In recent years solar photovoltaic panels (panels that produce electricity rather than heat for the home) have gotten both less expensive and more efficient. This means
that each watt of power costs less. Even in the cloudy Pacific Northwest, panels wring more energy out of days without direct sunshine and pay dividends
More residential homeowners can go green while saving money on power bills. Systems that feed power from your panels into the grid lower your own power bill. They also reduce
the fuel burned in conventional power plants.
Concerned about the costs up front? Do home solar in a businesslike way!
More businesses have gotten the cost savings of solar power in partnerships with solar companies. Now homeowners can make the same savings, as companies open up the same deals to them. Residential customers can get leases and power purchase agreements just like the big boys; Typical savings are in the twenty percent range. Each company’s agreements differ, but in general, they lay out like this;
Solar leases provide a solar electric system that you essentially rent. The company maintains a system, a homeowner pays a monthly rental, and the electricity generated counts against residential power bill. Leases are usually for 20 years and may work like an automobile lease, where the homeowner can end up owning the system. This option compounds power bill savings with added property value.
Power purchase agreements are used more by business and involve paying for the actual power produced on the roof. The amount payed by the property owner depends on the actual electricity produced each month. The savings are the difference between amount charged by the power utility and the rate paid to the solar company.
Either way, the buyout option may be available, turning the lease into a great investment, both for the power bill savings and the increased home value.