7 Things to Consider Before Making the Switch to Solar Energy


The benefits of going solar are endless. From saving you money to creating a cleaner future for all, there’s no doubt that solar is a smart decision when it comes to powering your home or business. If you haven’t invested in solar yet, you likely still have questions about it. We’re here to dive into some things to consider before making your decision from the location of your home or business, to the type of company you choose to work with.

While these are important considerations, at Positive Energy we’re here to help guide you through them and answer any questions you may have along the way.

1. Is your property a good location for solar?

The amount of sun your roof gets, the amount of space available, the direction your roof faces, and whether it will need replacing anytime soon are all things to take into consideration when thinking about purchasing a solar energy system. For solar panels to achieve their greatest energy output, they must be unobstructed by any shading. Ideally, you will want direct sunlight during peak sunlight hours, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. The amount of sunlight your roof receives during these times will affect the system’s productivity.

Aurora solar layout

So maybe your roof is obstructed by trees, or it’s too small, or maybe it’s north-facing; not to worry, ground-mounted solar panels are also an option. For a ground-mounted system, all of the details above still apply for the space that your ground-mounted solar panels will occupy.

These may sound like a lot of details but at Positive Energy, we take care of all of them for you in our free consultation and property analysis.

2. Should you finance a solar system or purchase one upfront?

Well qualified homeowners can finance a solar energy system with no upfront cost, effectively eliminating your utility bill and replacing it with a (typically lower) fixed monthly payment, allowing you to start benefiting from day one; you can think of it as paying a mortgage versus rent. Once your loan payments are completed, your solar panels continue producing free energy for the life of the system.

Here are some additional perks of trading in your electric bill for a low solar loan payment by financing your system:
  • Your monthly solar loan is stable and never increases, unlike utility rates do

  • There are several solar financing options available to you, which your Solar Advisor will walk you through to help determine which option is right for you

  • You get to keep any state and/or federal tax credits for which you may be eligible

  • Many customers report that their loan payments and remaining power bill are still less than their original electricity bill

Positive Energy Solar is partnered with Nusenda Credit union, Homewise, and other local lenders (no need to be a member to qualify). Together we offer customers low-interest financing for solar installation and solar upgrades.

If you’d prefer to purchase your system upfront (many of our clients do this as well), you’ll receive the greatest financial return on investment and save an additional 3% (average) on interest. Amortized, you can expect a Return-On-Investment (ROI) around 8-12 years depending on your current electricity costs and the rate of increase (avoided cost) from the utility.

Additional perks of purchasing your solar system outright:
  • Purchasing your solar system outright maximizes your energy savings as over time, your system will pay for itself with how much you save

  • You may also use a home equity loan, also known as a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), which can also be tax-deductible

  • You get to keep any state and/or federal tax credits for which you may be eligible

  • You own the system immediately

3. What incentives are available for solar panels in 2022?

Sun tax credit

Thanks to the extension of our state’s solar tax credit this most recent legislative session, by installing solar panels on your home, you are still eligible to receive great tax incentives that can knock off close to 40% of the total cost of your investment. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is currently a 26% federal tax credit on residential and commercial solar installations all throughout 2022. New Mexico offers an additional 10% solar tax credit (up to $6,000), but has a budget cap and is based on a first-come-first-served application process - so don’t delay! You could miss out on incredible savings.

When financing a system you will still get to take advantage of the 26% federal tax credit available until December 31, 2022, as well as the 10% state solar tax credit just the same as if you purchased your solar system outright.

4. Does your solar energy system need batteries?

Best solar batteries for home

Your solar energy system does not require batteries to operate. Net-metering is an option for those who would rather have a solar energy system that is grid-tied without battery backup. Net-metering is a billing mechanism through the utility that offers a 1:1 credit to homeowners with grid-tied solar energy systems. With net metering, you are credited for any excess electricity that your solar energy system sends to the grid. This happens when your system produces more electricity than you are using.

