September 10, 2009

One Way to Save Money on a Solar Installation – Organize!

I just heard about this company that organizes neighborhoods for bulk pricing on installing home solar systems. One Block Off the Grid operates in just a few cities including Denver and Boulder. Here’s how it works. They gather together many homeowners who are interested in getting a quote for a solar system installed in their home that all live in the same neighborhood or community. They contract with a local installer who agrees to offer a discount on the price for getting all of those interested customers coming their way. The savings that they offer in the Denver/Boulder area are approximately $.40 per watt. That may not sound like much, but since the minimum system they work with is 2 kW (or 2000 watts) that would reap a savings of $800. Install a 5 kW system and you could save $2000.

You sign up with 1BOG and they give your contact info to their selected installer. The installer will then contact you to arrange a quote for your home. You don’t have to pay anything up front and you are not obligated to buy a system from them. 1BOG gets paid through a referral fee from the installer.

Other incentives are there to help out too, no matter who you get your system through. Xcel Energy offers up to a $3.50 per watt incentive and the Federal government will give you a tax credit of up to 30% of your total out of pocket costs. That’s not just a deduction – but an actual tax credit.

In Boulder, we are extra lucky to have the Climate Smart Loan Program, so you can even borrow the money for your solar system and pay it back through a special assessment on your property taxes. A big advantage of their program is that if you move, the assessment stays with the property, so the new owners pays for the balance over time through their prpoerty taxes.

This all has me thinking, maybe I should organize a bunch of my friends and neighbors for a group discount on house painting or roofing or tree trimming or ???

blog by elephant’s Realtor Liz Benson  

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