Absolutely. Unfortunately, it’s not something most people are aware of or even know how to look up.
Some electricity companies will publish the information on their website. Others don’t mention it. All electricity companies fluctuate prices. They have to charge according to the market variables for their source of power. We have seen some drops in rates, but not in recent years. The overall trend of all companies are increased rates over time.
Click below on the name of your electricity provider for a link to their website. These are just a few for examples within our local area. You may need to look up yours online or call them for a printout of the information.
Kansas City Power & Light: Rate pricing history gives a complete year by year account whether it changed or not. We aren’t sure why more companies don’t give this transparent of a comparison so you can know what to expect.
Tri-County didn’t publish their annual increases, but this is an a note about the 2013 increase (1.6 cents per kilowatt hour sold ends up being about 10% increase in your bill). Call them directly for more complete information. This isn’t their complete increase history.
MEC does not show anything beyond their current rates online. MEC is on a set rate. They are contracted at the current rate for a certain number of years. What happens at the end of the contract? It’s reasonable to expect a massive sudden rate increase, considering all the other companies have increased steadily, according to expenses, over years of time.
AMEREN MO does not show anything beyond their current rates posted online. Ameren rates have steadily increased over the past several years.
Missouri Public Service Commission approves rates and it’s usually about an 11 month process. Again, all rates are subject to change because of the need to cover expenses within the company providing your power. PSC website gives all the information on this subject but a faster answer would be in calling your electricity company and asking how rates have increased (or sometimes it’s on your bill). They can tell you over the phone when and how much those rates have increased.
This is one of the topics covered in our free bids, because you can expect utility rates to rise with expenses driving that price up pretty steadily.
However, when you buy your renewable energy system, you have that on site and at a fixed rate for 25 years under warranty. Of course, they don’t blow up or melt down at that point – that’s just the warrantied period. So you may benefit beyond the timeframe in our bid.
In our free quote, we show real numbers based on hard facts, such as…
- Your actual electricity history – what you use, and month by month to show your seasonal variables (highs and lows compared to summer/winter sun variables).
- Your actual utility rates of what you’re currently paying per watt
- Your location (latitude and longitude)
- Historical weather patterns
- Incentives that are available only if you go solar (you can’t get them if you just pay your electric bill forever)
- Seasonal sun patterns
- And it shows solar as a fixed rate because the energy it produces is free. You’re just buying equipment – The power it makes is always free. Your utility company is a variable in that aspect. They can (and do) increase your rates at a whim. The grid supply of power is guaranteed to get more expensive and will never be free.
- Charts in our free bid are based on facts. They show buying the equipment and paying for it to be installed (free power) is cheaper than the utility companies selling you power. It also shows the investment not only being “good” but that it’s better than other investments you can invest in – such as stocks and bonds, IRAs, etc.
Reach out to us online or by phone if you have any questions. We’re eager to help!
- This extra 5 pounds per square foot will cover the weight of the equipment and will avoid the need/expense for an engineer to come in later to assess the roof before installing solar.
- We add solar to buildings without extra load added to the structure all the time and the engineers sign off – but the roof weight load standard is challenged when we get really heavy snows.
- A recent heavy snow in Macon (2019) amounted to 22 ½ pounds per square foot for just the snow load. The standard roof weight rating is 20 pounds per square foot (total). Think about an old roof having a snow load that is already 2 ½ pounds per square foot above the “standard allowance” PLUS an additional 5 pounds per square foot of solar equipment on top of that.
- We recommend clearing solar panels for production purposes. It can be the difference between them producing nothing (when they’re buried deep and it’s overcast) to running all your house’s lights for free (even with a bit of ice stuck to the panels and clouds are blocking the sun).
- You don’t want to have to think about roof weight loads, especially with a brand new building that should last well past your lifetime.
- A 6/12 roof angle is ideal (that’s close to a 30 degree angle).
- Other angles will work, but you’ll sacrifice productivity of your solar equipment.
- This increases the production by 15% over east and west facing options.
- Ground mounted arrays will cost more per watt because, instead of using a pre-existing structure (the roof), there are more materials required to build that structure (the ground mounted array – everything below the panels).
- Pole ground mounts can change the angle for seasonal sun angle changes. The more adjustments it makes, the more it will cost.
- Stationary ground mounts are the least expensive ground mount option. They can be made into shade structures, but the additional height will be additional cost. So if you want it done as inexpensive as possible, the lowest part will be close to the ground.
Unless you’re exempt from paying taxes, then YES YOU CAN!
