With all of the talk regarding solar energy going around and the confusion about it, is it really a good time to plunge in, help the environment and, in turn, help yourself save money on energy or should I wait a while and see if solar energy becomes even cheaper in the future?
There has never been a better time than now to go solar. It used to be that you could avail of innovative solar programs such as a power purchase agreement only in very prominent areas of the United States.
Now you can avail of these solar energy programs in the CNMI. Homeowners could save money by buying energy from solar cheaper than utility energy without any up-front costs to the homeowner.
There are two different programs being offered: a direct purchase or a power purchase agreement. Either one you choose, there’s no wrong way to go solar.
You would want to consider a direct purchase on your system if you have a tax liability. With this option, you’re entitled to take advantage of the 30 percent investment tax credit made available by the federal government. You can purchase a solar energy system and save 30 percent on your taxes, dollar for dollar; however, you will be responsible for providing insurance coverage and providing maintenance so your system stays in optimal condition for the next 30-plus years. Remember, this makes sense if you have a large tax liability. If not, then a power purchase agreement is for you.
When signing up for a power purchase agreement, there are no up-front fees, so the savings start when you turn the system on. The solar energy provider is responsible for all up-front costs such as system design/engineering, material procurement, installation, commissioning, utility interconnection agreements, permitting, commissioning, insurance and maintenance. Adding all is this up becomes a huge cost and a liability for the solar energy provider but not for the homeowner. The only thing the homeowner needs to do is sit back, relax and save money!
Power purchase agreements are a godsend whenever a typhoon is brewing, as the homeowners are not the one getting butterflies in their stomach; that stress and liability is on the solar energy provider and not the homeowner.
When shopping for solar, make sure you pick the right company who will be by your side for the life of the agreement, a company that has multiple installations and is very well versed in solar energy.
Another big plus to solar energy is to provide energy security for the islands without relying on fossil fuel from Singapore and keeping the money on the island where it belongs.
And remember, going solar now puts you in the class of being an environment hero! Pope Francis said in a statement earlier this year that we are the stewards left in charge by God to take care of our beautiful planet. Well said, indeed.
Biba solar! Biba CNMI! (PR)