Make the Wise Choice: Stop Paying your Electricity and Save for your Children’s College Tuition instead!

You’ve been saving for your kids’ college since before they were born. But, the price of a college education is skyrocketing so your well-intentioned savings may not be enough to cut it. While your child may be incredibly smart, scholarships and financial aid are hard to earn today. If you’re looking for an extra boost to help you sock away a little more (aren’t we all?), then look no further.

Electricity costs are rising as fast college tuition rates. Every month you are paying $200-$300 to power your home. We aren’t advising that you let the lights go out and let your kids study for their SAT by candlelight.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could store that money monthly in a 529 for your child? That way, if your child does receive a scholarship, you can be proud of them and not worry about that saved money not be accessible.

When switching to solar power, you can choose if you would rather save a couple hundred dollars monthly or even become completely energy independent—depending on how much you want to plan to save for your kids’ future. (Or hey, if saving for college isn’t one of your financial needs, maybe you’d rather put an addition on the house or globetrot instead. Solar can help you do that too.)

Sure, college loans are an option, but students can find themselves crippled by tens of thousands of dollars in debt when they graduate. Plus, your child could be forced to shoulder more than the original cost of college due to super high interest rates. By installing solar power when your kids are young, you are using affordable financing options. Your house will churn out the money you need and help stave off debt from post-college years.

Show your children the importance of financially-wise decisions by planning ahead and considering your options.

Save Thousands Before this Offer Disappears!

Not only does solar power provide enough energy to power your house, it also frequently overproduces energy. “Net metering” provides a way for solar power users to bottle up their excess energy and sell it back to their utility companies for a credit! The credit can in turn be used to power your home at night or simply to further reduce your monthly utility bill.

Indiana recently passed Senate Bill 309, which can be unfortunate news for solar panel owners. Senate Bill 309 eliminated the requirement to “net meter” residential solar systems for publicly owned utilities. In other words, starting in the not-too-distant future, the excess energy generated by your Indiana home’s solar system will no longer mean money in your pocket. It will be given to the electric company instead, and they can sell it.

Fortunately, if solar systems are installed and operational by December 31, 2017, customers are grandfathered into the current net metering policy for the next 30 years!

Indiana homeowners, the time to act is NOW!

Icon Solar has received a timeline from the Indiana Distributed Generation Alliance indicating that people who are interested must have their interconnection application submitted by October 19, 2017 at the very latest. The whole timeline is copied below. But not to worry: with Icon Solar’s turnkey service, we take care of all of the details in the timeline.

If you are interested, be sure to contact us as soon as possible to take advantage of this tremendous benefit.

Timeline                                               Steps

October 19, 2017                              Application submitted

November 2, 2017                            Notice that application is complete (10 business days after submission)

November 28, 2017                         Notice re whether facility is approved (15 business days after notice)

December 12, 2017                          Notice re inspection; agreement sent (10 business days after approval)

December 14, 2017                          Customer signs and returns agreement sent (10 business days after approval)

December 31, 2017                          Installation complete

Ready to be the Leader of the Pack? Here’s How to Show Your Neighbors How to Save Thousands.

Doing something different can be nerve-wracking. In fact, only about 2.5 percent of the population are made up of “Innovators.” Innovators, the title bestowed upon the sect of the population most willing to adapt technology, aren’t hard to identify. Their natural habitat is camping outside Apple waiting itching to get their hands on the latest iPhone release. Innovators and Early Adopters – the brave group following the innovators who compose 13.5 percent of the public – are risk-takers, but they usually stand to reap most of the rewards. Solar panels aren’t brand new technology, but you may still be concerned about being the first of your family and friends to test the benefits.  

Over the course of our years as a company, we’ve heard many fears surrounding solar panels. To name a few: 

  • The fear of losing money 

Without your friends or neighbors to pave the way, you may be unsure if the savings really are as much as a company claims. We can break down for you just how much you can predict to benefit on your energy billhome value, and resale value. Don’t just take it from us, we have a community of pleased customers who share their bills as proof and can tell you about their experience.  

  • The fear no one else will like it 

We know “the Joneses” can be tough to keep up with. According to Investopedia, you should stop competing with families who flaunt their wealth because they’re barely getting by! With solar panels, not only do you have the cutting-edge, eco-friendly technology—you are saving money! It’s only a matter of time after you install that everyone notices your financially-savvy decision.  