But really when it comes to considering batteries, the decision depends on your energy needs. With your solar system, are you looking for an emergency backup-power solution that ensures critical items have power (e.g. refrigerator and lights)? Or are you interested in a more robust option that can power your entire home autonomously for sustained periods during an outage? Maybe you want to stretch energy collected from the sun during the day into the evening and night so you can utilize more of the clean energy your solar system produces while reducing dependence on the grid. It’s entirely up to you. Without batteries, you will still be producing clean energy from the sun and reducing dependence on the grid; the difference is that in instances of power outages your solar system is designed to shut off (known as anti-islanding protection) to avoid sending power to the grid and electrocuting workers who are doing their part to get the grid operating again. In this case, you will not have backup power unless you have batteries.

Moving forward, here's what you need to consider when selecting the right company and equipment.

5. Does the solar company sub-contract any of their work?

You might be surprised how many solar companies do not perform the actual work, but instead, send you to several different entities in a piecemeal fashion just to get you to the point of sale. This leads to challenges throughout the process as you may never know who you are dealing with next in your quest for clean solar energy. Companies like this are known as Solar Lead Generation Companies and Solar Dealers.

Here are some brief explanations of the types of companies out there:

  • Solar Lead Generation Companies: These companies generate leads for other solar companies. They act as a marketing & advertising firm for solar but do not represent a single company.

  • Solar Dealers: These companies can sell solar products and services on behalf of another company. They typically hire 1099 independent contractors as their sales team and then have a subcontractor perform the work.

  • Solar Installers (subcontractors): These companies strictly install solar panels for other solar dealers who have hired them to perform the work.

  • Solar Brokers: Like a Real Estate broker, solar brokers do your shopping for you. They provide you with multiple bids on solar as opposed to a lead generation company that will sell your contact information to multiple solar companies that bid to you.

Your safest, most worry-free bet, will come from working with a solar EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction).

  • Solar EPCs (turn-key solar installer): These solar companies handle every step of the solar process from advertising, sale, design & project management, to installation and servicing.

Working with a solar EPC, which we are, keeps you assured as we handle every step of the solar process from advertising, sale, design & project management, to installation and servicing if ever needed down the road. With 27+ years of business, you can trust that we’ll be here to take care of your needs.

6. Are you familiar with solar panel warranties, coverage, and their differences?

Solar is a big investment, and it’s important to ensure that you are covered from the day you sign your contract throughout the life of your system for decades to come.

All of our solar panels come with a 25-year warranty (Product, Power & Workmanship) and includea 30-year extended insurance warranty (the SolarInsure Advantage Warranty program) which assumes up to 100% of the risk of your solar arrays for all mechanical and electrical failures due to normal use, even beyond the manufacturers’ warranty.

Take a look at the difference in coverage and protection for yourself:

Solar Panel Manufacturer


Inverter Manufacturer

  • Parts covered 10-25 years

  • 30-year warranty for panels, inverters, optimizers, and racking

  • Parts covered 10-25 years
  • Labor not covered
  • Labor covered at $100/hr up to $300 in truck rolls for 30 years
  • Labor covered $0-$25/hr for 0-5 years
  • Roof penetrations not covered
  • Roof penetrations covered for 30 years
  • Roof penetrations not covered
  • No ownership transfer fee
  • No ownership transfer fee
  • Ownership transfer fee up to $399

That’s a policy you own with 100% coverage for parts and labor, zero deductible, gap insurance in the event that something happens with the manufacturer, and an enhanced roofing warranty that guarantees any roof penetrations made will be watertight.

7. Does the prospective solar company near you provide the best long-term value?

A 30-year warranty is only as good as the company offering it. Make sure you are working with a company that is more than likely going to be around for the length of your warranty, and beyond! At Positive Energy, we pride ourselves on not only being a homegrown business since 1997 but also having a dedicated service team in case you need support down the road. If you do need support, all it takes is a phone call. With an in-house service team, our customers avoid the headache of not knowing who to call or who they will be working with next as is often the case with solar companies that are not Solar EPCs.

While solar is a big investment, we make it easy through transparency and support every step of the way. We will walk you through the process and ease your mind when it comes to questions and any potential concerns you may have when considering the switch to clean energy. To learn more, schedule a free consultation today!