The Truth About Free Solar Panels – Are Free Solar Panels a Scam?

FREE SOLAR PANELS SCAM OR NOT?

You have probably seen advertisements that say “Free Solar Panels” or “Pay $0 for Solar Panels and Installation”. If you are one of the skeptics out there who thinks this sounds like a scam, this article may help you to understand what customers are actually getting when they sign up for no cost solar panels and installation.

In a nutshell, if  you choose a power purchase agreement (PPA), like our RateGuardian(TM) PPA, or a solar lease, we will put solar panels on your roof for no money down (free) but you will not own the system. We will design and install what is essentially a mini power station on your roof or on your property at no cost to you and then sell you the electricity it produces at a lower rate than what your utility company charges you.

Large, national solar companies offer PPAs and leases too but their agreements usually include a rate escalator so although your rate will initially be lower, your electricity costs will still rise. The difference between the large solar chains and independently owned and operated Solar Energy World is that our company gives you a choice of a fixed rate or an option with an escalator. Depending upon the option you choose your rate should be at least 20% lower than what you paid for electricity before going solar.

Since never-ending utility rate hikes are a fact of life, this is considered a no-brainer for homeowners on a budget because essentially they pay absolutely nothing to lower their energy bills.

Is leasing a solar system or going with a PPA better than owning one?

Solar leases and PPAs are a wonderful option because they make it possible for almost any homeowner to go solar, even if they do not have any cash to purchase a system.  However, many homeowners have found it is more beneficial financially for them to own their solar system because they can see a substantial return on investment.

If a homeowner decides to buy a system they not only save on energy costs as soon as the system is operational, but they also begin to generate profits from the excess energy their system produces and can take advantage of tax credits and grants. Plus they can sell their SRECs (solar renewable energy credits) to earn even more income. In fact, on average a purchased home solar system generates a 125% return on investment in 5-7 years. By year 20, homeowners are earning a 500% return on investment.

Many of Solar Energy World’s customers who own their solar system now pay $0 for their electricity due to the ROI it provides. To see video testimonials of homeowners who purchased a solar system and now have a net zero energy homes, click here.

It’s also less difficult to purchase a solar system then many people think it would be. Buying a solar system is similar to purchasing a car. Most people do not pay cash for a car and most people do not pay cash for a solar system. Solar Energy World offers financing for purchase including an option where a customer can go solar for $0 down and just have low monthly payments.

The difference is that a car’s value depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot. A solar system starts going up in value as soon as it is online.

Most of Solar Energy World’s customers own their solar energy systems, primarily because we have been in business since 2009 and we just began offering the PPA in 2015. However the number of homeowners who are deciding to go with our PPA is growing quickly because they don’t have to put any money down to begin saving immediately.  Plus if they ever decide to sell their home they will benefit because on average solar panels increase a home’s resale value by almost $6000 per installed Kilowatt.

The bottom line is there might be a free solar panel scam lurking out there, but it isn’t coming from any reputable solar company like ours.

If you would like to know if your home is eligible for solar or if you qualify for a PPA, Lease or Purchase with financing, go HERE or request a free, no obligation solar evaluation by filling out the form below. The detailed evaluation you will receive includes a cost benefit analysis so you will have all the facts to help you decide whether going solar is right for you and which financial option would benefit you the most.

Fill out the form below to learn if you qualify for solar. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Do You Really Get Enough Sun for Solar?

How your roof’s azimuth angle effects solar panel efficiency.

There is a lot more that goes into what makes a roof ideal for a solar panel system than most homeowners realize. Even if you believe you have enough sunlight hitting your roof to go solar, we may still determine it does not. Although your home may have sunlight that hits a section of your roof at particular hours of the day, it’s possible it may not produce enough electricity due to its azimuth. The wrong azimuth angle reduces the energy output of a solar panel array down to 35%.

Your roof’s azimuth, or it’s orientation relative to magnetic North, and it’s slope, or tilt, determines how much sun you can collect over the course of a year. A South-facing roof will receive more sun than a roof facing any other direction, and a flatter tilted roof will generally produce more than a steep one. The same goes for your property if you are interested in a ground mounted system. The physical size of the system is governed by your roof’s dimensions. Once we know that, we can determine how many panels your roof will actually fit. Solar panels are rated in Watts, just like your light bulbs, except in the case of solar panels, they produce, rather than consume, electricity.

Solar energy production is based on the panel size multiplied by the number of sun hours your roof receives. Solar panel dimensions are, on average, about 3’ by 5’. However, the power rating of panels can range from 250W to over 320W each, based on size and brand. The amount of electrical energy that a system produces over the course of a year is called kilowatt-hours, or kWh (the same unit that’s on your electric bill), and it is determined by the power of the array in kiloWatts (1000W=1kW), and the number of hours your roof or property receives full sun, as discussed above.

In general,  a one kilowatt of solar panels produces about 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year. So the total size of the system will be based on the number of solar panels required to produce enough electricity to equal or exceed your power usage. For example, if you use 20,000 kWh a year (from your electric bill), you’ll need a system that is roughly 20kW to meet your needs.

Sadly, some companies will still sell solar panel systems to homeowners that will not produce enough sunlight to offset the cost of a system – thus making the system extremely expensive and inefficient. However, Solar Energy World will never do that. We prefer to install fewer solar systems that will actually save money for our customers, to installing solar systems to anyone who asks us.  We want what we install to work at the optimum level for our customers. Our integrity is one of the main reasons why we are the fastest growing, locally owned solar panel system design and installation company in Maryland.

Do Solar Panels Still Work When It’s Raining?

How Rain Effects Solar Electricity Production

Contrary to popular belief, when it’s raining, solar power systems still generate electricity. Panels operate most efficiently in full sun, but they don’t stop producing electricity when it is raining or cloudy.  The fact is, visible light still gets through rain and clouds. We can all see that the sky isn’t completely dark when it rains. Infrared light gets through cloud and rain even more easily.  Almost everyone has gotten a sunburn on a cloudy day before. In fact, sunburns can be more severe on cloudy days. This provides more evidence that solar panels work even when it’s cloudy.The best evidence that solar still works on rainy days came from one of our Facebook fans recently. He let us know how much power his system was producing during cloudy, rainy weather. “Rain coming and very overcast. Solar system still generating almost 2kw! We generated 86% of our needed electricity yesterday. Thanks Solar Energy World!” – Mark L. via Facebook

If solar only worked in sunny areas, places like Germany wouldn’t be producing 20-30% of all its energy daily from solar power. New Jersey and Massachusetts aren’t nearly as sunny as California or Arizona yet New Jersey now ranks 3rd in the country for solar capacity and Massachusetts ranks 4th. 

Clouds don’t stop the solar UV rays from getting through and power production from photo-voltaic solar panels actually works most efficiently in colder temperatures. (Optimum temperature for power production is around 43 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Solar installation companies still need to make sure they are following best practices when quoting potential return on investment to customers.  At Solar Energy World we know that energy output goes down when the sun is not shining brightly so when we provide homeowners with a detailed cost/benefit analysis we take rainy days into account based on the region’s historical data.  This way a homeowner will know what to expect and will have realistic expectations of the savings and/or profits their home solar system will generate.

If you are thinking about going solar yourself, please fill out the form on this page for a free solar evaluation, or click on the limited time special offer message shown on this page.