How it works: you turn in your “paid in full” receipt from us to your accountant. Talk with your accountant. They will know how many years you can go back (we have customers report getting a check in the mail for taxes paid in the last few years).
What if you don’t have tax liability this year? Your solar tax credit will roll over until you can use it.
What if you only use a portion of the tax credit this year? Your remaining credit will roll over until you can use it.
Non-profits don’t pay taxes, so the tax credit does not apply to them. However, there are PPA options for non-proftis. Basically, a PPA buys and “owns” the system and gains the 30% tax credit. Then they “sell it” to the non-profit after several years – because they’re not interested in owning the system as much as they are getting a tax credit for it. This can be a great way for a non-profit to have an additional discount to their system price. We warn you to look into the PPA you plan to work with and make sure that it will be in your best interest. Some are ripping off the non-profits, rather than benefitting from the dynamics of the tax credit. We suggest you compare multiple and do your research before using this method.
1. The sooner you make your own energy, the sooner you stop paying someone else to own the power plant. A lot of people are financing their system, paying on the loan at the same rate they were paying the utility company on their monthly power bill… Only these smart spenders will stop paying after a few years and will no longer have that bill.
2. The sooner you get your system, the better chance you have to receive assistance in paying for that system (as in local and federal incentive programs). Once quotas are met, incentives go away. Waiting is quite risky when you understand why incentives are there in the first place!
3. Systems are affordable right now.
4. Systems are plenty efficient right now. if you wait for the ultimate system, it will never happen because they’ll keep improving the science as long as people need energy.
5. Land is getting torn up to drag fossil fuels across the country. The more we stop using them, the less motivation and funding will go to those costly, inefficient, and unsightly methods.
6. Local solar and wind power gives power to the community regardless to what happens beyond it. Anyone who has been without power due to power lines down (ice storms, city repairs, or other unpredictable events) knows the helplessness of being at the city’s mercy. Having collected daily on your own property, along with some batteries to store extra energy (off-grid or grid-tie up to 100%) is empowering.
7. Your utility company has and will continue to raise the cost of energy. Owning your own system is a fixed expense.
The real question is “Why would you wait?”
In a word: AMAZING
We wouldn’t sell and install this in Missouri with our wild tornado winds if it would pose a problem at all.
This is how solar panels we use (SolarWorld brand) exceed international testing standards for quality. It’s one reason why we don’t settle for poor quality equipment – you need them to handle the weather!
International requirements = hail at 50 mph, Hail launched at the panel in the video = 262 mph
Baseball hitting panel, panel soaking in a pool, several people standing on the panel, a grown man jumping on the panel, cars driving on the panels, trucks driving on the panels… The video they made is really the best “show me” example of the reliability of these panels.
You don’t have to baby them too much. They’re made to be an exterior fixture to a home, and are designed with all that entails.
It could, but there are alternative installation methods we can use if that’s a problem for your insurance company.
Poking a hole through any roof would void the warranty. That is a method of installation that is perfectly acceptable, and it’s the cheaper way to install.
However, we have a lot of options for installation. Wed let you decide what you want to do based on price and warranty effects.
We are happy to take a look at your roof type and at your warranty to ensure you’re not voiding anything.
Yes. The Appraisal Journal reports the increase in appraisal value for a home with a solar PV system to be 20 times the annual reduction in operating costs according to its measure of energy efficiency. So, if a PV system can reduce the electrical bill by $3,600/year ($300/month), there will be a $72,000 increased appraised value from that PV system.
Now more than ever people are willing to invest more in their home purchases when equipped with solar PV systems, because people understand the immediate and long-term value of the system.
No. Although your property value increases in value, there is legislation in most states that prevent your property taxes from increasing.
We can build sunrooms, shade structures, covered parking, or just a ground mounted system to meet your needs.
It is very common to have solar supported by the ground rather than your building.
When we inspect your location, we evaluate the building for integrity and we wouldn’t put up solar on a building we didn’t think could support it.
Yes, but OTG Solar may not be willing to install them. Additionally, if you try to alter the system yourself, you will void warranties (for obvious reasons).
OTG Solar is very choosy with what products they install. Customer satisfaction is priority, and sometimes what looks good online doesn’t work well with the rest of the system (or because it’s junk). Due to poor performance of “thrifty renewables” OTG Solar will only install affordable & dependable products that pass their quality standards.
OTG Solar has teamed up with some of the top leaders of the renewable industry, accessing a wide variety of products that will perform and give necessary durability to meet your needs. Unless you’re looking for cheap junk, they’ll probably find just about anything you can imagine within their recommended products.
We’re glad you asked!