  • The fear that your HOA won’t approve of solar panels 

What could be worse than investing in solar panels only to have your HOA halt the fun before it even starts. No need to worry, in nearly half of the states there are laws protecting solar panels called “solar access rights.” HOAs fear that panels could lower the worth of homes without understanding that they raise home value. We do all of the legwork to get necessary local permits before installation even starts. 

  • The fear it will look ugly  

When people imagine solar panels, they tend to have flashbacks of the blue and silver monstrosities of the 80s and 90s. But think about all the other styles of that era we also cringe over(neon sweaters with shoulder pads, we’re looking at you). Thankfully, that style has phased out. Icon Solar installs modern and sleek black-on-black panels that will enhance your home. 

We hear many more concerns, like, “will I receive the full benefits if I move?” “this sounds too good to be true,” or “I’d like to ask someone about their solar panels, but I don’t know anyone who has them.” We’re happy to talk about any individual concerns you may have. We work to educate our customers so that they are comfortable every step of the way and overcome their concerns. 

Think you’re ready to go solar?

Dear Wanda

 

 

Dear Wanda, 

I’ve been doing some heavy-duty research on solar panels recently, and I feel like I know all I need to about the benefits of panels, but how do I know when I’m ready to take the plunge and buy?
Indecisive Buyer

Dear Indecisive Buyer,

Props to you for doing your research. Solar panels are a large investment, but a wise one too! By now you probably know that solar panels save you thousands, improve the value of your home, and look good doing it. The benefits of solar power are huge ones, but we understand that officially signing off on a big purchase can be nerve racking. Luckily, our team of experts is here to guide you to a solar solution to fit your budget. And in case you weren’t already convinced, here are a few more reasons to go solar sooner than later:

Prices are at an all-time low (for now). The price of solar panels is dependent on a lot of factors, primarily the cost to produce the raw materials. Markets can be unpredictable, and we don’t know if or when other cost variables will increase. Since a consistent price on panels isn’t guaranteed, it’s best to buy before the cost drives up.

Installing in 2017 will get you a credit on your 2017 taxes.  You can get up to a 30 percent solar investment tax credit. Folks who installed solar panels on their homes last year received 30 percent of the cost of their solar panel system, in addition to any other refund they were owed. For some, this added up to around $10,000. On top of all the money you save with solar, the panels pay for themselves.

The longer you wait, the more money you’re handing over to the utility company. For every month you don’t install solar, that’s just another monthly utility bill. Try as you might to reduce your energy usage, those efforts normally don’t make a huge dent in your final bill. And trying to survive the Midwestern summers and winters without your AC or heat? Yikes. Electrical companies continue to raise their rates, but with solar power, your energy bill can cost less than a cup of coffee. Every. Single. Month.

Just like starting to save for your retirement when you’re young, installing solar power now gives you the opportunity to maximize your savings for years to come. So, what are you waiting for? Give Icon Solar a call today to set up a free onsite visit and start your savings now.

See you on the solar flip side!
Wanda, Your Wealth Warrior

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Five Words You Need to Know to Save Thousands

You’ve done your research and know when it comes to state-of-the-art solar panel technology, Icon Solar has the latest and greatest. You also know there is a lot involved in how those money-saving panels work (and work for you). These five need-to-know words will send you on your way to massive solar savings.

WandaSidebarTemplate1. Tax Credit
Simply put, a tax credit is a credit on your taxes. The credit amount is taken directly off your payment, rather than as a deduction from your taxable income. It is a credit that only offsets tax you would otherwise have to pay.

Right now, there is a 30 percent solar investment tax credit. That means you can claim your new home solar system on your taxes and receive 30 percent of the cost of your system in addition to any other refund you’re owed. This can be up to $10,000. Yep, you read that right.

2. Grid
When “grid” is mentioned in terms of solar power, we’re talking about the utility grid (don’t worry, we’re not talking about some elaborate mathematical graph!). Your home is hooked up to your community’s utility grid through power lines that give you electricity you use and pay for from the utility company.

The most common home solar system is grid-tied. With this system, your solar panels are still connected to the utility grid. While your solar panels will provide much of the electricity you need, remaining connected to the grid allows you to get electricity from it at night (when your panels aren’t producing power), or if you simply use more power than your panels can produce.

Additionally, grid-tied systems allow you to send surpluses from your own solar panels to the power company. When that happens, you get a credit with the power company. This credit allows you to pull that surplus amount of power your panels generated and you didn’t use from the grid at no cost. Your system will switch seamlessly to pull from the grid when you need it.

There are also grid-tied with battery and off-grid home solar systems.

