Why some homeowners pay more for solar?

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

My buddy referred me to y'all and he's paying $150 for his solar system. How come you're charging me $220? I come across this question a lot in my solar business and so will you — more so when you base your revenue off referrals. Hence, you always need to be prepared to put your educator hat on and go over the details of the installation differences.

We hear the phrase a lot in the solar business that "every home is different", but what does that really mean? There's a number of key factors which determine the capacity and size of the equipment installed on a site. I break those key factors into two separate groups: physical and non-physical.

Physical Factors are those that mostly affect the size and design of a solar system and will be determined by the geographical location; and structural shape, orientation, inclination, size and shade of a rooftop. Whereas non-physical factors have to do more with the energy consumption needs of the users; like the utility providers and family composition, habits and work hours. Let's take a closer look at the physical factors first and then the non-physical.

Solar System's Geographical Location

The location is a crucial factor to determine the size of the solar system needed for a home. The intensity of the sun can drastically change in different parts of the country. For example: residents will have a lot more yearly sunshine in the flat lands of Florida than the hills of Colorado; or people will have less sun exposure in Seattle Washington than Houston Texas; or your solar customer may be in a electricity regulated area controlled by a single company vs. a de-regulated area where multiple resellers compete in the electricity market. The intensity of the sun in different locations may be an obvious factor but, let's expand a little bit on regulated versus de-regulated. What is that exactly and why is it important?

Electricity Regulated Areas

Homeowners who live in a regulated areas must abide by the rules and regulations imposed by their electricity company because there is no other available utility provider. Most utility providers in regulated areas will have a diminished solar program and some don't offer a net-metering solar arrangement at all, making solar installations way more expensive.

Electricity De-regulated Areas

These areas are the most favorable for solar installations for three key factors:

  1. Although it's true that competition drives electricity prices down, TDSP charges or electricity delivery charges are high and increase year after year, thereby making solar power an attractive solution to ever increasing electricity costs.

  2. Electricity resellers offer more attractive renewable energy programs, often including up to $1 x $1 interconnection agreements.

  3. The nature of the open market allows homeowners the flexibility to shop for the best solar program available at any given time.

Click HERE for more detailed education and history on energy deregulation.

Structural Shape of the Rooftop

The most adequate roofs for solar are those which have the proper surface size, orientation, inclination and shape to minimize installation, materials and labor costs. Mounting costs fluctuate depending on the material, i.e., asphalt versus metal versus clay tile versus flat concrete roofs (I wrote a whole article about this on the above link). Surrounding trees may also collaborate on the amount of daily shade the panels will receive and hence decrease their production — less production equals higher costs.

As well, there's obvious costs associated with the output capacity and quality of the panels used. Some panels cost more than others. The performance panels you use for one customer may not be needed for the next — it's just that simple. You wouldn't suggest a 12 cylinder dully 450 truck to commute to a downtown office the same way you wouldn't recommend premium panels where good quality regular panels are just as good for the job.

Electricity Utility Provider

The difference to which a homeowner gets charged by kilowatt hour (kWh) varies from one company to another. Base charges and other added charges also vary and are a fundamental elements in determining how big of a solar system is needed to offset those charges. Helping your customer choose the best provider after the solar system is installed is as important as helping them design the best solar solution for their needs. Hence, it is paramount to make the right choice in providers every time there's an option.

Family Composition, Habits and Work Hours

Of course it is more likely that a family of five will use more energy than a family of two — and that has to be taken in consideration. Two identical homes sitting side by side with the same amount of shade will have the need for different size solar systems depending on their consumption.

That consumption could also be affected by the family composition. A couple with three small children will likely use less energy than a family of five adults working and studying at home, using smart devices and computers during peak hours at night.

A professional solar consultant will walk his customer through this analysis to help them resolve the perfect solution to their photovoltaic system needs.

MANOLO BARDEGUEZ - Welcome to my Blog. I hope the articles on this site inspire you and I encourage you to discover the benefits of going solar for yourself by clicking Go Solar. By clicking Join you can also learn how you can join our movement to connect the world to sustainable technologies and get paid handsomely by the fastest growing solar company in America. If you have any questions, contact me directly at ManoloBard@SunbrightNet.com or call me by clicking the phone icon above.

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