Consumer Reports: How to Find the Best Deals on Solar Panels

“A lot has changed in the intervening 37 years [since President Carter installed solar panels on the White House]: Solar costs have dropped so much that today it’s possible to generate all or most of a home’s electricity — for decades to come — for about the purchase price of a new economy car. Solar installations have increased dramatically. And President Obama has installed new panels on the White House roof.

There has probably never been a better time to switch to solar. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have regulations that are solar-friendly enough (and electricity rates high enough) to make residential solar financially attractive (see map), and last December Congress extended through 2021 the generous federal tax credits on solar projects that had been set to expire at the end of this year. Residential solar installations increased almost 60 percent between 2014 and 2015, and in 2015 America averaged one new residential solar installation about every 100 seconds.

Those who want to wait on the sidelines for further price reductions could be disappointed: The cost of solar panels has started to plateau.

Sales reps may boast about “smart” systems, for example, to convince you that their proposal is better than the other guys’. “Ignore the pitch; just go for the lowest cost per watt you can get,” Pearce says.

This article will walk you through smart steps of going solar from start to finish, to help you steer clear of common mistakes and increase the chances that your solar future will be a bright one.”

More at the source: Consumer Reports
So there you have it from Consumer Reports, the most unbiased authoritative source that I’m aware of. They recommend to “Ignore the pitch; just go for the lowest cost per watt you can get.”

3 thoughts on “Consumer Reports: How to Find the Best Deals on Solar Panels”

  1. One extremely important caveat about the ‘big brother’ government’s ‘generous tax credits.’


    Read very carefully what is credited and what is not.

    Don’t take a news article’s word for it. Never take a sales rep’s word for it. Do your due diligence and read the applicable statute for yourself.

    Most credits are almost exclusively for the people that are happy in the grossly overpriced generic home ownership ripoff scam that encompasses that vast majority of the US. If buy all the components commercially, and hire someone to do the work, have them installed on a code approved home, complete with a rubber stamp by a building inspector, then Big Brother will deem you worthy of getting a small portion of your own money back in the form of a tax break.

    If you are an owner builder, living in an area with few or no building codes, and scant inspections, you may find yourself with a much lower tax credit than you expected, or possibly no tax credit at all.

    This may or may not be the case for every owner-builder. It may be a great deal for some owner-builders. Just don’t get caught by the government/corporate scam that is targeted for the typical gullible generic mortgage laden govt approved home owner.

    It’s not fair that the rules and incentives apply unequally when it comes to owner-builders, but I don’t make the rules. I’m just offering a warning. Don’t get caught out with a big tax bill at the end of the year that you cannot afford because your solar tax credit was only partially approved or not approved at all, or… that you discover that you have to file a more complicated tax return than you usually do, and need to pay a tax expert for assistance in filing, killing a large portion of your expected savings.

    Use the tax credit if you can, but don’t assume you’ll get it without reading all the fine print.

    BTW… Solar is awesome. Do it if you can and it makes financial sense for your situation. Just be smart about it.

  2. This story is in response to a reader request on our poll. Look in the upper right side of the page and take our poll if you haven’t already.


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