Pricing a Solar Power System
Our goal at Apex Solar Power is to provide the best solution for your energy goals. This includes not only your system size and equipment choices, but also your experience on the path to solar. A big question most customers have when starting out is a simple one: What is this going to cost?
Pricing a solar system is a relatively simple task, once we have the right information. There are many factors that go into a solar system’s price:
- Size of the system
- Orientation of the home (A perfect south-facing roof required less solar, thus lower price!)
- Required home upgrades (service entrance update, rafter reinforcement)
- Property requirements like trenching, or tree removal
- The equipment selected and preferred by the customer
- The location- Some areas have a very expensive permit process, while others grant automatic approval.
The base price for a solar system depends on all of the above. At Apex Solar Power, our average base price is between $3.00 and $3.50 per watt of solar. Therefore, a 5,000 watt system would cost between $15,000 and $17,500.
Type of system mounting plays a big part into additional cost for a solar system.
Roof Mounted Solar
Roof Mounted Systems are the most inexpensive option as we are able to utilize the home or building as the structure to hold the panels! Roof Mounted systems include no additional cost.
Ground Mounted Solar
Ground mounted systems are great solutions for customers who do not have adequate space on their roof for a solar system or the building is not oriented to maximize solar production.
While a ground mount adds $.50 to $.60 per watt to the price of a system, because it can be oriented to be perfectly south, a smaller system size can typically be used. If your home or business has an east/west facing roof, a system would only produce 80% of what it could produce if it were oriented south. By installing a ground mounted system a customer may be able to reduce the size of their system by 20%, and still produce all the electricity they need.
Pole Mounted Solar
A pole mounted system is best used when a traditional ground mount is not an option. This could be due to the slope of the ground or the shape of the available space.
A pole mount is an array of panels mounted atop a pole which is anchored in the ground with a large cement ballast or weight.
Pole mounts are more expensive than ground mounts but they do offer a higher potential production because they can be manually adjusted for pitch throughout the year. This helps some homeowners maximize their summer and winter production.
The top of the pole holds a component that allows for pitch adjustments. This can increase production in the winter months as the pitch is increased and then decreased to a more flat orientation when the sun is high overhead in summer.
A solution for steep grades, pole mounts can be installed on steeper ground slopes where a traditional ground mount could not be installed.
Pole mounts are customized for each project and property and could add between $.95 and $1.25 per watt to a projects total cost. Even though they are more expensive, an increased production and ability to utilize unique land features make them a great solution for some customers.
Dual Axis Trackers
Apex Solar is an Authorized All-Earth Dual Axis Tracker installer.
AllEarth Solar Trackers can produce 45% more energy than a roof mounted system, and up to 30% more production than a fixed ground mounted system. By tracking the sun and using a motor to turn throughout the day, they produce more electricity because they allow every hour of daylight to hit the panels perfectly square. This ensures that every minute the sun is up, the panels are absorbing sunlight as if it were high noon outside.
Dual Axis Trackers are our most expensive mounting option and while they add a significant cost to the “per watt price”, they can produce 40% more electricity, and you can reduce your system size considerably which still allows for a payback under 10 years. A Dual Axis Tracker is a great option for customers with the right space and who are looking to get the most production out of the smallest footprint.
We offer a range of financing options to best suit the needs of the various situations that many homeowners and business owners are in. Many of our customers who choose to finance a solar system, pay a lower monthly solar payment than their old utility bill! That’s savings from day 1, and a big reason financing a solar system has become so popular.
Sungage offers a complete loan and tax credit bridge loan package. The Sungage Product is best suited for customers who wish to purchase a system for $0 down, complete with a free tax credit bridge loan. For Massachusetts and New Jersey, Sungage also has a great SREC program that includes guaranteed monthly payments TO the customer, based on the size of their solar system.
Dividend is a similar financing partner to Sungage Financial, but with a slightly different focus. While Dividend does not offer a tax credit bridge loan, they do provide the option of interest-only payments for the first year. This keeps monthly payments low, and allows the homeowner to paydown the loan when the tax credits have been received. Dividend also has a great SREC program for certain markets which includes guaranteed monthly payments based on the size of the system.
Enerbank is a partner we utilize to provide independent tax credit bridge loans. Some of our customers wish to finance a portion of the system through their bank or home equity line of credit, but seek a bridge loan to cover the portion of the system cost that is offset by state and federal tax credits.
We know that everyone’s situation is unique, and we are very flexible when it comes to financing a solar system. We understand that this is a big investment that is very new to most people, and have worked with numerous local banks and small credit unions to help ensure everything is understood about the solar system, and that the system is designed to best fit each customer’s home and energy situation.
At Apex Solar, we do offer a lease option to customers, but we only do so after having a conversation about what the specific benefits of a leased system are.
A leased system is different from a purchased system in a big way: You don’t own the equipment! The solar system that is installed on your roof in a leasing situation is owned by another company, and that company is responsible for the system, its production, and its warranties. While this seems like a big benefit, for most people owning your solar system is the better option.
When you own your system, you increase the value of your home, but most importantly- YOU get to keep the tax credits. In some states like New York, that means up to 55% of the system cost can be returned to you as a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against owed or paid state or federal taxes. These tax credits are what makes solar such a great investment and when you lease a system, you give up your right to this benefit.
What if you don’t pay a high amount of taxes?
Some individuals who are retired, or are small business owners with large pass-through deductions may not pay a high amount of income taxes each year. In these situation’s leasing is a perfect option, as it allows these individuals to get great benefits of solar without paying more because they cannot utilize the tax credits.
We are an authorized partner and installation company for Sunrun leased systems. Sunrun is one of the largest leasing companies in the country, and they provide a great service for those customers that are best matched with a solar leasing model.