There is always more information than we can put on our site on the subject. Frankly, we like to keep it simple for those who don’t want to know all the details. But here are links if you like to research:
Energy.gov This is the governing body over everything energy related. This is pretty much all the information a researcher could ask for. Grab a cup of joe and get comfortably seated. This site is going to take a while to digest.
Don’t bother reading up about solar and wind on your electricity company’s website or office. We’ve looked over local electricity companies’ websites and are disappointed with the outdated and sometimes simply wrong information about renewable energy. The biggest problem we have with what they say is “it’s not reliable” or “it costs $10/kilowatt hour” and things along those lines. We like electricity companies. They provide a grid to give excess to and draw needed power from without requiring any battery backup – they’re called “grid-tie” systems. The feelings don’t seem to be mutual, regardless of what they say about renewable energy. What you can count on is this – they don’t want to loose your business. The truth is, the grid benefits from grid-tie systems by receiving local, green power that reduces the flow from their expensive, outsourced energy supplies.
Renew MO These are renewable advocates for Missouri! WE LOVE THEM! They work hard to keep things fair and encourage progress. Anybody can contact them if they feel someone is not following legal practices. They push stuff through with renewable law makers. They really do a lot more than that. This is a great resource for everyone in support of renewable energy.
Public Service Commission They govern all electricity companies. For example: Electricity rate increases are passed through PSC and take about 11 months to process/approve.
DSIRE This is all about energy efficiency/upgrades, rebates, incentive programs, tax rebates, grants, loans… WE LOVE THEM! They keep us all up to date on this site in a FANTASTIC manner. Click on your state, then “apply filter”, then “technology”, then “renewable energy”, then “solar technology”, then at the bottom click “apply filters.”
When someone wants solar, they need a lot of information to make a fully informed decision. We want that to be easy and save you the time researching when you just want to know the facts.
So we’ll send an energy advisor to visit you in the comfort of your home/office. The free bid will review the size of system you need, and all the investment details – like the pay-off date, number of trees saved during the life of the system, & all the details to make an informed decision.
We account for business tax effects, location, shade, annual usage, rebates, your current utility rate… & other things that would take you a very long time to find & calculate on your own.
Is your accountant, friend, cousin, brother, or wife not sure about your decision? No problem. We’re happy to answer everyone’s questions. This is the time to ask away! Free bid = free answers.
Obligations to us after the bid? Just let us know if you accept or decline the opportunity. That’s it.
Prices include all the hardware and installation work necesary to provide you with a fully operational solar PV system.
Call your electricity company and ask them for a printout.
Literally ask “I need to get a printout of the past 12 months of my usage.”
They usually email it right over to you within a day.
We hope you’ll call us today for a free bid, so we can give you a thorough review of these important decision-making facts.
Incentives come and go. When they’re here, take advantage of them. It’s a real bummer to decide too late, and the price of your system increases simply because you put off making the decision.
Internal Tax Credit: 30% of total cost. This can include anything on our bill related to your solar project. Need a tree trimmed or removed to get better sun exposure to solar panels? Need a new roof before you install the panels? If it is done at the time of the solar installation and is on our bill with the solar, the tax credit will apply to those expenses too.
REAP Grant: Up to 25% of cost after tax credit. This is for farmers and small business owners. You can only apply once, and it’s not an easy grant to write. But you’re welcome to hire anyone you like do that for you. We can also recommend a company our customers have had great success working with if you need suggestions.
Financing can turn a monthly expense into an asset: Committees everywhere are eager to learn how to turn a bill they’ll never get rid of into an asset.
Some financing options (such as Show Me PACE and HERO) are tax assessments (pay at the end of the year based on your savings from that year) that can make it cash flow positive in one year, and it stays with the property if you choose to sell that building.
We offer financing to all our customers: Options with each lender vary depending on current market interest rates, your credit situation, and other common loan variables.
- These are lenders we are approved installers for.
- We will assist you in applying for this loan, but the loan itself is directly between you and the lender.
Let our team know what you’re looking for in a loan:
- Zero $ down
- Deferred initial payment (to allow project to be completed and the system to start saving you money before you start paying on your loan)
- Lowest possible interest rate?
- Lowest possible payment?
Get a free bid. That’s a reliable number based on your unique needs. We’ll run your eligibility options and see what you qualify for. You can let us know what you need out of your financing and we’ll see what we can do for you.
If you want to research this topic yourself check out DSIRE is a great place to start. Click on your state, then filter for the topic you want (solar). OR you can save your own time and let us do it (by getting that free bid).
In short: Batteries are optional.
