“We had been looking in to getting solar for a while, but had trouble comparing and evaluating the prices installers were giving us. After finding Solar to the People, we received proposals from four installers in their network and they helped us determine which would be the best option for our house. We were extremely impressed with the quality of installers they recommended, and we ended up selecting one and paying about $6,400 less for our system than we had originally expected. Great company.”
“I was sick and tired of paying more and more for electricity each year. We never thought we could afford solar panels, but then we saw Solar to the People’s study on the prices of solar in New York and were shocked to learn how much the cost had dropped. I immediately went on their site and requested quotes from their installers. We couldn’t be happier with our decision to go solar – our average power bill now is just seven dollars a month! ”
“My wife and I were curious about solar, but frankly, I didn’t trust the solar sales people who had been calling us and knocking on our door. I came across Solar to the People in one of my Google searches, and they had a lot of really in depth information about solar on their site. To me, getting my questions answered online and being able to choose from multiple installers made all the difference. We got a great deal on our solar system and ended up paying about 20% less than the quotes we had gotten from other solar companies in the past. ”
“My husband and I both work full-time, and since we’ve had our daughter, we don’t have time to do a bunch of research on solar installers. We found Solar to the People through their online Solar Guide, and ended up purchasing our panels through their installer network. We wanted recommendations we could trust and Solar to the People gave us that peace of mind.”
In a solar PPA (power purchase agreement) you enter into an agreement to have panels installed on your roof and purchase the power they generate over a set period of time at a pre-determined price. The solar provider owns and maintains the panels on your roof and provides you with the power from the panels – hence the name “power purchase agreement”.
In a solar PPA, you pay only for the power your panels produce – so if the panels produce very little power you purchase very little power, and vice-versa. Like solar leases, solar PPAs are set below the rate you currently pay for electricity, and have an escalator – a percent they increase each year that covers inflation and maintenance costs.
Selling a home with a solar PPA, like a solar lease, is extremely common. Usually, the new homeowner takes the PPA over from the previous homeowner. Another common situation is that homeowners will buy out the PPA for the duration of the contract, and include the PPA as part of the purchase price for the home. The second option is less common, but still popular. More and more homes are sold with attached PPAs every year, and the transfer is becoming common in many regions.
The solar PPA provider monitors and manages the panels throughout the PPA agreement – there is nothing required from the homeowner.
The escalator on a solar PPA is the percent that the PPA increases per year. The escalator is designed to cover inflation and the provider’s costs to purchase, install and maintain the panels, and should be less than the anticipated yearly increase in the cost of power in your area plus inflation.
A common point of confusion among homeowners investigating their solar options. Solar leases are a lease on the solar panels themselves, while the power that comes off of them is yours. A solar PPA (power purchase agreement) is an agreement to purchase solar power from the panels that a company installs on the home. The difference is not usually important to most homeowners, but it is the difference between paying to use equipment (so leasing the panels and using the electricity that comes from them) versus paying for what the equipment produces (the electricity from solar energy generated by the panels). Both utilize escalators to account for inflation and the costs of running the provider’s company.
Where can I find solar PPA providers?
Solar PPAs and solar leases are usually provided by the same providers, but in different areas of the country only one type or the other is available due to local utility regulations requiring the leasing of power equipment or the purchase of power. Solar PPAs are offered by many of the larger solar firms, and through many of the smaller installers through the larger firm’s financing arms.
Each of the firms we work with offer each of their clients every financial option that we discuss on the site. While PPAs aren’t available everywhere due to regional regulations, you can see if solar PPAs are offered by providers in your area by putting your zip code in the box at the top of the page.