My husband and I have been very interested in solar energy for some time now. Our dream home would be as ‘off grid’ as we could comfortably make it and solar power would probably be a big part of this. In our case, we don’t have much in the way of green living ideals but I would like to scratch hydro off of my list of bills to pay every month. We have looked into having solar panels put on our roof but until now the cost has been prohibitively high.
Recently though, I came across a company in the area that offers to install and maintain solar panels on a homeowner’s rooftop for free. The company then sells the energy back into the grid and pays the homeowner $200-1200 per year depending on how much energy is generated. The agreement lasts for 20 years at the end of which, the homeowner buys the solar panels for $1 and begins collecting 100% of the energy profits.
My first inclination was to think that this arrangement was a huge scam. I could make a lot more than $200/year if I just installed my own solar panels! But then I would need at least $30K to have the system installed- $30K that I don’t have. Then I thought that $200 was way too cheap to let someone else use my rooftop real estate to turn a profit. On the other hand, I haven’t come across anyone else asking to rent my rooftop…
The more I thought about it, the more I thought this might actually be a good deal. Currently, my rooftop makes me no money. If I signed a contract with this company, I would have $200-$1200 more per year than I had before- purely passive income too! The solar panels would also add value to my home. We do plan to sell our home within the next five years and a promise of passive income with a $1 buyout at the 20 year mark would be a pretty sweet ‘cherry on the top’ of our real estate offerings. Further, the solar panels protect your rooftop, another huge plus for potential home buyers.
This isn’t something we could do within the next month or so since we will need to put a new roof on our home within the next year or two but once that is done, I am strongly considering doing this! What do you guys think? Do you think this is a good deal or a rip off? Do you know of any other good offers available in this market? Have you heard any horror stories or drawbacks regarding deals such as these?