Are you interested in lowering your monthly bills, having predictable bills, hedging against increasing electric rates, saving money in the long run, helping the environment, increasing the value of your home, planning on consuming more electricity (e.g. purchasing an electric vehicle), or all of these? LA Solar Group starts with understanding your goals to ensure that our recommendations and solutions help you achieve them.
Current consumption and payments
Rate plans and consumption pattern
Roof space and orientation
Electric Main Panel
Incentives and Rebates
Warranties and guarantees
The quality of a company’s warranties and guarantees signifies the company’s confidence, willingness, and ability to stand behind its work.
The details of the Warranties and Guarantees are very important – the terms, the support process, inclusion of replacement parts and labor, and other specifics should be known up front and be included in the total system offering and price considerations.
The guarantees and warranties a company offers is relatively less important than a company’s ability to honor them until the end of their terms; after all, what good is the “best” warranty if the company is not there to honor it? Warranties and Guarantees from a stable reputable company will provide you peace of mind and, from a financial perspective, allow for determining the “carrying cost” of the system. This “carrying cost” should ideally be zero. The higher this “carrying cost,” the longer the payback period becomes since each repair bill will eat away at the savings generated by your solar system.
LA Solar Group’s Warranties and Guarantees are one of the best of in the industry and from a growing and reputable company. Additionally, our competitive prices results in shorter payback periods and reducing your risk reliance on company longevity.
Once satisfied that Going Solar is the right choice, most our customer’s next biggest consideration was choosing the installer. These are the traits most often sought: integrity, reputation, quality, price, choice, warranty, in-house expertise, support, and relationship. We, at LA Solar Group, have built our business from the customer’s viewpoint and needs. We are not interested in “selling” you a solar system – we want to provide you with a solution that meets your goals and needs.
In addition to considerations, our customers, naturally, had “what if” questions and concerns about Going Solar.
Future Price Decline
Although the cost of solar systems has been dropping, and may continue to drop, the question is how much will the price drop and how quickly. Since the total system cost is comprised primarily of material and labor, it is possible that the material cost may see future price declines but the cost of labor will probably not see much decline going forward unless more efficient means are developed to reduce installation labor (and this is actively being worked on by LA Solar Group and the industry at-large).
If prices decline but incentives decline at similar rates, the net cost will remain essentially the same.
If prices decline or remain the same, but the utility electric rates increase, then the “effective” system cost declines since the energy generated has increased in value.
The sooner the system is in operation and is generating energy, the quicker the savings will start to offset the costs.
Considering the above points, unless the future anticipated cost decline will be greater than the savings realized from a producing system at current cost during the same “waiting period,” then waiting for a future price decline may not be beneficial.
Today, almost all technology and products are constantly advancing and being upgraded. The most relevant technology advance related to Solar is the conversion efficiency from sunlight to electricity.
Currently, the most efficient mass produced residential solar cells have efficiency ratios in the low 20% range; the highest efficiency recently obtained from silicon based cells is about 26%; the maximum theoretical efficiency of silicon based cells is about 29%; and the most efficient solar cells, of any technology, is about 46% efficient. [source: NREL] Although the range between the low 20’s to the high 20’s (theoretical high for silicon based cells) is not much, the price difference between the two is relatively high, especially for residential applications. Therefore, at a high level, current technology and products will not be “obsolesced” in the near future when higher prices of the “newer” products are considered.
Aside from efficiency, other advances could be in the areas of form factor (e.g. solar roof tiles, flexible solar panels), or aesthetics (e.g. all black or frame-less panels). But, as is usual for any new product, there is a time lag between introduction and the design, installation, and support expertise to develop in the field resulting in increased prices and risk.
Ultimately, deciding not to “Go Solar” since something better may come out tomorrow is a personal choice. In practicality, though, waiting may not be warranted based on the same reasoning as that described in the “Future Price Decline” section, above. The longer you wait for an uncertain future, the less time your current system has to generate electricity and provide benefits.
Expiration/Decrease of Federal Tax Credit
As of 2017, The Federal solar tax credit (Investment Tax Credit – ITC) allows the homeowner to claim a federal tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of an installed solar system. Please consult your tax adviser regarding income tax credit eligibility. This is a tremendous benefit. For residential homeowners, the credit will reduce from the current level of 30%, to 26% in 2020, and to 22% in 2021. So, although the credit, and one of the biggest incentives to Go Solar, will decrease over time, the timetable is known – allowing you to make an informed decision. Choosing to wait is hedging that prices will drop more than the combination of the reduction of ITC and the loss of value of energy generation if the system was installed today.