Common Solar Misconceptions

Getting the Truth Out There About Solar.


Frequently we hear all kinds of objections about solar power, and how or why it is a bad deal and a bad product.  It’s always interesting to speak with people about solar but unfortunately, it often highlights how misinformed many people have become.   Here at Apex, we strive to provide accurate information to allow people to make their own decision and decide if solar is right for them.  Far too often, we hear objections that just are not accurate and give people the wrong impression.  In this post (and a few more to follow!) we will work with these objections and explain the truth behind them, hopefully to clear up some misconceptions along the way.

(To protect the innocent, names and publications have been changed)

In a recent news article about solar power, the author states a number of “facts” about how solar, its financing, and tax credits work.  Here are 3 big points that were misunderstood:

“Yet every taxpayer makes a contribution to underwriting these tax credits. The tax credits participants take would further burden families of more modest incomes, those who could least afford to make up for the lost tax revenue.”

Hard to believe that a newspaper would put this in print!  Tax credits are not a “shared burden” among taxpayers” the 30% federal and any state tax credits are only applicable to an individual homeowner’s taxable income.  Your maximum tax credit rebate will never be more than the taxes you paid or owe! So, if you are a homeowner who has paid or owes taxes, you will only get your own money back. Solar income tax credits will absolutely never be subsidized or taken from an individual who is not the system purchaser.  This is why leasing a solar system can make sense for retirees or for individuals without a large taxable income, as a leased system gives the tax credit benefits to the 3rd party owner of the system.

“Solar equipment is quite expensive. The only people who would participate are the tiny percentage of residents who are wealthy and could afford the upfront expenses”

Ah, this one is a classic.  The wealthy are not the only ones who benefit from solar. In fact, the middle and working class are more frequent adopters. Someone who can easily afford their electric bill is not going to be as motivated to go solar as someone who is truly seeking savings.  For the millions of people who work hard to budget their bills and household expenses, knocking out or lowering the electric bill has a huge impact!  In fact, New York has special LMI financing loan options for those whose household income is below the median for the county. Say your electric bill is usually $100. If you could get a few things put up on your roof which meant you paid $80 a month total for your solar and electric bill for the next 30+ years, would that be a good deal? Of course.  As long as the household has enough income to pay income taxes, solar has the potential to save them energy costs.

“Homeowners must have considerable cash to invest”

And the big one: You do NOT need to pay for the entire system upfront. The vast majority of solar system purchases are financed by federal credit unions who specialize in renewable energy financing. Most homeowners opt for a 20-year loan, with monthly payments that are LESS than their electric bill was previously. There are no early payment penalties with most of these banks, and they also offer free tax credit bridge loans.  These loans give the homeowner time to do next year’s taxes, and use the tax credits to directly reduce the system cost.  Financing is super simple, and over 70% of our customers have financed their solar systems.  It just makes sense to trade your utility bill for a lower (and fixed amount) loan payment.

Okay, so now what?

The biggest challenge to the solar industry is the spread of misinformation, and a lack of understanding about how it works. Before passing judgment or writing off what is proving to be a great benefit and an exciting new technology, do your due diligence and talk to someone who has solar. Who they are and what they have to say about it might surprise you.  Dont just jump to conclusions based on hearsay- be informed and do a little research!