If you live in California you’ve undoubtedly gotten this phone call:
“Hi this is Bill and I am calling on behalf of [your electric company] and want to let you know that you can eliminate your electricity bill…”
These callers of course, have nothing to do with your electric company….they are trying to sell you solar.
Solar = Good.
Pretending to be someone else to trick a salesperson into your home?
That’s pretty evil, right?
(Believe it or not, those telemarketers who can’t seem to remember you’re on the do not call list are not out to save the world one tree at a time….)
Just last week I received this very call, and I was curious to find out which solar installer was calling and what their prices were.
(‘Cause I’m a hustler, baby!)
Want to know what my electric company high school dropout told me?
I asked a simple Question:
What is Your Average Cost Per Watt When You Install Solar Here in Southern California?
Based on the response from our friend “Bill”, you would have thought he was Colonel Sanders and had been asked for the secret chicken recipe.
Here’s what homeboy told me:
“There’s no way to know without someone coming out because, uh, like we don’t know how much you need and if you have trees or which direction your roof faces.”
“We’re not going to tell you a stinkin’ thing until a pit bull is sent out to your house to grab on to your leg and force you to buy solar panels from us without having the time to shop….”
The conversation, as you can imagine went in circles.
Some highlights of the conversation from yours truly:
“But surely with that new thing, um, I think they call it the internet… you could look up my house. Yeah, it’s this company nobody ever heard of named Google. They can show my house on a map and stuff.”
“Wait on here a second, hoss, I’m thinking I need a 5 kilowatt system. Would that cost more or less than $20,000?”
You get the idea.
Nothing I could offer would get our pal to let on how much it would cost to get PV installed on my roof before the “closer” came to hotbox me in the living room…
This problem, unfortunately, is not isolated to your friendly neighborhood felon telemarketer…
Why Don’t Solar Installers Tell You Their Prices On the Website?
Unfortunately, many solar installers, from San Diego all the way up to San Francisco and beyond, suffer from the “Car Lot” mentality.
You’ve seen their ads in the newspaper:
“Solar Installed for under $5,000!”
“For two weeks only, we’ll pay your permitting fees!”
Their websites, of course, give you no information as to the current prices – they want go get the closer in front of you – which is a goshdarn shame, because…
If you didn’t go solar a few years ago because it didn’t make good dollars and cents, you may not realize how much cheaper solar has become.
The average cost of a solar electric system in California has plummeted since the California Solar Initiative (CSI) started in 2007 –
Which means what exactly?
Back in the dark ages, CSI’s website reported that the average home solar installation in California was 4 kilowatts and cost $34,800.
(So, no wonder it was only hippies and tree huggers going solar a few years ago…)
Do you want to know what it costs now?
$4 to $6 per watt.
That means that a 4-Kw system costs $16,000 to $24,000 (before all those slamming tax credits and rebates).
Tax Credit and Rebates?
But don’t screw around… here’s why
On our ultimate list of California solar incentives, you might notice that incentives are on the decline…
And that 30% federal tax rebate?
Supposedly, that rebate is set to turn into a pumpkin at the end of 2016.
Remember our $16k to $24k system?
After that Federal rebate – let’s say you’re all successful and stuff, so you have a tax bill – with a 28% marginal tax rate that makes the effective cost from $11,520 to $17,280.
Figuring Out the Cost of Solar for Your Home
Does it sound like a lot to spend the equivalent of a Korean car to put some Chinese solar panels on your roof?
It’s really not, for a few reasons:
1. You don’t have to pay in cash (or bitcoins)
Welcome to America… if you have a habit of paying your bills, your friendly neighborhood solar panel installer will be happy to present you with financing options.
Just like the cost has gotten cheaper over the years, the financing has gotten better, so after you solar up your roof, you may find that you’re simply switching to a lower payment.
2. You won’t have to wait for the next shoe to drop
Last summer, I got this friendly letter from my esteemed power provider:
As one of the only Government sanctioned monopolies, we’re happy to inform you that you have no choice other than to send us money if you’d like to use a lamp or air conditioner.
We have to beg the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) to let us punk you, but bully for us, since we have enough money to grease politicians and you can barely afford groceries.
When you receive your next electric bill, we want to assure you that your eyesight isn’t going – you really will be paying 30% more than you did last year for the same thing, even as commodity prices have plummeted.
ummm… yeah. Just go solar. Really.
3. Solar Panels are like silicone and collagen if you want to sell
Adding a solar system to your home boosts its value. According to a U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory report, installing solar panels can add $15,000 to your home’s selling price if you ever decide to put it on the market.
And just like that plastic surgery could get you a job (or a partner) faster, homes with solar installed sell faster too – studies have shown that homes with solar installed sell faster and for more money.
Are you still reading? Shouldn’t you be getting a quote for solar by now? You like money, right?
Click below where it says “Click Me” and get in touch with some cool cats who will give you the info.