3. Array
You most often see “array” in terms of a solar array or photovoltaic (fancy word for solar) array. Essentially, an array is your unique home solar system. When multiple solar panels are connected, and installed together, they are called an “array.”

At Icon Solar, we work with you to design, produce and install an array that is custom to your energy and aesthetic needs.

4. Inverter
An inverter is where the magic happens. To understand what an inverter does, first you have to know what DC and AC Power are. DC power, also known as “Direct Current,” is generated from your solar panels as the materials inside them are activated by the sun to create an electric current. AC power, also known as “Alternating Current,” is the electricity that you pull from the grid and use to power your home.

The inverter is the middle-man that transforms DC power into AC power. Each individual solar panel is connected to an inverter and to the other solar panels in your array. Together these inverters form a chain of power that travels into your circuit breaker on your electric panel to power your home.

5. Home Battery
A home battery is your home solar system’s right hand man. A home battery stores energy your home solar system overproduces so you can use it around the clock. It can also serve as a backup power source in power outages. By storing your solar energy, you’ll see even more electric bill savings and you can power critical appliances and devices in your home even when the grid is down. Home batteries mean less reliance on the grid, less fossil fuels and a lower carbon footprint.

Icon Solar is a certified installer of Tesla Powerwall, a complete home energy solution. Interested? Give us a call and learn more.

Now that you know how solar harnesses the free, abundant power of the sun (isn’t it awesome?!), you may be wondering how you get started on your home solar system. Lucky for you, Icon Solar has a total turnkey solution, which is a fancy way to say we’ll walk you through every step of your solar process.

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.

Solar Panels = Home Improvement

“I don’t think I’ll live in my home long enough to see the benefit of solar panels.” “I’m planning on moving within a few years, so I’m not sure solar panels are worth it.”

These are common obstacles our customers face when thinking about investing in a home solar system. We’re here to step you through it. Whether you stay in your home for the next year or 25 years, solar panels increase the value of your home and give you an instant return on investment while you live in your home. How? Let us tell you.

Think about home improvement. Sure, new cabinets and countertops in the kitchen mayWandaGraphic look lovely. Or re-surfacing the driveway may improve your curb appeal. But as soon as those improvements are made, they begin aging and losing value.  Now is the time to flip the idea of home improvement on its head. The one value-add to your home that you might be overlooking – the one that will immediately begin recouping your investment and begin making you money – is solar power.

When you think home improvement, it’s typically with top-of-mind goals to make your home more functional, luxurious or efficient and to increase the value of your home. But to get any return on your investment, you have to leave the very home you just improved! Very few investments in home improvement pay for themselves with a correlating home value increase and make you wealthier while you still own your home. Solar panels do both of those things for you. A home solar system makes your electricity production more efficient, well, because it produces your energy! Plus, (the best part) solar is significantly less expensive than continually dishing out cash for increasing electric rates.

Solar also adds to your home value. For every dollar in energy bill savings (trust us, you’ll be saving lots of dollars!), an additional $20 is added to your home value. What does this add up to? For each kilowatt (kW) of solar installed, home value increases an average of $5,911. The average home solar system is 5kW. That’s $29,555!

Compare that to other home improvement options like a new front door or garage door that add under $2,000 in home value or a master suite upgrade or bathroom remodel that add about $10,000. And, don’t forget the kicker, these all lose value over time. But cold hard cash in a pocket never grows old like Aunt Harriet’s gold and avocado kitchen appliances did.

Obviously, smaller home improvements like replacing your front door or garage door cost less, giving you a higher return on investment above 90 percent. But only if you sell your home. Larger, more costly improvements, like a master suite upgrade or bathroom remodel tend to only yield about 60 percent return. Even a backup power generation system yields under 70 percent. But, again, you only gain a return from these types of home improvement if you sell your home.

Compare all of that to solar panels, which can return upwards of 100 percent, and then some. With a home solar system, you reap the benefits of little-to-no electric bill while you’re still living in your home AND increased home value when you sell.

Plus, unlike any other type of home improvement that begins depreciating the moment you’ve finished it, the energy produced by solar panels can actually increase in value. As electric rates become more expensive, the power your solar panels generate increases in value.

So, next time you think home improvement, think solar panels and how they can make money for you regardless of how long you’ll be in your home.

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.

What Two Little Mice Can Teach You About Saving Money

Let us start where it all began (and you’ll have to read to the end to get it). In the late 1990s Spencer Johnson, M.D. penned a business motivation book titled Who Moved My Cheese? The book is less than 100 pages, but the message of the book is so powerful that it spent nearly five years on the New York Times bestseller list and continues to be one of the best-selling business books year after year.

