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How great would it be if you had enough solar panels to power your entire home? Not only would you still have power during most disasters, you wouldn’t have to pay that electric bill ever again. The only problem is, solar panels are so expensive it could take over a decade to break even. Still, if you can afford it, just one will make your life far more comfortable in the event of a power outage. Here are 5 ways to save money on solar panels.
1. Search for Older Models
Just like with cars and computers, the newest solar panels are very expensive the first year they’re available and much cheaper the next year when newer models have been released.
I’m not talking about buying them used. I’m talking about contacting the distributor and asking if they have any older models they want to get rid of. The best time to do this is right after the latest model has been released. If you’re lucky, the distributor will be looking to make space in their warehouse and will give you a big discount.
2. Ask Realtors If They’ve Seen Any
Seriously, just call them up and ask them. But don’t call just any realtor. Call one that works in upper class neighborhoods where houses are more likely to have expensive solar panels on their roofs. Realtors have trouble selling these houses because solar panels don’t look good and your average buyer doesn’t want them. On top of that, they raise the cost of the house, making it even more unattractive to potential buyers.
Get to know some realtors and tell them to give you a call next time they’re trying to move a house with solar panels. They’ll be so happy to get rid of them that they’ll probably give you a great deal.
3. Make a Bulk Purchase
Everything is cheaper in bulk, even solar panels. But since you don’t need enough of them to power every house on your street, try teaming up with other people who also want to buy solar panels. If enough people chip in, you can buy them in bulk and get a big discount.
This site has a list of bulk purchase programs along with information on how to start your own group.
4. Get a Rebate
How much have you spent on taxes that went to programs you don’t support? Get some of that money back! The U.S. Government is currently offering a 30% tax credit on any solar power package. That means if you spent $10000, you would get $3000 added to your tax refund (or deducted from what you owe).
There are many other types of incentives depending on what state you live in. For example, many power companies offer an incentive of $2 per watt. Follow this link and select your state to learn more.
5. Build Your Own
I admit, this option isn’t ideal if you’re not mechanically inclined. But if you think you can handle it, you’ll probably save more money this way than any other way. There are plenty of books, articles, and videos with step by step instructions. Even if you have to hire someone else to do build them, it still might cost less than buying them outright.
Make sure to get solar panels tested before you buy them. If you’re buying a used solar panel, hire a professional to test it. If you’re purchasing from a manufacturer, ask them to test it before they ship it to you. They’ll usually do this for free.
Most of the time warranties aren’t worth it, but in the case of solar panels it’s not a bad idea. Even the best ones can break and getting them fixed can cost up to $1000.
If you have the opportunity to inspect your solar panel before buying it, don’t just check the front. You might not think so, but the front of the solar panel is not nearly as important as the components on the back. If there is damage to any of these, it might not function properly.