Going solar is an investment that can net an excellent return within just a few years. If you have questions about solar power systems and solar roofing, Green Air Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. has answers.
Solar Power & Solar Roofing Q&A
How Does Going Solar Protect You Against the Inflation Rate of Utility Companies?
One way or another, you’re paying for solar. If you’re a renter or homeowner, you’re paying for solar even if you don’t have it on your home. Think about it: you’re paying utility fees—let’s say you’re paying $100 in utility fees—and next year you’re going to pay $107 for the same utilities. This is based on the historical average rate over 30 years, which is 6.7%. Right now, we’re seeing inflation rates at 10% or even higher from PG&E. With that in mind, the minute you go solar, you start producing energy today so when you use energy next year, you’ll have made 10% off your dollar. It’s already producing, and next year, it’s going to produce the same. But instead of paying the inflated rate of utilities, you’ve already paid for it once—so you’re done!
In the beginning, you can have a five-year return on investment and after five years, you’ll have a one-for-one hard cash dollar return. This means that for every dollar you spend—let’s say you spend $10,000 today—in five years, you’ll have received your entire return on investment in tax credits and utility savings.
Now that system is going to last 25 years, if not longer. It’s warranted for 25 years, so imagine how much longer it’s going to last after that. This means you have 20 years (starting after five years) of an income-producing asset: this means the system will always produce income!
How Is the System Producing Income?
You’re no longer paying a utility bill. You have a 10% inflation rate or a 6.7% inflation rate by the utility company for the next 20 years. Compounded over 20 years, if the money that was going to the utility company was placed into an account, the average calculated savings (income) for our typical solar design has been well over $100,000.
What Sets Green Air Apart From Other Solar Installers?
Everybody else is just trying to make a buck. Don’t get us wrong: we’re a non-profit organization, but we want to make money too. However, we lose money if we don’t do right by our clients. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, it will come back and hurt us. So we always do what’s right for the client, even if they don’t realize we’re doing right by them. A client may think it’s not right because it’s more expensive; however, they’re typically not factoring in price versus cost. Price is the here and now. Let’s say we give a client a quote for $15,000, to which they reply, “Why is this more than the quote I got from the other place?”. We say to that, “Are we too high OR are they too low?”
The question isn’t how much overhead we have; the question is what are you not getting for that lesser price from that other company? Their price may be cheaper, but in five years, you may have to spend $5,000 more just to remove and install that system because your roof is bad. We make a point to inform our clients of future expenses along with current expenses. After all, how else are they able to make an informed decision if they’re not provided all the variables to consider? We pride ourselves on being a referral-based company, and ensuring that our clients are properly informed is one factor in how we make that happen.
What Is Net Metering & Why Is It So Important?
Right now, the NET meter is available for PG&E and SMUD, the two biggest energy suppliers in Northern California. Our typical solar design produces more power during the day than what you’re using, and so the NET meter offered by their utility provider credits the energy not consumed. This meter allows you to have a one-for-one exchange, and without the NET meter, more costs would be required to store excess power for later use. The NET meter is integral when it comes to your return on investment.
PG&E has been lobbying against the NET meter; however, a recent ruling stated that no changes can be made until 2019, which is the same year the tax credit ends. So it’s twofold: you receive a 30% uncapped tax credit and the NET meter. You can decide to invest in a minimal size solar system, and due to our system design, expand the system one module at a time. This approach allows you to keep your expense down, start receiving savings on your income producing asset (solar PV), take advantage of the 30% tax credit and, more importantly, receive the NET meter. If future expansion occurs prior to the end of 2019, then you would receive an additional tax credit.
Why Did Green Air Become a Roofing Contractor & How Does It Go Hand-in-Hand With Solar?
We found that, although solar is a great income-producing asset, great for the environment, has a short return on investment and is very lucrative with all the tax credits, people really get hurt when their contractor is not thinking about their best interest and they refuse to mention the face that their roof is 15 or 20 years old. You would be surprised at how long a 10-year-old roof that was poorly installed is actually going to last—it could last only 12 to 15 years. So when you go to replace that roof, you now have to have the solar removed. So you’ve spent money to put solar up initially and now, you have to pay even more to have it removed and reinstalled after redoing the roof. The nice thing about Green Air Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. is that we ensure that whatever we put up on your roof (the roofing, the penetrations, the solar) is going to last 25 years. You’re not going to have to remove our system in between that time and then reroof. We’re going to make sure it’s done right the first time and that’s the benefit of having a roof integrated with our solar. It just serves our clients better.
Does Green Air Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. Have Experience in the Roofing Industry?
The head of our roofing division brings over 32 years of roofing experience to our company. He didn’t learn to roof like everyone learns today, where a buddy who learned to roof last year teaches their buddy how to roof this year. He learned from people who had been roofing for 30-40 years. As a result of our experience, we’re proud to be certified with CertainTeed to bring you the best installation, products and warranties for your solar roofing system.
Are There Specific Types of Roofing Shingles That Green Air Recommends More Than Others?
It’s more specific to what the homeowner wants. If the homeowner really wants a good shingle, they want to pick a thicker shingle, one that has more aesthetics and lasts longer. Longevity is based on how long it takes for things to wear out, so the more asphalt and the thicker the composite of the shingle, the longer it’s going to last. In the San Francisco Bay Area, thinner shingles typically last 20-25 years when installed correctly; that increases an average of 5-10 years with a thicker shingle.
Please Explain the Relationship Between Roofing & Solar Panel Installation.
The average roof in California lasts 15-17 years. If your roof is 10 years or older, you most likely need to install a new roof before installing solar. The reason for this is because the life expectancy of the solar panels will be more than what is left in that existing roof. You should have a minimum of a 25-year life expectancy on the roof when you’re placing solar.