Who Moved My Cheese? tells the story of two mice, Sniff and Scurry (these are the ones that can teach you an important lesson, here!), and two little people, Hem and Haw, all of whom spend their days in a maze looking for cheese. Early in the story the main characters find a room that has a lot of cheese. They return to that room every day and enjoy the cheese – that is, until one day when they enter the room and the cheese is gone.

The story goes on to describe the different reactions of the main characters to this Cheesedramatic and seemingly sudden change in their lives. Sniff and Scurry, who noticed the cheese pile was getting smaller every day and stayed prepared, didn’t waste any time overanalyzing the situation, but immediately went off into the maze in search of more cheese, which they eventually found (smart little mice, huh?).

Hem and Haw, on the other hand, didn’t notice that the stockpile of cheese was dwindling and instead viewed the absence of the cheese on that fateful day as sudden, unexpected and unfair. They had come to take the cheese for granted, to rely upon it, and they were not prepared when the cheese disappeared (we’re building an analogy here, folks).

Change tends to sneak up on all of us when we are not diligent. Every year, a new cell phone model is introduced by the major manufacturers and the rush to obtain the latest and greatest model is clearly a sign that changes in cell phone technology are not only anticipated but embraced. In other areas of our lives we are much more complacent. Take our use of electric power, for example.

Like Hem and Haw, many people take the electricity they purchase each month for granted, barely noticing the increases in their electric bill that have occurred over the years as they just keep writing their money away one check at a time. One day they may find that their electric has become unaffordable and they may consider it sudden, unexpected and unfair.

But, the fact of the matter is, if we pay any attention at all, that electric prices have increased over the years and that trend is likely to continue. Icon Solar customers have anticipated and prepared for that change by taking control of their electricity costs.

So, we come to our final point. Are you going to keep hemming and hawing about the rising costs of electricity or are you going to anticipate, prepare and embrace (like those smart mice!) the changing world and give your home solar power? Electricity costs are an ever-increasing percentage of your monthly income. It’s time you save that money.

Call the experts at Icon Solar today and let them guide you through the maze to the room full of sunshine and savings – and maybe even some cheese, too!

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.

 

Solar Power: How Much You Can Actually Save

You already know going solar saves you money, but you may still wonder exactly how much. Precisely how much solar panels can offset your electricity usage depends on a few variables, including how much electricity you use, the size of your solar system, the direction it faces and how much sun you get on your particular property.

This breakdown shows how the electricity offset by solar affects The Jones Family Savings at 123 Main Street, Anywhere, USA, dollar-by-dollar. These savings were calculated based on an average monthly electrical usage of 1,500 kilowatt hours (kwh) and a $0.12 cost per kwh. The Jones Family’s solar panels will offset 99 percent of those 1,500 kwh.

You’ll find it helpful to know how much electricity your home uses each month when you read this article. So go ahead and grab your electric bill if you need to, or look at it later to see how your house compares to the sample house here.

The Jones Family’s first hunk (like, thousands of dollars, people!) of savings came from the 30 percent solar tax credit. If you purchase and install your solar panels before December 31, 2016, you can claim your residential solar system on your 2016 taxes, which means a potential $10,000+ right back into your wallet in just a few short months.

FederalSolarSavings

The savings don’t just stop at the solar purchase. Your investment pays for itself, and then some. Check out the Jones family’s short and long term benefits from going solar.

HomeBenefitSavings

It looks pretty nice with it all spelled out, doesn’t it? We are big fans of the massive savings you gain from going solar, but the incredible environmental benefits are hard to ignore. Solar gives you clean energy, reduces your carbon footprint and does wonders for the world around us (talk about pretty nice!). Check out what the Jones family’s environmental impact.

EnvironmentalBenefits

Now you see all the value added both financially and environmentally from a solar investment, but you may still be wondering exactly how much it will cost you each month to go solar if you opt to finance your investment. Our team will work with you to combine our flexible financing options and any other incentives (don’t forget about that 30 percent federal tax credit!) to find you the best way to invest in your energy independence.

It’s time to give us a call! Then you can reap the sweet benefits of a little-to-nothing electric bill, increased home value and clean energy for your home.

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.

Home Solar Systems Can Save and Make You Money

DearWanda

Dear Wanda,
I’m thinking about installing solar by the end of the year, so I can get the tax credit back sooner when I file my taxes in a few months. But, I want to be sure I’m investing my money in the best way possible. Can you help me understand how solar will save me money? Does it increase the value of my home? What kind of rate of return on my investment can I expect?

