09 May '12, 10pm

Assessing Whether Solar Panels Make Sense for You

As I report in The Times , legions of companies will offer to install a system at no upfront cost and promise customers cheaper, cleaner electricity over the course of 20 years. Some are small and local, while others, including SolarCity , Sunrun , Sungevity and SunEdison , are larger, with national or even international reach. Some large manufacturers, like SolarWorld , even offer financing plans for home installations. For residential customers, the deals can seem attractive. The company arranging the financing for the system usually owns and operates it, selling the electricity back at a rate generally lower than what the utility would charge. Depending on the company and the state, the details vary. In some cases a customer pays a preset rate for the electricity used, known as a power purchase agreement. In others, the customer leases a system, paying a set monthly cha...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/how-to-assess-w...

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