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Question DetailsAsked on 8/27/2014

Is it wise to get "free" solar panels and then pay for the energy?

Multiple companies are offering to install the panels free of charge with maintenance as their responsibility. We the pay for the energy that should lower our electric bill substantially.

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2 Answers


You already pay the electric company for energy don't you? If they are maintaining the solar panels for free then you are not buying the panels or the electricity; you are leasing the panels. You can purchase a system if you have the cash and not have to worry about paying monthly at all. Free installation does not mean free solar panels. You pay for the solar system on your roof. That solar system is generating energy for your use and since you are using green energy you can get SRECs(solar renewable energy credits), which you can then sell back to electric companies through a broker. So, you pay for the use of the panels (just like you do when you lease a car) not the energy, and you can get a lower electric bill and possibly extra income from the sale of the SRECs (unless the company you leased from keeps them instead of allowing the customer to have them). The sale of the SRECs can almost offset the cost of the lease payment if you get a good price for them.

Answered 6 years ago by LoriS


Following are a few similar or related questions which might be of interest to you - others in the Home - Solar Power category in Browse Projects, at lower left. Bear in mind there is no free lunch, so if it sounds too good to be true it usually is. Common hidden factors in this type of deal are lease terms with very high interest rates, them providing the panels but no guarantee on roof not leaking after installation (and they have to be taken of to redo roofing down the road), them providing panels but then stopping halfway through and saying you have to pay more to reinforce your roof to carry them, not providing the expensive switching and load center equipment needed to integrate it with your commercial power, overly optimistic estimates of the amount of power they will generate, generally YOU have to wash them off frequently to prevent power loss due to dust accumulation, etc.

Bear in mind that if the power was worth so much and the panels were such a great deal, instead of piece-mealing a little install here and a little one there, would they not be buying local land and installing fields of panels in a solar farm ? This is commonly sort of like the guys (or gals) going around giving "free" seminars and selling their how-to-get-rich-quick programs - if it worked so well, they would be billionaries by now and off in Tahiti surfing, not trying to sell you their program, wouldn't they ?

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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