Sincerely,
Wants to Go Solar (But Still Not Sure)

 

Dear Wants to Go Solar,
You’ve come to the right spot. It’s my job to defend your money and help you spend it in only the most beneficial ways. I can definitely help you feel total confidence in your decision to go solar. I’m NOT going to let you waste your money. (So go ahead and return some of those shoes you just bought right now. You don’t need five pairs.)

The short answers to your questions are yes, going solar will save you money (and a lot of it!); yes, solar panels increase your home value; and yes, you’ll get a pretty sizable return on your (very wise) investment.

Your investment in solar will save you massive amounts of money. For starters, you may be eligible to get a 30 percent federal tax credit. That means 30 percent of what you spend on your home solar system going right back into your pocket, which can be upwards of $10,000. Ah, that’s like music to my ears! If you purchase and install your home solar system by the end of this year, you can file it on your 2016 taxes. That means money back in your pocket in months. By using clean energy, your solar panels create more energy for you and pull less and less energy from the utility grid, so you’ll also reap the reward of a low-to-no charge on your electric bill.

Now that we’re clear on how solar saves you money, let me tell you how it can make you money.

Solar panels increase the value of your home. How much value you may be wondering? Tens of thousands of dollars. Yep, that’s right. Similar to finishing your basement, re-designing your kitchen, or any other major home renovation, residential solar panels make your home more desirable, put it one step above comparable homes and give it a more expensive price tag if you decide to sell it. For each kilowatt (kW) of solar installed, home value increases an average of $5,911. The average home solar system is 5kW. That’s $29,555 in increased home value. Cha ching!

Solar panels say to your neighbors or future potential buyers, “Hey, I’m a smart homeowner. I’m financially savvy and I totally pay less for electric than you do.” (I really don’t know why everyone else isn’t doing this already!)

So take my advice. (After all, I only give the best.) Save money and reap the sweet, sweet financial and environmental rewards of going solar. Your next step? Call Icon Solar. They’re the best in the business and will help every step along the way! You have to trust me, I’m a warrior of wealth, your Wealth Warrior.

Sincerely,
Wanda, Your Wealth Warrior

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Five Things You Need to Know About Solar Power and Your Home’s Value

“What if I move?” “I don’t think I’ll stay in this home long enough to get solar panels.” “If I’m planning on moving, why would I get solar panels?” “If I don’t live here long enough to pay off the investment, I can’t get solar panels.” These are questions and comments we’ve heard from some of our customers when they’ve begun to think about investing in solar panels for their home. Whether you live in your house your whole life, or you move in 5, 10, 15 years, going solar is a wise investment (that will pay off!).

WandaSidebar1.Solar panels increase the value of your home.
It’s that simple. An investment in solar panels isn’t only a way to save you money on your electric bill. Similar to finishing a basement, landscaping your yard or repaving your driveway, installing solar panels makes your home more desirable (and its energy source much more sustainable, we might add). For every $1 in electric bill savings, value increases by $20, adding tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your home.

2. Better (or equal) ROI to renovations.
Typically, when you think about increasing your home value, you think renovations like a bathroom remodel, deck addition or finished basement, or maybe more small scale like gardening or replacing a front door. Either way, one of your intentions is to increase your home value (with that ROI in mind). Where a renovated kitchen or bathroom can give you a 50-60 percent ROI, solar panels can give you upwards of 100 percent.

3. Less time on the market.
So maybe you purchase and install solar panels and then think about moving. Solar panels are an increasingly dominant residential trend, so having them on your home makes it stand out. Things like a big yard, renovated kitchen and solar panels will lead to a quicker home sale, less stress of staging and having that “always-ready-for-visitors” home. Don’t forget, solar increased your home value, so you’re walking away from that sale with more money, too.

4. Differentiates you from comparable homes.
If you’re in a neighborhood full of beautiful 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom homes with renovated kitchens and big back yards, solar panels could be your deal maker. Solar panels offer a new homeowner clean energy and a low electric bill. Plus, they’re already installed and turnkey-ready (so make sure they thank you). In what can sometimes be a volatile market, solar panels might as well be a real estate sign that says, “Pick me! I’ll save you money!”

5. Buyers want a home with a tiny electric bill.
Don’t you? If you invest in solar panels, you’ll save money on your electric bill while you live in your home. Then, if you move or decide to sell your home, the buyer inherits that itsy bitsy electric bill (as if already installed solar panels weren’t enough!).

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.