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Free Solar Panels: Are They Really Free in 2023?

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are free solar panels possible in 2023?

If you shop a lot and have looked into home solar, then you might’ve seen free solar panels being advertised by solar companies. These offers might seem tempting, but many people choose not to trust them since nothing can be free in this world. This article will dive deep into these advertisements and examine why solar companies label their solar panels “free”.

Looks Are Deceiving, free solar panels

The solar companies expect everyone to understand their version of “ free solar panels”. According to them, anything “free” will fall under the branch of third-party ownership. This can be either a power purchasing agreement (PPA) or a solar lease.

Power Purchasing Agreement: 

The solar company provides the solar equipment. You just pay for the electricity you use, which is generated by the panels.

Solar Lease: 

You pay the solar company monthly and use their solar equipment. All the energy that the solar panel makes is yours.

The “free solar panels” tactic also comes from the fact that a few solar companies just want people to sign up for their subscriptions. So, at first, it may seem like the solar panels are free since there are no upfront costs.

However, your money will be deducted once you have used the electricity generated by the solar panels. After some time, the cost of the system will also be charged. You don’t pay for installation, but you pay for using the electricity.

PPA And Solar Lease

Even though third-party ownership has benefits like paying less for electricity, no installation costs, and using solar energy, it can limit other benefits you could avail yourself of if you had purchased the system.

Scaring Off Potential Buyers:

The lease is present only on your house. You can’t just abandon it and move on to the next house. Thus, if you want to sell your home, you either have to transfer the lease to your next house or the buyer of your house.

However, people are less likely to buy a house with a solar lease since transferring the lease is a lot of trouble. Plus, not everyone wants to have a lease. You’ll have to break the expensive lease if you have no choice.

No Benefit Of Tax Credits:

If you own a solar system, you receive all the benefits, including incentives, rebates, and solar tax credits, but since you are leasing the system, all those benefits go to the solar company. They might give you some shares, but most go into their pocket. The same happens with any SRECs.

You Do Not Own The Energy:

When you used the grid’s electricity, you were paying the utility. You pay the third-party owner when you use a solar lease or PPA. The process is the same, and you’re paying someone to use the solar panels on your roof. With a solar system, you own all of the energy, you don’t have to pay anyone anything, and you save money.

Lower Long-Term Savings:

Since the third-party owner technically owns the system. They can take all of the savings as per the law. However, you might receive a small part of the savings if the third-party owner feels like it. This will drastically lower your savings in the long run. If you owned the system completely, you would have complete control over your savings. Even in the case of a loan, once you have paid off your system, all the savings are yours.

Solar Loan Benefits

With increased demand in the market for solar, manufacturers are pushing for an increase in the production of solar power systems. This has made solar power systems common and cheaper to the general population. Therefore, it is easy to propose anyone buy solar panels if they want to save on their electricity bills. Plus, you will receive a higher return on investment over the life of your system.

You can also keep your upfront cost low by financing the solar panels through a zero-down solar loan. In solar loans, you borrow money from a lender and then pay off that money monthly with interest until all the loans have been paid off.

You are given many loan choices if you ask about solar panel companies. National lending institutions and credit unions are ready to provide loans to homeowners needing them. Moreover, financing programs provided by utilities grant homeowners the power to finance solar power through utilities and repay the borrowed amount through their electric bills.

This option is essentially the best of both worlds since it combines the benefits of a PPA or solar lease (zero upfront cash) with the advantages of owning a solar system (more lifetime savings). Lastly, this option is the most affordable of all.

Solar Energy Is Cheap If You Know The Way

Our responsibility is to guide our audience correctly, so these are the steps you should take if you’re going down the solar road. Suppose you don’t have enough cash to buy a solar system. Your second option should be to look at solar loans and Residential Clean Energy Credits. After all this, you can move to a solar lease. 

With how it is advertised, “free solar panels” is attractive, and a solar PPA or lease doesn’t seem like a bad option. However, owning a solar system is the best option if you have the budget for it. Not only do you own the system, but you keep all the savings and offset your investment in a few years. Plus, it’s good for the environment.

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