Alternative Energy

Published on October 13th, 2010 | by amandatallman

Did You Know You Can Get Free Solar on Your Home in Eight US States?

There are now at least eight states in the US where you can get a free solar system to supply your home’s electricity at a lower rate than your utility does. These eight states allow private companies to compete with their utilities that sell power by the kilowatt hour, through a “lease” or a power purchase agreement, or PPA.

The three companies that stepped in to offer these $0 down options are Solar City (OR, CA,TX), SunRun (CA, AZ, CO, NJ, MA) and Gro Solar (PA, CA). Sungevity also offers yet another PPA, providing yet a third option for Californians.

Typically, the way they do this is to find investors or banks who will front the money for a large number of installations, and they own the system, so you don’t have to apply for a bank loan to put solar on your roof.

Once installed on your roof, you either make lease payments or just pay monthly for electricity by the kilowatt hour, the same way you pay your current electric utility.

Companies offering leases or PPAs can in many cases offer $0 down. You get a free solar system and start paying a lower monthly rate than before.

Image: Pinn Brothers Pinn

A housing development in California uses solar power

Once installed, then your total monthly electricity costs (any residual utility payment, plus lease or PPA payment for solar electricity) is lower from the first month, and the savings increase over time.

The limitations are simply that you must own the home, and have a good enough roof with enough sun access, and not be in foreclosure or behind in making payments on your mortgage. In states with tiered rates, like California, if you use a lot of electricity, now, the savings are much higher. Someone with a $500 bill now could save almost $200,000 over 18 years.

But every case is different. If you use very little electricity or have too much shade, the savings picture is different. Typically you need sunny roof spaces totaling about 20 feet by 10 feet in the sunshine states, and a larger area in the Northeast, but all the variables for you can be easily determined by the solar estimate by the company responsible for the solar system.

Because these companies are responsible for the system’s performance, it’s their dime. It is up to them to make the power they contract for. And the estimate is free.

If you live in one of these states the cost barrier to solar power just collapsed.

More: Solar energy facts.

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16 Responses to Did You Know You Can Get Free Solar on Your Home in Eight US States?

  1. Please send all information regarding free solar enegy help from the government or other sources. My you have a great day.

  2. Rachel says:

    Make Green IT a priority by implementing power management policies To save the world.

  3. S Moker says:

    I’ve looked at companies trying to implement this but have not seen it running successfully yet. It seems like a great model.

  4. jennifer says:

    And if you don’t live in a state that’s offering these amazing solar panel deals, there are still lots of solar-powered products you can use in and around your home. Here’s an article my co-worker wrote on an array of different solar-powered products, from home water heaters to a solar-powered cell phone charger.

  5. Paul says:

    If my bill is $500/mo now, how am I going to be able to save $200,000 over 18 years? $500/month times 18 years is $108,000. Now I know inflation will increase the cost of utilities over time but be realistic here. By throwing out outrageously inflated numbers like this, the credibility of your publication becomes questionable.

  6. Julie says:

    Its amazing idea to save energy ..i hope it works beyond imagination.

  7. GINNA says:

    I wish we were in the area.I’d like to investigate this avenue.
    Thank you,your article was very intersting

  8. Alice says:

    No money down does not mean free

  9. cindy says:

    so helpful to know but sadly i’m not in the specified ones. i love your blog. so great. always learn something here. xoxoxo

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  11. ira mency says:

    I so want to move to one of these states. Waiting for every state to incorporate this!

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  14. THOMAS W. says:

    I would love to have my home powered by solar power & or windpower.
    In the state of Miss the government does not give any thought in helping with these power units they prefure to spend millions on a nucular plants than spend our moneys to help the MISS.CITIZENS.

  15. stephen mcdonough says:

    need more info. does this effect home equity loans? refinance? how does system work?

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