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It's far cheaper to buy the system....

Our ROI on the last system is only a little over 5 years. I just paid for it from our home equity credit line. The savings on the electric bill is double the cost of the payment. After 5 years, we have no electric bill and no payment

These free deals are expensive financing scams, IMO. They put in the solar for free and they get a 30% discount on the tax credit up front. Then, they give you a guaranteed rate with a reduction from your current bill. However, they're designing the system to cover the bill and charging you a reduced rate for power for 20 years. Over time, it will cost you at least twice as much as buying it and you'll still be paying for power long after you would have paid off the system.

All systems are grid tied. Batteries add a lot of cost, require maintenance and aren't reliable in the long term or even in the short term. For example, if you get a week of clouds and rain, the system won't produce enough power to charge the batteries fully to provide power at night.

You also don't get two bills for power. With net metering, the system runs the meter backward when you produce more than you use and then, the meter goes forward when the system isn't producing enough. At the end of the month, you get a bill for the net usage or a credit for excess power. Monthly, you don't have to pay the bill. It doesn't become due until your annual 'True Up' date. At that time, the net usage versus the credits are totaled up and you can pay once a year.

In our case, we rack up credits from April to October. Those offset usage in winter. Sometimes, I'll pay a $100 in November, December and January which about covers our annual net usage or I can just pay once on the True Up date in May.

BTW: A friend of ours took one of those free solar deals and is now complaining that he's still paying the same amount on his bill. I tried to tell him.

-Rod


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