Worried About Retirement? Think Solar Panels.

Sabrina Lopez
June 14, 2013
3 min read

I saw this article on Forbes.com today and thought about many of our customers I’ve talked with who live in retirement communities here. If you don’t know about Arizona, our state claims the “highest number of active living 55+ communities in the nation.”

These are not communities where people are kicking back on porches in rocking chairs, these people are playing tennis, golf, dancing, hanging out – having FUN. All the time! You drive through the gates of most of them, and you feel like you’ve entered another world, like a permanent vacation resort. It’s awesome.

In addition to living great lifestyles, many of these retired people are quite financially savvy and are looking to either maximize their investments or cut expenses.

With solar, they are doing BOTH.

Solar panels allow people to generate some, most, or all of their home’s electricity needs right on their roof. Most residential systems are tied in “to the grid” – meaning excess electricity is sent to the utility company during the day and additional electricity needed is pulled from the utility company at night.

It’s estimated that 60-70% of retirees stay in Arizona yearly. The rest are affectionately called snowbirds because they maintain second homes elsewhere during the hot summer.

And let’s face it: Arizona is blazing hot in the summer. 

So, how much do solar panels cost? That’s always the big question because it depends on whether you PURCHASE or LEASE. (It is like a car, except you make money instead of losing money on it as soon as you drive off the lot.)

Some of our retired customers benefit from purchasing solar – for instance when they are about to take a large distribution payment and can use the 30% federal tax credit, $1,000 from the state of Arizona, and a small amount from their utility company. (NOTE: In the case of utility company incentives, these are at an all-time low of 10 cents per watt to $0 -- the money abruptly runs out with less than 8 hours’ notice.) As with any acquisition, the cheapest solar pricing goes to people who can pay cash. But there are a lot of financing options for solar purchase if you don’t want to spend cash. There are 12-year signature loans available for low interest with no prepayment penalties, and longer-term 20-year loans available, too. There’s even a new way to refinance a mortgage and include solar in the mortgage payment. Or you can get a home equity loan or a loan from the bank in the usual fashion.

But what about the other retirees who don’t need a tax credit? For them, leasing solar looks much more appealing. They can lease for nothing down and a level monthly payment, or nothing down and a payment that escalates every year. Or they can pay some money down – or pay the entire 20 year leasing term in one lump payment up front.

Whether a retiree wants to cover 100% of their electricity or whether they purchase or lease, the ROI (return on investment) can be immediate or it can be five years, or it can be 10 years – it all depends.

But no matter what, it’s better than shelling out money you’ll never see again month after month and year after year to your electric company.

Stick with what you’re doing now; there will NEVER be an ROI! Instead, you’ll pay an average 4% rate hike yearly. And that’s a negative ROI if I ever heard one!

(This is Arizona, why doesn’t everyone have solar, especially people thinking about retirement??? Do you agree with me? Comment here using Facebook.)

Interested in solar for your home or business? If so, please contact our team for a complimentary consultation today!