is solar panel installation free

The allure of “free” solar panels can be pretty captivating as many Calgary homeowners look to reduce rising energy costs. And while many companies may advertise their solar panel installation services as free, it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership.

Generally, these “free” panels are part of solar lease agreements or power purchase agreements. In these arrangements, homeowners don’t actually own the panels, but they are responsible for paying for the electricity the panels generate over a lengthy term.

This alternative may seem appealing as it reduces upfront costs, but it’s not without challenges. Some common pitfalls associated with solar leasing include long-term financial obligations, potential cost increases, complications when selling the property, limited financial incentives, and an overall lack of control and ownership.

So what are your options for solar panels in Calgary – and how can you ensure you get exactly what you need? At Halat Electric, we are committed to helping our clients in Calgary make the most informed decisions possible. Let’s look at what “free” solar panels might entail – and how to get the best bang for your solar buck.

"Free" Solar Panels - Are They Free?

The term “free” solar panels is often used as a marketing ploy aimed at promoting financing options like leases and power purchase agreements. In many cases, these panels are far from free – but it’s not for the reasons you may think.

Homeowners typically receive no cash incentives for installing solar panels and in fact, may end up paying more than they would with traditional electricity. This is due to the fact that solar panel systems are costly to install, maintain, and repair.

However, there are some instances where homeowners can benefit financially from free solar panels – such as net metering programs or special utility rate structures. In these cases, homeowners might actually be able to save money on their energy bills over time.

It’s important to remember that free solar panels are not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Every home is different, and only after careful assessment can you decide if solar energy is right for you. An experienced solar installer should evaluate your roof, energy usage, and local incentives to determine if solar is the best option for you.

Risks and Pitfalls of Solar Leasing

Solar leasing might seem attractive, but it’s not without risks. These include long-term financial commitments, potential increased costs over time, and difficulties when trying to sell the property during the lease term due to transferability issues.

Some homeowners who buy into solar energy leases may end up paying more than they would have if they had paid for the system outright. The lease rate is usually much higher than the cost of financing – not a wise financial decision in most cases.

It’s also important to consider that you won’t be able to take advantage of certain incentives and tax credits available with solar ownership, nor will you benefit from any future reductions in the cost of the system or its installation.

Comparing Solar Leasing and Buying Solar Panels

The decision between solar leasing and purchasing solar panels outright is a monumental one. Leasing might seem appealing due to the lower initial costs, but it also means missing federal tax credits and incentives.

On the other hand, buying and owning solar panels can lead to substantial long-term benefits and financial advantages. This includes an increase in home value and eligibility for tax incentives and renewable energy credits.

When it comes to considering buying vs. leasing solar panels in Calgary, it is important to weigh all the costs and benefits of each option. This includes the upfront cost, potential savings over time, and future incentives that may be available when you own your solar system.

5 Advantages of Buying and Owning Solar Panels

What should you do if leasing solar panels “for free” isn’t the best way forward? In most cases, purchasing solar panels can provide you with the most long-term benefits and value. Here’s why:

1) Higher Return on Investment (ROI)

While buying solar panels in Calgary requires a significant upfront investment, it is estimated that homeowners can get a return on their investment of over 20%. This means for each dollar invested, they are getting back up to $2 or more!

2) Lower electricity bills

Ownership means no longer paying a third-party company for your energy. This means lower utility bills and more money in your pocket!

3) Tax credits/incentives

Many governments have implemented tax incentives for homeowners who install solar panels. This provides an immediate return on investment and makes it easier to purchase systems without breaking the bank.

4) Independence and energy security

You no longer need to worry about rising costs from a third-party company or being dependent on them for energy. With solar panel ownership, you are the only person controlling your energy costs. This provides an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

5) Increased property value

Studies have shown that homes with rooftop solar systems can increase a home’s value. This is an attractive incentive for potential buyers – especially those looking to go green – and can help make your home stand out to potential buyers.

Choosing a Trusted Solar Installation Company

Choosing a reliable solar company is an essential step in the solar installation process.

Homeowners should consider getting multiple quotes, avoiding high-pressure sales tactics, checking for licenses or certifications, and considering positive customer testimonials. A reputable company should offer diverse financing options and have a strong reputation in the industry.

At Halat Electric, we ensure that every solar system is installed by experienced professionals who have the skills, knowledge, and safety training. We guarantee high-quality products, services, and customer satisfaction.

Contact us today for a free quote on a solar installation for your home! We know that long-term savings is the name of the game, and we’re here to make sure you get it.

Are there grants to install solar panels in Alberta?

Several grants and incentives are available for solar panel installations in Alberta. Some of them include:

  • Greener Homes Program: This federally-run initiative offers $1 per watt up to $5,000 to fund solar installation for eligible participants, with a mandatory Energuide Audit before installation, for which a $600 grant is also available​.
  • EcoCity Edmonton grants: These grants are part of a broader initiative that covers upgrades to various energy systems, including solar PV systems, with rebates of up to $125,000 per building per year​.
  • On-Farm Solar Program: This program is designed to reduce carbon emissions in the agricultural sector, offering up to $0.60 per installed watt up to 25% of the project cost, capped at $50,000 or 100kW​4​.

The cost of solar panel installation in Canada varies based on the province and the installation size.

On average, the cost is around $3.34 per watt, translating to approximately $25,050 for a 7.5kW solar PV system​5​. The lowest prices are found in Ontario ($2.42-$3.05 per watt), while the highest are in Nunavut, Newfoundland, and Labrador ($4.00+ per watt).

The cost for a 1500-square-foot house in Alberta can vary widely based on several factors, including the efficiency and brand of the solar panels and the overall solar energy system design. Here are some estimates:

  • A solar system costs $2.50 to $3.50 per watt, translating into a total price range of $15,000-$21,000 before incentives.
  • A national average cost of $16,500 for a 6kW solar panel system suitable for a 1500 sq. ft. house.

Ready to Go Solar? Trust Halat Electric.

The notion of “free” solar panels can be quite enticing, but it’s important to understand the full picture.

It’s crucial to know the potential risks associated with solar leasing, the benefits of owning solar panels, and effective strategies to reduce installation costs. Making a well-informed decision about solar panel installation involves careful consideration and consultation with reputable solar companies.

In the end, whether you choose to lease or buy, solar energy can be a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional energy sources. If you are ready to learn more, trust Halat Electric to provide you with the best solar panel system for your home.

Contact us today to start the conversation about going electric – and learn the options and advantages of solar energy. We are here to help you make the best decision for your home.

Start Your Solar Journey