Without batteries, grid-tie applications’ safety protocol will shut your system down automatically when city power goes out. Only backup energy storage of some sort will allow you to enjoy your system when the grid goes down.
Batteries can apply in a few situations:
- Some customers get batteries so they can function “off-grid” when the grid goes down. It all depends on how often your power goes out (because of the utility company servicing lines, lines down from storms, etc) and how much you’re willing to spend to avoid that issue. Sometimes batteries aren’t necessarily the right solution, but a good backup generator instead. We can help you sort out what is right for your situation.
- Some customers get battery backup to offset their more expensive night-utility rates if (and only if) they don’t have 100% of their energy usage covered by solar. To really explain this would require a long lesson on prime solar power storage hours, net metering agreements and how they vary from one utility company to another, and how battery storage works. If you would benefit from this dynamic, we’d let you know during your free bid and evaluation & we’d probably just suggest you get more solar panels to compensate rather than battery storage.
Tesla makes sleek and reliable energy storage in a less expensive form. Tesla is a lithium ion battery, which lasts longer than the other types. We’re happy to get you on the waiting list with a deposit. They’re not stocked and ready to ship – we’ve got a customer who has been on the list for years and is still waiting for their Powerwall.
There are many other types of batteries, and we can get you those without the waiting period. Those types include: lead-acid, sealed, AGM, gel, & saltwater.
Backup generators for off-grid applications are usually unnecessary because a properly sized off-grid system with a properly sized battery bank is almost always sufficient without any need of backup generators. It never hurts to get double insurance though, and we often install generators in addition to solid off-grid systems we install.
If you also want a generator without all the batteries, we sell and install generators that are already set up to interface with the inverters.
We advise clients to go with LED lights for various reasons. LEDs are not the spiral shaped CFL bulbs. Here is a bit of comparison:
60 watt incandescent bulb = 13.5 watt CFL bulb = 9.5 watt LED bulb
LED lights offer a fraction of the energy use of the standard lightbulb.
Do you have a hard time getting everyone to turn off lights when they’re done using them? At the 2016 NEMO AG Show, we gave out several LED bulbs in a 4-pack box to people requesting bids for solar. Each bulb is the equivalent illumination of a 60-watt standard bulb. That whole 4-pack of bulbs would use less power than 1 standard lightbulb! So, 4 lights on with LED lights would be less power used than 1 standard lightbulb. LED bulbs also last longer than a standard bulb.
LED lights have a more traditional lightbulb look (rather than those CFL spirals).
LED lights give off a more natural light, and don’t flicker, so you don’t get headaches.
CFL bulbs often give people headaches because the color of the light and the way they flicker irritates eyes.
CFL bulbs contain dangerous mercury. So when one is broken (kids playing… or just throwing it in the trash when spent), a serious hazard occurs because the mercury is then airborne. All people and pets should immediately evacuate the premises until adequately aired out and the area is properly cleaned up with a special (head to toe) suit to avoid breathing in mercury. Nobody wants that hazard around them.
For safety, energy savings, and more modern appearance – OTG Solar promotes the use of LED bulbs when giving energy evaluations prior to sizing a customer’s system.
Yes. There are some features we need to make it work well with your particular system though. Many of OTG Solar’s off-grid customers choose to have a backup generator. With everyone they’ve ever dealt with, none have ever needed to turn their generators on.
Our generators are already set up to interface with the inverter.
There is no way to accurately answer this question. Too many variables come into play.
Every variable that affects your current energy bill will change that price for you. Rather than going by square footage, age of the home, insulation type and thickness, type of windows, your habits of turning off lights when not needed, whether or not your exterior doors have adequate weather stripping… It’s best take the facts you can count on.
When OTG Solar gets your past 12 months of energy use in kW hours, they know exactly how to scale your system to meet your needs. It requires your use in all 4 seasons of the year. Any other way is just a guessing game.
That said, it’s very important that you let OTG Solar know if you plan to do any remodeling (in the next few months) that will affect energy consumption before they make up your bid. Installing new windows, energy efficient appliances, and switching to LED lighting can affect your bid considerably. OTG Solar can adjust your bid based on what you have now, and what you’re switching to (easy label comparison with some basic math).
Two identical homes may require completely different systems. Without the facts of your energy use, don’t bother with a guess. It won’t be anything you can base a decision on.
Sufficient, suitable roof area or property is required to install the PV modules.
A small space inside/outside the house is needed to mount the inverter and various switches.
The inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the PV modules to the AC electricity used in the home.
Ventilation needs will be determined at the time of your physical site inspection prior to the design of your system.
