It’s one thing to know you want a solar analysis, but quite another to understand the inner workings of the process. From signing papers, to financing, to more paperwork, to installation, there are many steps along the way that may seem confusing.
For that reason, we here at Shine thought we should offer a new blog series, A Day in the Life. Financing is our second segment in the series, following last week’s Part One, The Energy Consultant.
This week, Skylar Mann, Shine’s HR and Finance Manager, takes the spotlight. Skylar wears many hats at Shine, because she’s just that good! In her spare time, she trains in MMA, so she knows discipline.
As our finance manager, Skylar goes through each deal as it hits finance verification. Verification is the fourth stage in the process, following the scheduled appointment, site survey, and design review.
There are several financing options for our customers. Skylar first makes sure that the energy consultant sent her the correct loan documents. If it is a cash customer, Skylar requires an install agreement and payment plan.
After Skylar confirms the correct loan documents, she checks certain items for accuracy. She makes sure, for example, that the system size is correct, and that the paperwork includes the requested attachments.
Once Skylar approves the paperwork order, she confirms that the financing is covered on the lending side. Each lender is different, so Skylar stays informed of each step in the customer’s install. This way, she can sent that lender’s paperwork at the correct stage.
After Skylar sends the requested paperwork and it is approved, the job is funded! From that point, the customer moves on to the best stage of all…interconnection!
Who will be next in our Day in the Life? Join us next week!
Check out our Financing Day in the Life video summary!
It’s one thing to know you’d like to have a free solar analysis, but another to understand the inner workings of the process. From getting that analysis from our consultants, to signing papers, to financing, to more paperwork, to installation, there are many steps along the way that may seem confusing.
A Day in the Life
For that reason, we here at Shine Solar thought we should offer a new blog series, A Day in the Life. Each segment will focus on one department within our company, presented from that employee point of view. That way, we can explain our part in your process!
So let’s begin with the people you meet first: our energy consultants. Our consultants cover a lot of territory from Arkansas to Missouri, and that territory continues to grow!
Part One: Our Energy Consultants
When you decide to get a free solar analysis and contact us, we first turn to our consultants. Your information is entered into our system, and, based upon your location, a consultant is assigned to you for that first point of contact. Today we’ll be talking to one of those consultants, Missouri’s Dustin Moreland, about his solar process.
In the Beginning…
When someone requests a free analysis and is assigned to his location, Dustin calls them to get some background information. Once that information is verified, Dustin gathers energy usage amounts and past bills from the customer’s utility company, and sets an appointment to visit the customer’s home. The time between this call and the appointment enables us to build a custom proposal based on that customer’s usage, and that way they get the most accurate numbers. This is why we don’t have one-size-fits-all pricing.
When he arrives for the appointment, Dustin first presents the proposal. He gives an overview of how solar works and what the customer is purchasing. Next, he discusses our referral program (in which we pay you!). After that, he walks the customer through their customized proposal and answers any questions they might have. He begins the process of getting customers interested in financing qualified.
If the customer looks at the proposal, likes the savings, qualifies for financing, and is ready to commit? Well, Dustin is prepared with paperwork. First, he presents an install agreement to be signed. Next, he sets up a time to do a site survey. This is a simple process that looks at property structure and electrical components, and we do this to verify that the proposed solar array will work as it should.
Next, Dustin calls Elements Capital Bank for a welcome call with financing customers, and also answers any final questions the customer has.
After that? Well, you’ll have to stay tuned for our next installment! Can’t wait? Want to know more information NOW? Just fill out our form here, and someone will contact you! Or give us a call at 844-80-SHINE!
While renewable energy has come a long way, the fact is that most of us still do not own our own power. There are many reasons for this: maybe you don’t own your home, or maybe you live in a forest. Perhaps you want to wait and see if prices drop, or if technology improves.
“Checking out Renewable Energy? Yeah, it’s on our To-Do List.”
What many of us take for granted is that options (that benefit us) do exist. We fall into habits, and honestly, changing stuff just feels like too much effort sometimes. Some of us may know someone who got solar panels, and we’re curious to know more. But then we have to actually remember to research. And the kids just started soccer, and they have so much more homework this year, so maybe we’ll check it out later.
“Renewable Energy isn’t that Important.”
It’s so easy to put things off. That’s what we love about it, right? It’s easy! Just getting through life every day feels like enough of an accomplishment sometimes.
It is also easy to put off the big things, because we get so caught up in the little things. Renewable energy sounds great, but your electric bill isn’t that big. If it was a lot more expensive, that would be one thing, but it’s mostly manageable, except maybe January and August.
Have you ever wished that you didn’t have so many choices? Does it ever feel like things would be simpler if we didn’t have so darn many options? Just deciding what to have for dinner every single day is enough of a chore.
So what if…there was no Renewable Energy?
Let’s imagine, then, what would happen if we didn’t have energy options. Some of us remember when this was the case. We didn’t have the option to convert to solar energy, or wind energy. Heat pumps weren’t a thing. We simply paid our electric bill every month. If we were lucky, we had a fireplace, or an attic fan. Those helped a little. We only had three channels on the television, and forget having a remote control. Microwaves were brand-new, and so expensive. If we were lucky, we had a window air-conditioning unit in the living room.
So let’s imagine that we only had one choice: to pay the electric bill every month, or to get shut off for non-payment. The difference is that we have all the modern-day amenities. We have devices plugged in and charging all the time. We have the microwave, Keurig, laptops, desktop, tablets, Netflix, satellite television, industrial-sized refrigerator, central heat and air, and no energy efficient upgrades.
