Solar PPAs Are Freakin Brilliant

I’ve long been impressed with the potential of solar panels, specifically for residential use. Mrs. Guru and I are planning on purchasing a house later this year, and solar panels are definitely on my ‘to investigate’ list. We live in North Texas – we get PLENTY of direct sunlight out here, and I really think solar energy would be a great investment. However, from what I’ve gathered, it’s still prohibitively expensive for most homeowners to install solar panels on their roof, or to have them installed.

Enter the Solar PPA (power purchasing agreement). This financing option allows you to get solar panels on your home with little or no out-of-pocket costs, and still help the environment and save money, all at the same time. Here’s how it works:

You sign up with a company, who comes out and installs the solar panels on your roof. They do some in-depth analysis to determine your potential solar generating ability, and work out a deal where you purchase the power generated by these solar panels – the ones on your roof – from this company, at cheaper rates than you would pay the regular power company.

The solar company, such as SolarCity or SunRun, gets their reimbursement from you, as well as from filing for government subsidies on your behalf. After a number of years, you own the panels outright and are able to nearly eliminate your power bill, depending on your area and the like. You can read a full account at KK.org’s Cool Tools post.

Solar energy is a great example of technology enriching and enabling our real lives. It’s always around us, and can be generated without needing to bring your own fuel around. In areas of wide-open skies like Texas, it’s a brilliant way to save the environment and save some money, too. I’m really glad to see some creative pricing structures in place to help more consumers be able to benefit from solar power.

  • http://twitter.com/s_constantine Stefan Constantinescu

    So are you going to get them, or is that something the OHA of your neighborhood would say no to since they’re a bit … ugly.

  • http://twitter.com/s_constantine Stefan Constantinescu

    So are you going to get them, or is that something the OHA of your neighborhood would say no to since they’re a bit … ugly.

  • Texrat

    Thanks for the info. On the surface this looks good, but the details are showstoppers. I followed the other article’s link and filled out an estimate. The good news is I could possibly save $74 per month off my current bill– and with the current weather I can believe it. BUT– I would have to pay ~$400 per month, for a system ultimately costing more than my house did, to do so.

    Not cost-effective.

    Now, I’m a diehard greenie but one with a deep practical streak. These systems have to come way down in price to be truly useful. In fact I daresay it’s largely a nonstarter until there’s a net financial benefit.

    My estimate link: http://us.sunpowercorp.com/estimator/results.php#eyJzdHJlZXRBZGRyZXNzIjoiMzI0IG5hdmFqbyBkcml2ZSIsImNpdHkiOiJLZWxsZXIiLCJzdGF0ZSI6IlRYIiwiemlwIjoiNzYyNDgiLCJhdmVyYWdlTW9udGhseUJpbGwiOiIxOTAuMDAiLCJsb2FuVHlwZSI6IlNlY3VyZWQgTG9hbiIsImRvd25QYXltZW50IjoiMCIsImxvYW5MaWZlIjoiMjUiLCJsb2FuUmF0ZSI6IjMiLCJzbG9wZSI6IjIwIiwiZGlyZWN0aW9uIjoiMCIsIm9mZnNldCI6Ijc1In0=

  • http:tabulacrypticum.wordpress.com Texrat

    Thanks for the info. On the surface this looks good, but the details are showstoppers. I followed the other article’s link and filled out an estimate. The good news is I could possibly save $74 per month off my current bill– and with the current weather I can believe it. BUT– I would have to pay ~$400 per month, for a system ultimately costing more than my house did, to do so.

    Not cost-effective.

    Now, I’m a diehard greenie but one with a deep practical streak. These systems have to come way down in price to be truly useful. In fact I daresay it’s largely a nonstarter until there’s a net financial benefit.

    My estimate link: http://us.sunpowercorp.com/estimator/results.php#eyJzdHJlZXRBZGRyZXNzIjoiMzI0IG5hdmFqbyBkcml2ZSIsImNpdHkiOiJLZWxsZXIiLCJzdGF0ZSI6IlRYIiwiemlwIjoiNzYyNDgiLCJhdmVyYWdlTW9udGhseUJpbGwiOiIxOTAuMDAiLCJsb2FuVHlwZSI6IlNlY3VyZWQgTG9hbiIsImRvd25QYXltZW50IjoiMCIsImxvYW5MaWZlIjoiMjUiLCJsb2FuUmF0ZSI6IjMiLCJzbG9wZSI6IjIwIiwiZGlyZWN0aW9uIjoiMCIsIm9mZnNldCI6Ijc1In0=

  • http://www.rickycadden.com/ Ricky

    @stefan not sure, haven’t bought our house yet

  • http://www.rickycadden.com Ricky

    @stefan not sure, haven’t bought our house yet

  • http://www.rickycadden.com/ Ricky

    Interesting – as I understood it, while you didn’t really save much for the first X years, you didn’t have to pay anything monthly, above your own energy bills. Either way, I’m curious if the long-term benefits would outweigh the drawbacks, assuming you kept the house long enough.

    I’m definitely excited to see residential solar panels get cheaper and more practical, as I think, if every house had them installed, it would be a HUGE benefit to the environment.

  • http://www.rickycadden.com Ricky

    Interesting – as I understood it, while you didn’t really save much for the first X years, you didn’t have to pay anything monthly, above your own energy bills. Either way, I’m curious if the long-term benefits would outweigh the drawbacks, assuming you kept the house long enough.

    I’m definitely excited to see residential solar panels get cheaper and more practical, as I think, if every house had them installed, it would be a HUGE benefit to the environment.

  • http://antoinerjwright.com/ ARJWright

    Really good stuff here Ricky. If I were in the homeownership role, I’d be looking at doing that. As it is, I’m slightly more north, and my solar adventures are more attached to my auto/bicycling endeavors XD

  • http://antoinerjwright.com ARJWright

    Really good stuff here Ricky. If I were in the homeownership role, I’d be looking at doing that. As it is, I’m slightly more north, and my solar adventures are more attached to my auto/bicycling endeavors XD