Installation for a residential system requires about two days with minimal disruption.
General requirements are the same as residential installation. In sort: somewhere to set up the solar where it’s not shaded.
However, commercial installation space and time will obviously depend on the size of the system required for that location.
A customized bid will outline all system requirements for you to evaluate prior to signing a contract for installation.
First, read our FAQ Self-installation: The Reality Checklist
Once you’re sure it’s a good idea, call or email us for equipment.
Once you make payment, we send you what you paid for. Just like any other purchase, we can track the goods and help with anything delivery related. Beyond the shipment arriving complete and in good order, the rest is up to you.
See Consulting DIY Projects vs. Professional Installation for more information about getting help with your own installation and the limitations involved in consulting rather than paying us to do the full installation.
It’s really the same thing, and at the same cost per hour, but it can end up costing way more time paid for when our staff spends time teaching and/or fixing errors done by the homeowner.
The thing to consider when hiring us for consulting is this: “Do I need them to take over or do I need to be trained (by OTG Solar) to do it myself?” Or maybe what you want is for us to take over, but explain it briefly to you afterward.
We want to respect your budget, and we also want to respect those who truly want to pay a consultant to know all the steps of the process. You’ll either be paying us to show you what to do, or you’ll pay us to come in and do it for you. Being hourly, you must be clear on what you want so we don’t waste time explaining things if you just need us to do a certain portion of the project for you without your involvement.
Typically, those who install their own system already know a great deal about the installation and just forgot a step – or something new came up. We don’t want to take away from the experience of “do it yourself” by taking over without sharing what it is we’re doing. So just tell us what you expect before we arrive.
When the homeowner incorrectly installs equipment, or damages the equipment, they may void the warranties. You can read through all the information you get with your equipment to avoid that for ignorance purposes, but nothing can save you from lack of experience no matter how informed you may be on what you read in the paperwork.
What you do to your stuff is up to you to fix, not our insurance. Additionally, we will not provide a workmanship warranty with any system that was customer-installed, even if we help.
So what we mean to say here is this:
We don’t want to discourage anyone from self-installation when they’re fully capable and prepared to handle the job. We equally dislike seeing people in over their heads, and running out of funds to replace broken stuff – or maybe finish the system only to find out your electricity company won’t allow it to be turned on.
We’re happy to be hired for whatever you need us for. Give us a call no matter where you’re at, and we’ll do everything in our power to help you out at an hourly rate – whether it’s over the phone or on site. Some travel rates may apply depending on how far we have to travel to get to you.
Installing a system on your own may produce a system that doesn’t work.
Do you have funds set-aside for that? Is there anything hooked up to power that would create an emergency should your power be down while you fixed the problem?
Working on a roof is dangerous.
It’s not worth risking your life to save a little expense on your system. If you don’t know how to be safe up there, or have no experience working on a roof or wherever you’re doing the installation, leave it to the professionals.
How to string batteries and panels is not common knowledge.
It’s not just “plug in and go”… as it may appear. Electrical wiring can confuse smart people. Without proper training in solar applications, a master electrician couldn’t just throw together a solar project. Small oversights can ruin equipment.
If you purchase products without installation, all staff assistance with your project will be charged at an hourly rate.
If you just need a little help, you may save some money doing it yourself. If you need more than a little help, you’ll only save money by hiring OTG Solar without touching the project at all.
Having experience with a friend’s system may or may not provide the experience you need.
Are you using the same exact products and installing the same type of system? Did your friend properly install their system? Did it pass all inspections? Have any changes been made to the system hardware since your friend purchased their system?
Do you know all the rules and regulations for your utility company or the national electric code?
If your system does not meet all regulatory standards, you will not be permitted to hook to up the grid, and it may not be approved by local authorities to be allowed to use it at all (on or off grid in-town applications). It will be your responsibility to know what you need and how to meet all requirements.
OTG Solar includes custom system design, workmanship warranty, and assistance with incentive applications only on projects they are hired to do full installation on.
Equipment manufacture warranty is void if you improperly install your own system.
Financial reasons are usually enough for most people to leave it to the professionals (incentive options, warranty options, and no out-of-pocket loss to you if something goes wrong during installation).
Others are happy to forgo those options to get renewable energy at the most minimal cost to them or simply for the experience of doing it on their own.
If you read all the above and are totally confident and fearless with your decision to do the installation on your own, then go for it!
If any of the above concerns you, it’s probably best to hire OTG Solar to take care of the project from start to finish. Relax with a tall glass of lemonade while you watch them sweat it in the hot, un-shaded solar space.
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