Our electric bill goes up every year, and we have no say in rate increases. Our kids become teenagers, and don’t listen to a thing you say. They leave their computers on all the time, and the lights on in every room in the house. They never unplug anything.
And the electric bill keeps climbing. You yell until you’re blue in the face, but it does no good. You’re paying a few hundred dollars per month to the utility company. Then a little more. Then a little more.
Everyone else is in the same boat. Resources are limited, and with demand so high, rate hikes happen more frequently. You start to conserve. Coupons become your life. That new car purchase gets put off one year, then two. You take an inventory of everything you own that requires electricity, and then start eliminating. Spending time in the house begins to cause you anxiety.
Because prices are so high everywhere, cost increases begin, then continue.
Resources become more limited, and mandates to conserve power start popping up.
There is no end in sight.
But There ARE Options. Renewable Energy DOES Exist.
Not only does renewable energy exist, but its effects are far-reaching.
The best part? It’s absolutely free to find out how much money you can save, and there is no obligation to move forward. Whether you check into your options or not, though, just remember that you can have energy freedom…and freedom is a great thing.
No time to read? Check out our quick video summary!
Something that we here at Shine Solar take very seriously is customer satisfaction. And we don’t just mean ensuring the satisfaction of our customers who have transitioned to solar energy. We also want to provide requested information to those who have not transitioned to solar energy. Maybe you’re thinking about solar for your home. Perhaps you just want to learn more about renewable energy. You may simply have doubts about solar affordability.
Whatever your motivation might be, answering your questions and addressing your concerns are two things of utmost importance to us. One thing we keep hearing, again and again, is that solar can’t possibly be an affordable option. People simply don’t believe that an affordable option for energy ownership exists. We’re used to having an electric bill to pay, after all. Paying higher rates year after year has become a habit.
This week’s blog, then, focuses on the reality of solar affordability. The following 10 fun facts demonstrate where we are versus where we were. And we’ve got to admit it’s getting better…it’s getting better all the time!
Reading this list may not convince you to go solar, but hopefully it will arm you with concrete information. Knowledge is power, after all!
10 Facts About Solar Affordability
The cost of solar panels has dropped by 80% since 2008, and it is expected to keep falling.
Plummeting solar costs and rising electric costs means homeowners in the U.S. hit break-even points with solar in as little as three years. In 2017, most homeowners are seeing payback periods between five and eight years and 20-year savings estimates upwards of $20,000.
Solar cells are priced per watt. In 1977, solar cells were unaffordable for most to purchase and install—costing around $77 per watt!
Solar installation often ranges from $2.87 to $3.85 per watt (though $3.00 is becoming the norm!). The entire installation package cost for a 5kw system averages around $17,000, but if you apply tax credits, the total installation will probably sit between $10,045 and $13,475.
Solar power itself is a free source of energy. Once you’ve installed photovoltaic (PV) panels on your home, maintenance is minimal and returns are high.
You don’t have to buy your solar panels outright; you can also finance them. This makes solar power more affordable for everyone.
Many states (including Missouri and Arkansas!) allow you to sell back the excess solar energy you produce at wholesale rates, meaning you can not only earn back the cost of your panels but also make a profit on energy in the long run.
When you buy solar panels, you’re eligible for a 30% federal government tax break—you could get thousands of dollars back on your taxes and offset the initial cost.
The truth is, solar is an affordable option for countless millions of people. And the best news? If solar isn’t a viable option for you, we will be the first to tell you. Call us for a free analysis, and see if you’re a candidate for energy freedom!
At Shine Solar, we like to take an educational approach with everything we do. We do this for two reasons: because we prefer telling the truth, and because solar is still a pretty new concept in the Midwest. People don’t realize how affordable solar energy has become. Most don’t know how much money they can save month to month.
And we get that! When you haven’t heard much about solar, it can sound too good to be true. It makes sense to hear about instant savings and react with disbelief. People want proof of savings that large. This is why we regularly post videos showing actual electric bills from our customers, or focusing on the affordability of solar.
The response to these videos, though, isn’t always positive.
“Stop lying! That’s not true!” is a frequent comment on our Facebook page.
But here’s the thing: it does us no good to lie to people at any point in the solar education process. The truth is great enough. Untruths have no place in our company.
Case in point: our video displaying three consecutive $15 electric bills, sent in by one of our customers.
The reason this customer’s bill is a flat $15 per month is because that is the utility company’s “connection fee.”
The Truth About Connection Fees
Customers who choose to go solar usually remain connected to the utility provider’s grid. To go off-grid entails a battery backup, which is just not cost-effective. Through a process called net metering, the utility companies monitor what you’re producing in addition to what you’re pulling from the grid. Credits are generated at wholesale rates and applied to your account.
You can build up credits from your panel production to offset your regular bill. Regardless of credits, though, your utility company will still continue to charge you a monthly fee to remain tied to the grid. The grid acts as a cost-effective battery backup.
The truth is, all utilities don’t charge the same connection fee, because each company has different fixed costs in place based on its expenses. Unfortunately, those connection fees (or price per kWh, or seasonal adjustments, or fuel surcharges) can be increased at any time if the utility’s expenses increase.
Co-op customers generally have the highest connection fees, so those customers often see $25 or $30 per month connection fees…or higher.
And it is this very price uncertainty that has led millions of people to choose solar power. The sun continues to provide a free source of energy. Solar panels continue to drop in price (80% since 2008!). And, the best news of all, solar payments don’t randomly increase. Solar payments remain the same price. Once energy storage options become more and more available, separating from the utility grid will make far more sense financially.
Why deal with the uncertainty? Call us for a free solar analysis today!