In the not-so-distant past, going solar was a daunting challenge, reserved for only the most hardcore environmentalists or the wealthiest homeowners. There were more questions than answers: What kind of solar panels should you get? How big of an installation? Who can you trust to do a good job designing and installing the system? And how are you supposed to pay for it all?
A lot has changed since then! There are exponentially more choices for solar installation and financing providers to choose from today compared to even five years ago, and many companies – including Mosaic – can help you navigate the entire process from beginning to end. In fact, the hardest question many homeowners face today might not be “should I go solar?” but instead “how do I go solar?”
Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Solar
The first, and maybe most important question is: do you own your home? If you don’t own your home, that means you don’t own your rooftop, and you won’t be allowed to build on it (or let someone else build on it). If that’s the case – and you can’t convince your landlord to look into going solar – you still might be able to ‘virtually’ go solar by purchasing or leasing panels in a shared off-site solar project. This indirect way of going solar, also known as community solar, is becoming increasingly popular, and sharedrenewables.org is an excellent resource to learn whether this is an option where you live.
Second, if you do own your home, you’ll want to take a look at your electricity bills over the past year or so, since the amount of electricity you currently use will help determine how much you can save by going solar. A recent government-sponsored study indicates that the average homeowner can save money by going solar in 42 of the 50 largest cities in America, but the economics of solar for any particular home can vary considerably depending on your electricity use, as well as where you live, your rooftop orientation and construction, and numerous other factors. a good rule of thumb is that solar is likely to be a good choice if you spend at least $90 a month on electricity on average. Your installer will be able to develop a more detailed model of your potential savings from going solar, but it’s a good idea to have your recent bills handy when you begin the process.
Finally, you’ll need to think about how you want to pay for your solar power. If you have $20,000 or so in cash to invest, it might make sense to buy your solar panels outright. In the likely event that you’d prefer to spread your solar investment costs over the long term, you’ll need to decide between leasing from a third party or owning your solar with the help of loan financing. As discussed in the previous section, owning your solar panels is usually a better deal in the long term, much like leasing compared to owning a car or renting compared to owning your house.
Websites like EnergySage can help you compare your different options, and we encourage you to shop around. But, since you’re here already, we’d like to tell you a bit about how easy going solar can be with Mosaic.
How Going Solar Works With Mosaic
Mosaic’s mission is to empower millions to prosper from clean energy, and we think we’ve built the very best and easiest platform to make your solar dreams come true. We’ll connect you with the best and most experienced local solar installation service providers to make sure you’re getting a well-designed system at a great price, and our Mosaic Home Solar Loan will finance the complete costs of your installation for zero money down.
Let’s walk through the process so you have an idea of what to expect:
1. Start by getting a free solar quote online – we’ll just need some basic information on where you live and your current electricity bills to see if you’re likely to benefit from going solar.
2. If you decide to apply for a Mosaic Home Solar Loan, we’ll look at your credit history and give you a quick response on whether you’re approved.
3. Once you’re approved, we’ll have one of our local installation partners come to your house and develop a detailed system design and cost estimate.
4. After you give the final go-ahead, we’ll take care of the rest – your installer will put beautiful, money-saving solar panels on your roof, and we’ll pay for everything.
5. You pay Mosaic back your loan gradually over 10, 15, or 20 years, at a monthly cost that’s less than what you’ll save on your utility bills. Those savings add up – a LOT: the average Mosaic customer will save $67,000 over the life over their solar system!*
6. If you sell your house before you pay off your solar loan, you can pay off your loan through escrow or contact Mosaic to discuss the possibility of a transfer. Solar panels were found to add an average of $15,000 to home values in a recent study.
*Savings is based on the average self-reported savings of Mosaic borrowers between 10/1/2014 - 3/31/2015 using our 20 year choice rate loan product. Savings depend on credit profile, timely monthly payments and making the prepayment target. Savings are calculated by (Electricity bill before solar) - (Bill after solar + Mosaic loan payment). Results may vary based on geography and weather variability. We assume a solar panel life span of 30 years, a decline in panel production of 0.5% per year, inverter replacements at years 10 and 20, and retail electricity rates increasing 3.2% per year (The US Average electricity price change from first half of 2014 vs first half of 2013 according to the US Energy Information Administration).