About month ago we had a customer sign up for our Gold service. He had one bid already and wanted us to get him a few more. Based on the financial analysis he had seen from the first company, he was pretty much ready to sign on the dotted line. During our initial call, we discussed his goals, and he mentioned that he was going to retire in about 10 years. He wanted to make sure that he and his family were going to be in a good financial position for the future.
His project was put through our process and got several of the most competitive bids that I have seen in awhile. We incorporated those bids, as well as the one he had received previously, into a report and did a comprehensive financial analysis on each. After looking at the results, we figured out how to save him tens of thousands of dollars, and it was easy. We told him not to go solar. That’s right, we determined that solar wasn’t beneficial and that he would have been upside down on the payments well into his retirement.
What is scary and slightly upsetting is that the first solar contractor he spoke with sent him a financial analysis that showed a 7-year payback. They were able to conjure up this number by overstating the power rate by 20% and inflating the utility escalation rate by 500%. These are levers that most consumers just don’t know to look at when evaluating a solar install. In addition, the contractor somehow estimated that his home would now be worth $40k more than it was just by adding solar panels, which is far from the truth.
Now I don’t know if this solar contractor was being malicious in his analysis or just didn’t know any better, but either way the net effect is the same. The customer would have spent almost $30,000 on a bad investment. I wish I could say that this is first time this has happened. Our goal at Solar Advisors is to help customers save thousands either by helping them negotiate a solar array and getting the best bang for their buck or by telling them what many will not, which is that solar doesn't always make financial sense.