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Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

Wondering about a great new energy-saving device
you found on the Internet? Then CLICK HERE!

Sorry. Jeff no longer answers questions online.
This will remain as a searchable
resource for all BHM website visitors.



 

Grants for solar

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Where might I find information about free grants to install solar panels or an inexpensive way to finance the installation of the solar panels?

Thanks.

Misty Brice

Misty:

I receive many emails like this and you will not like my answer. Solar is expensive, and some countries like Germany provide very heavy “buy downs” to make it affordable there. Some states like California and New Jersey have their own version of solar rebates, and some utilities that are having problems meeting higher demands are even offering some form of solar rebates.

Unfortunately, although most of these started with very good intentions, after a few years they become so plugged up with added forms, additional inspections, insurance requirements, and more overhead that most installers just raise their prices to a level that totally offsets any price reduction benefit.

I believe the market will adjust supply with demand and establish a fair pricing level for all, but again, this is hard to do when some areas of the international market is not playing by the same rules.

There is some form of “Energy Office” in every state and they would be able to help you if there are grants available where you live. I suggest staying away from those out there promising to “Lease” or some other form of time payments, as most of these are tax related arrangements that heavily favor them, not you.

For example, in these third party arrangements, the “leasor” could lease a solar system that is installed on your house, you pay them a big cash down payment and so much a month,then they default at the bank where they borrowed the money to buy the solar system, then the bank sends somebody to your house and rips it off your roof, and sometimes they are not too concerned about plugging any holes they leave behind.

If you can’t afford solar then perhaps you should not buy at this time.  As an alternative, many solar systems are “modular” and if you start with the right basic hardware, you can add the more expensive solar modules a few at a time as you have the funds.

Good luck,

Jeff Yago

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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