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Solar Energy for ZERO OUT-OF-POCKET – What are my Options?

by R. Sail Van Nostrand

We often hear, ‘I’d rather lease because it’s Zero out-of-pocket.’ blog straight story TOP 10That’s a bit of a misnomer, so we’d like to set the story straight.

 

ZERO OUT-OF-POCKET can be achieved in one of several ways:

A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) is a contract in which someone else owns the equipment and you agree to pay them for the energy delivered at a preset cost intended to be lower than your current cost of electricity. PPAs come in both fixed rates or escalating rates, each for 20 years. Federal Tax Credits are taken by the owner of the equipment and the New York Tax Credit is taken by the homeowner. This model can result in savings but does not yield a fixed payment schedule and often payments will escalate over the 20 years. Often annual energy output is not guaranteed.

 

A lease is a contract in which someone else owns the equipment and you agree to pay a fixed monthly fee for the use of the equipment. The energy is yours to use to offset your utility bill. The equipment owner (the leasing company) gets the Federal Tax Credit and the homeowner gets the New York State Tax Credit. The monthly lease payment is the same regardless of how much energy is produced each month. Annual production guarantees are the sign of a ‘good lease’. Some leases start with a lower monthly cost, but have annual escalation; other leases have a fixed monthly payment, each have a 20 year term.

 

solar_incentiveOften times purchasing a solar electric system yields the largest savings. Financing is readily available for homeowner for zero out-of-pocket. Monthly payments are typically similar to the monthly payments of a lease with loan terms between 10 and 15 years (lease term is typically 20 years). A well-designed purchase solution should yield immediate monthly savings (like a lease) with payments lasting only 10 to 15 years, resulting in much larger overall savings than the lease. All Tax Credits come back to the homeowner and can be financed at no interest and no payments for a year to allow the customer ample time to file their tax return and receive their tax credit money. Some purchases with financing options can be found with system performance guarantees as well.

 

For the customer with the ability to purchase a solar electric system outright with their own funds, zero interest and zero payment bridge loans are available for the tax credits, and these projects yield the highest savings as they have no finance interest involved and return on investment often approaches 10%.

 

Typical costs associated with each form of solar electric acquisition are:

PSEG: 19₵ per kilowatt hour (kwh) currently
PPA: 14₵ – 15₵ per kwh plus escalators (usually 2.99% yearly escalation)
LEASE: 16₵ – 17₵ per kwh fixed
FINANCED: 9₵ – 10₵ per kwh fixed
PURCHASE: 8₵ – 9₵ per kwh fixed

What happens to my solar when it snows?

Bruce Howard – Energy by Choice Your solar panels capture light and convert that light into clean  power for your home. Even on a snowy day there is light to be captured and while there may not be as much light as a completely sunny day your system will be generating power. It is not… Continue Reading

Solar Industry on Long Island ~ Good News and Bad News

UPDATE:  GREAT NEWS!!  AS OF 12/18/15 10:45AM, THE SOLAR INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT HAS BEEN EXTENDED! The good news is:The Federal Tax Credit is slated to be Extended! One of the main credits that makes solar more affordable to purchase is the Solar Investment Tax Credit.  It is worth 30% of the job to the customer. … Continue Reading

COP21 climate change summit: Obama ‘optimistic’ about agreement

By Holly Yan, Ben Brumfield and Michael Pearson, CNN,  Wed December 2, 2015 (CNN)The introductions and formalities are over. Now, it’s crunch time to get a deal on what U.S. President Barack Obama calls an “ambitious” global climate change agreement. Leaders of 150 nations are in the second day of the COP21 conference Tuesday. COP stands… Continue Reading

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Solar power is more affordable than ever. Choosing solar is now available to everyone. Many financing options are available, whether you purchase or lease, and various tax incentives and rebates also help cut the cost. Electricity prices rise over time. Paying the utility company is never a pleasant experience, especially when the expense only grows over… Continue Reading

