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February 13, 2022

There’s a vast misconception amongst homeowners in California that installing rooftop solar panels is a task best completed after summer, when high utility rates become the most transparent.

California households pay one of the highest rates in the nation for electricity, all year round, not just during the summertime.

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So why are California households so accepting of the utility price surges, like the 9% rate increase planned for early 2022 by PG&E?

In a state that gets over 3 thousand hours of sunshine a year, why are so many homeowners still paying inflated electricity prices?

Here are what we believe are the top 3 reasons why Californians may be undecided about switching to solar.


#1. Electricity prices are not advertised like gas prices


As the old adage goes: Out of sight, out of mind - The idea that something is easily forgotten or dismissed as unimportant if it is not in our direct view.  


High gas prices are boldly advertised in huge block letters at every gas station across the state of California. A price increase of even a few cents a gallon will send the social media-verse into a trending frenzy to boycott pumping gas. Alternatively, California’s three big utility companies seem to be given a pass. 

With Rooftop solar you generate all of your power from the sun, at a lower price per kilowatt hour (kWh) than utility-provided electricity.  

Nevertheless, California homeowners move into new homes daily and connect to one of the big three utility services without giving a second thought - No matter the cost, and no matter the unpredictable annual rate increases.


#2. False and misleading information is a common problem


There are countless stories of homeowners sold on owning their solar system, expecting to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit or the ITC (investment tax credit), all of whom soon realize that they didn’t qualify for it in the first place.

You may have even heard that placing panels on your roof will leave you with a lien on your home making it nearly impossible, when the time comes, to refinance or sell your property.


With these false claims being distributed, many are thinking that switching to solar is not as attractive as those hard working, door knocking solar canvassers make it out to be.

Fist bump to all of the canvassers!

Disclaimer:  We are only providing you an overview of the federal solar tax credit or ITC (Investment Tax Credit). This information does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance.


- What the federal tax credit is, and what it is not -


To keep it simple, tax credits only offset tax balances due. Whereas, tax rebates are paid to a taxpayer regardless whether a tax is payable. So, to benefit from the ITC, you have to owe federal income taxes. 


- Here’s the scope on selling your home with solar panels -
(more on this later)


No matter the solar program you choose to install solar panels on your roof, with the exception of a cash purchase, a UCC-1 financing statement will be filed for both a bank financed solar system (ownership) and a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement). 

Now you may be asking, “but what is a UCC-1 filing statement?”

First, a UCC-1 filing is not a lien on your home. Instead, a UCC-1 is a statement that the lender or solar company will file that indicates their legal right to repossess all solar equipment in the event that you stop making payments. The legal ownership is over the solar equipment only. There is no legal claim to any other part of your home.

The UCC-1 is confusing even for some mortgage lenders who lack experience with solar loans and agreements. 


So don’t feel bad if you’ve sent one of our solar canvassers walking. It’s not easy trying to explain what the UCC-1 filing is in under 5-minutes. 


#3 Solar is mostly being presented as a one-size fits-all solution

There are solar companies among us that only offer homeowners one type of solar program. These companies give such a compelling presentation, homeowners will wait until their circumstances change before switching to solar, not realizing they have other options. 

Let’s consider, for instance, the presentation of a one product, simple solar sales rep:


A one-size-fits-all recommendation will almost always include misleading statements in an effort to convince the homeowner they are being presented with the best option.

For example, representatives who only offer solar ownership through bank financing will swear by the ITC and rarely disclose that you have to owe federal income taxes to qualify for the credit, or else he risks losing the sale. 


They say, “By owning your solar panels, you get the 30% federal tax credit and if you apply the amount to your solar loan within the first 18-months, you can keep your payments low for the life of the agreement.”

How do we know this to be true? Because we were all designated a local solar company to schedule an in-home solar consultation with, and these were the conversations.

Here are two real life examples of homeowners switching to solar after being given more than one option.

#1. A real estate professional and a designer of custom domino carrying cases in Lake Elsinore, CA loved the idea of solar when they were presented with a solar ownership program back in August 2021 however, after closely evaluating their finances, they chose not to increase their debt-to-income ratio. In February 2022 they were presented with a solar PPA, and they’ll have solar panels on their roof before the spring time.

#2. Business owners in Menifee, CA who have a huge tax liability every year, were offered a solar PPA in November 2021 by one local solar company. In January 2022 they were presented with a solar ownership program from a different solar company. The monthly savings were substantial enough to make both solar options enticing; however, owning their system helped to reduce their tax liability, dollar for dollar through the federal tax credit program. 

You get the idea. 

What’s Next?

iPower Energy can help 

iPower Energy can help you decide what solar program is best for you by taking a consultative approach to truly uncover and understand your needs. We help customers recognize the difference between various solar programs, and recommend a solution that addresses long term energy savings, selling your home with solar, and qualifying for the federal solar tax credit. To make the switch to solar seamless, we work with the largest solar installers in California. 90% of our customers have solar in under 30-days, and 70% in under 25-days.

Contact us today to schedule a free in-home appointment with one of our solar sales consultants, who will sit with you, answer all of your questions, and help you choose a solar program aligned with your short and long-term goals.

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