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2019 Solar Buyer’s Guide For SOCAL Homeowners 

Are you ready to make your solar purchase? Electricare’s 2019 Solar Buyers Guide will provide you with the most important info you need to know before choosing an installer.


We refer solar leasing as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. There are very few scenarios where solar leasing gives the home or business owner a real advantage. The big ploy for solar leasing is that you will save money starting day one on your power bill. Yet it is also true that financing options for solar have come a long way and even with purchasing your own system your monthly payment will be less than your current electric bill.

What those in the solar leasing market don’t tell you is that when leasing a system, you do not receive your 30% federal tax credit. Instead, the companies who is leasing the system enjoys the tax credit, a significant bonus that is not passed on as savings to the consumer. Furthermore, solar leasing agents don’t explain that they will be raising your rates every year just like the power companies do now. Typically, you will see a 3% to 4% increase every year you are in your lease, and most agreements last for more than 20 years.

In contrast, when you own your own solar panel system, you get the benefit of the 30% federal tax credit, and you are able to fix rate your energy bill if you finance the system, so you will not have any increase in your rate, this is how you will profit over time. Installing a solar panel system that you own will increase the value of your house by 17% according to Forbes, and you do not get any property increase when you lease.

scenario 1: You want solar and you dont need your roof replaced

Last year Tesla announced pricing for their new solar roof tiles. Tesla’s solar tiles are a replacement to traditional roof tiles and combine the power of solar technology, with the aesthetics of a standard roof tile.

And recently, our customers have been asking us how traditional solar systems stack up against Tesla’s new solar tile roof.

And even though we don’t sell them ourselves, we thought it would be helpful to breakdown the cost of using solar tiles against the standard solar roof panels.  

There isn’t much data yet to support any of Tesla’s performance claims and installations have begun for only a small crop of homeowners. Additionally,  there’s  still a very long waitlist that requires you to put down a $1000 deposit.  Tesla’s new solar tiles also require you to replace your existing roof outright, no matter the condition its in. 

However, a lot of us don’t need to have our entire roof replaced, and the ones that do, may find it better to go with a traditional solar panel setup.

So, for our own benefit and for yours, we decided to do some research and see how the solar roof tiles stack up against regular solar panels based purely on cost. 

scenario 2: You need a new roof and you want solar 

In the state of CA, we use an estimate of $5 per square foot for a standard shingle roof replacement and assumed that 1400 square feet of roof space being replaced, totaling to $7,000. That’s the typical roof size replacement most common with a 5kW or 6kW solar system

If we add the $7,000 to the standard solar roof install  from earlier ($24,000), the new total now comes to just about $31,0000 – still $20,000 less than the Tesla Solar Tile option.

scenario 3: Money is no object and you love the Tesla brand

Now, there are many of you out there with deep pockets, and you are going to buy the Tesla tile roof no matter what. You love the aesthetics, you love the brand and nothing we say will convince you otherwise.

But for the rest of us of us, it doesn’t make financial sense. Not yet.

Tesla’s tile roof is a great new technology, but it’s still in its infancy stages, which brings its own set of headaches. For most of us, it may be too much of a risk to put down so much additional money just for the sake of aesthetics. For those of you with deeper pockets, your options are pretty wide open. 

Performance and warranty

It doesn’t all come down to price.  Currently, Tesla does offer a warranty for their solar tiles, but they currently have no track record for us to compare. Your system’s long term reliability and your overall peace of mind should play a key role in your decision.  

The traditional solar modules we used for this study are manufactured by Sunpower and they’ve been making solar panels for over 30 years. Their performance and customer support is second to none and they offer the best warranty in the industry. 

Here at Electricare, we’ve been installing Sunpower solar panels for over a decade. This tried and true technology has performed exceptionally well for us with minimal hiccups.

Before you go solar, we highly recommend you follow these 5 tips. 

If you’re interested in putting a solar system on your roof or just have a general question, go ahead and give us a call or contact us below.

I’d like to get a quote for a traditional system

VIDEO CASE STUDY: Is a 5 year payback possible with Solar in 2019?