Monday, March 01, 2010

Free Solar Panels

This is probably old news for most folks, but if you haven't heard, you can get free solar panels. Not "free" free, but essentially free.

The program is offered by SolarCity. The exact terms, as far as I can tell, are dependent on what state you live in. In Oregon, SolarCity offers a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that they call Pure Power. SolarCity installs the panels for free, and they collect all of the government tax breaks. They own the solar panels, and they do all of the necessary maintenance. Each month, you pay for the amount of electricity your system produced (presumably, if you produced more than you can use, you'd be able sell your excess to the power company). The amount you pay is equivalent to the amount charged by the local power company. Thus, they calculate that if I owned my place and were to go with the Pure Power program, my payment would be roughly $30 a month. Free installation, free maintenance, and a renewable source of energy for only $30 a month? And, since this is offsetting $30 worth of electricity from my current bill, I'd essentially be getting them for free. Sounds like a good deal to me.

These agreements last 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, you have several options. You can either buy the system from SolarCity (not sure on the actual cost for this route). Or, you can have them upgrade you to the newest solar technology for free, and sign you on for another 10 years.

I'm looking at possibly buying a small house after I graduate, assuming I have the work to pay for it. I've definitely been looking at cost effective ways that I'll be able to "green" it, both for the environment's sake, and for my wallet's.

I'll write soon about some of the other information I've found.

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