For the average homeowner, the ins and outs of a home solar energy system aren’t nearly as well understood as many other possible home upgrades, but a new guide from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) aims to shed some light on the subject and help make it easier to make an informed decision about transitioning to renewable energy at home.
The rising interest in home solar, and the increasing adoption of residential solar, has brought with it a number of great options and opportunities for potential solar homeowners, ranging from new financing options (such as solar leases and PPAs) to a much wider selection of installers and solar companies to choose from. As this video illustrates, the last decade has seen solar grow at an unprecedented rate in the U.S.:
But along with the expanded options for home solar has come a an increased chance of getting a system that isn’t right for the situation, or a solar financing solution that doesn’t work well for the homeowner, or even the chance of getting scammed outright, which can make some potential solar advocates a bit wary of committing to this renewable energy choice.
And being a bit cautious about making the switch to solar can be a good thing, just like with any major decision, because owning a decent home-sized solar system isn’t exactly cheap, in terms of upfront costs or overall system costs (even though the returns on this investment can be really good). This isn’t to say that homeowners should be skeptical about going solar, but rather that it can pay to do your homework before signing a contract, in order to ensure that what you’re getting will be a good fit for you, and that you’re making the most informed choice possible.
To help make the choice of going solar “as effortless and streamlined as possible,” and to educate potential solar homeowners, the SEIA has just launched its Guide to Solar Power, which is specifically tailored for the residential consumer. The home solar guide, which was developed as a joint effort between leading solar companies, is designed to serve as a complement to the organization’s Code of Ethics, which all SEIA members agree to abide by, and could help alleviate some of the concerns of those who may be leaning toward going solar but who don’t fully understand the details or options available to them.
“The SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power is a must read. It’s a step-by-step checklist that will help consumers seamlessly transition to clean, affordable solar energy. Consumer protection is an issue of highest priority and is vital to solar’s future growth across America.” – Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO
This home solar guide, which also includes a number of questions to ask before entering into a solar agreement, is a free download (PDF) available on the SEIA website, and will be regularly updated and added to as the solar market continues to mature in the U.S. Along with the guide, the SEIA has other consumer protection guides available on its site, including sample leases and PPA documents to reference.
“The solar industry has worked hard to develop best practices for technology performance, warranties, contracts, financing terms for solar products, and SEIA’s new guide to residential solar provides consumers a transparent look at the most important things to consider when choosing a solar option.” – Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity
June 11, 2015
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