An Unwavering Climate Message from Pope Francis

Pope Francis concluded his visit to America, which included speeches to both Congress and the UN’s General Assembly addressing inequality, poverty and climate change. Two years after he took over as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis is driving home the message which will surely define his papacy: start taking care of the planet.… Continue Reading

ON-BILL RECOVERY FINANCING SLATED TO CHANGE

The GJGNY (Green Jobs Green New York) residential revolving loan fund has filled a gap in the market for residential energy efficiency and PV loans for several years. The availability of the expanded loan offered through GJGNY has enabled households who cannot qualify for traditional lending to participate in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.… Continue Reading

Long Island’s Solar Energy Industry Booming ~ Newsday ~ 10/16/15

Long Island’s Solar Energy Industry Booming ~ Newsday, 10/16/15 “Sail Van Nostrand, owner of Energy By Choice, said system prices are down 15 percent to 20 percent over the past three years, to between $30,000 and $35,000 for a 10-kilowatt system. Most residential solar installations are for systems between 5 and 10 kilowatts, or 5,000 and… Continue Reading

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Mike’s Long-Term Savings are Incredible!

December 17, 2015December 17, 2015
solar story icon for news pageOur customer Mike came to us through a referral.  He's one of a few neighbors that were looking into solar together. Massapequa Park 9810 Mazol 12 15Mike's system was installed a week ago, and it should be covering all of his PSEG bill.  His system will be producing 10,968 kilo watt hours of electricity for him yearly.  His effective cost of energy will be about 7 cents, a fraction of the 22 cents he's been paying PSEG.  And his 25-year savings number is just under $119,000 dollars.  Money not sent to the utility = money in Mike's pocket.  Awesome!

Just finished!

November 12, 2015November 12, 2015
3 guys on roofOur team just finished working on Michael and Susan's solar PV system in Levittown. solar story icon for news page The 15,369 watts that went up should produce over 16,500 kilo watt hours of electricity for them. That means they'll be saving over $3,400 yearly, that's almost $300 in their pocket every month.     Sweet.                

Carl’s system will save him $3,460 this year!

October 28, 2015October 28, 2015

Carl's system will save him $3,460 this year!

Babylon 12753 Tedeschi 8 15Babylon, NY ~ Energy By Choice installed this beautiful 12.753 kilo watt system for our customer Carl.  Carl's system will save him $3,460 this year!solar story icon for news page

Carl has chosen to finance his system, so his immediate savings are $70 a month from what he was previously paying PSEG.

Once his system is paid off, he will be saving about $300 a month.

His savings started immediately and will continue to grow over the long life of the system.

In addition to having more money in his pocket, by putting this solar system up the ecological savings are the equivalent of Carl planting 4 acres of trees.  Saving the planet....saving money....one solar story at a time.  [view more installs]

Long Island’s Solar Energy Industry Booming ~ Newsday ~ 10/16/15

October 19, 2015October 19, 2015
imagejpeg_0Long Island’s Solar Energy Industry Booming ~Newsday, 10/16/15 Sail Van Nostrand, owner of Energy By Choice, said system prices are down 15 percent to 20 percent over the past three years, to between $30,000 and $35,000 for a 10-kilowatt system. Most residential solar installations are for systems between 5 and 10 kilowatts, or 5,000 and 10,000 watts, respectively, with the intention of reducing a PSEG energy bill to just about zero. Tax credits and other incentives cut the cost nearly in half, and low-interest loans cover the balance, greatly reducing or eliminating customers’ upfront costs…. read Newsday's feature

Commercial Project Complete

October 13, 2015October 13, 2015
Our team spent the latter part of August on the roof of Delta Computers in Farmingdale installing over 500 SunPower 327 watt panels.  The install went meticulously and the final outcome is quite spectacular. delta best crop

Energy By Choice at Fall Festival in Huntington, Oct 10-11 2015

October 13, 2015
This weekend, Energy by Choice will have a booth at Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington. We'd love to see you - October 10-11 11am-6pm. Come learn about solar for your home.  Speak with the owners. fallfestival