Imagine for a moment that you got a phone call from SCE or LADWP. The voice on the other end of the line says that your electric bill is going to do down by $50 a month. They also promise to only increase the bill by 3% maximum each year. The only string on this deal? You need to allow the installation of solar panels on your roof at no cost to you.
Having just agreed to such a deal with Solar City, I’m trying to figure out why anyone is resisting this opportunity, especially here in Southern California. My neighbor heard I was doing it, and came up to ask if I was buying or leasing. There was no issue about his putting in solar panels. He just wasn’t quite sure whether to take some risk for more potential reward, or leave all of the risk on the solar panel company.
If your bill is under $125, you could still install panels and help with the environment. You would probably end up buying, not leasing, and at some point in the future, maybe 15 years from now, you would have no bill and no payment. But if your bill is over $125, you are likely to receive immediate gratification. Your monthly outlay for electric will go DOWN! If you buy the unit, you may eventually have no bill at all.
So I have started asking folks, “Why not?” Why would anyone even have to think about this for more than a minute? So far I have had a few people wonder about some down stream issues. None of these were reasons not to do solar, but only reasons to possibly do it later or to lease vs buy.
What happens if you move? Solar City will either move the panels to your new home, leave them up and make a deal with the new owners, or take them down. This is on a lease deal.
When you own the panels, Solar City says they will help you transfer ownership to the new homeowners. According to their website, 98% agree to the transfer. They will also move the unit to your new home at no cost if that is the preferred approach. What about upkeep and maintenance? There is very little required, but at least with Solar City you have a 30-year deal for all upkeep to be done free. Others likely have similar policies.
We have no agreement with Solar City, no payment or allowance has been given for this review. In fact, a local roofer, Western Roofing, told me that they can offer a better solar panel and better deal than Solar City. There are many other companies offering solar roofs.