save you both time and money in the long run. 

Some of the best solar installers have been installing solar energy systems for decades – experience that no amount of online research or DIY guides can replicate. Every state requires that installers are licensed and qualified to install solar, and independent certifications like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners’ (NABCEP’s) Solar PV Installation Professional Certification ensure that the company you choose to work with has an intimate understanding of the process.

Your solar installer will also help you complete and file the permits and applications that you need to submit to get your solar energy system up and running. This is particularly important because your utility won’t let you connect your system to the grid without sign-off from a certified electrician. 

Because of your solar installer’s experience, they’ll also have a strong understanding of the financial incentives for solar available in your area, and might even be able to help you save more money by finding an incentive that you may have missed. Lastly, it is important to note that many equipment manufacturers will only honor their warranties if a qualified installer installed their equipment. Many installers will also offer an additional warranty on their own work too.

There are Other (Better) Ways to Save Money on Your Solar Installation 

Of course, when making such a big decision for your home, you’ll want to find the solar option that has the greatest financial benefit for you. However, DIY solar isn’t the only way, or even close to the best way, to save money when going solar.

EnergySage data shows that solar shoppers who compare their options on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace save 20 percent or more off the costs of installation, as compared to shoppers who don’t compare quotes from multiple installers beforehand.  The reason is simple: when solar installers compete for your business, you win! Considering that design and installation labor costs usually only make up ten percent of the cost of a quote, this means you can save just as much or more by simply comparing your options from prescreened solar installers competing for your business.

Ready to see how much you can save? Get started by reviewing an instant solar estimate from our Solar Calculator, or register your property to start receiving multiple quotes today.

Vikram Aggarwal is the founder and chief executive of EnergySage, the online solar marketplace. EnergySage simplifies the process of researching and shopping for solar. By offering shoppers more choices and unprecedented levels of transparency, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them, quickly and easily. Read all of Vikram's posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.









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