Rooftop, Solar

Listen Up: Tips for Lower Cost Rooftop Solar Installations

Headline: “Low Cost Rooftop Solar.” What’s not to like? If you’re a homeowner you can save thousands of dollars shopping around for the right installer and financing. If you’re an installer you are undoubtedly under competitive cost pressures — and strive to find ways to stay competitive even with the ITC extension.

So why does a standard rooftop solar system still cost about $20k before incentives (about $14k after the ITC)? The good news is that prices for solar panels have plunged from $1,000 each down to about $200. Inverter and racking costs have also declined. But overhead costs — items like marketing, sales compensation, contracts, financing documents, warehousing, engineering, back office labor and maintenance — have not seen much of a reduction (or in some cases have actually increased).

For installers, it is possible to lower total installed costs — mostly by simplifying and standardizing business processes, and taking advantage of new technology. Not only will these improvements save customers money, but they will also reduce the time it takes to complete an installation. And the great news is that these “overhead reduction” techniques are very inexpensive — or free. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show for five easy to implement tips for lower cost rooftop solar systems.



About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone. Credit: Shutterstock.