SolarCity has already installed rooftop solar systems on about 4,000 homes within Fort Bliss, but now it wants to expand into the rest of El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Fort Bliss is the second-largest army post in the country with head quarters in El Paso.
“We’ll grow as fast as the market will allow. We’d love to put a solar system on every house in El Paso,” explained Eric Wittenberg, a SolarCity senior vice president. SolarCity is offering solar power systems with no upfront costs and owners can pay as little as $35 a month for their solar electricity. The typical bill will probably range from $35 to $75, says SolarCity.
SolarCity installs its own solar rooftop systems for no or very little cost, so homeowners can afford to use solar power but not have to buy their own systems, which can cost up to $20,000 or more. Customers still use grid-connected electricity too, but they need less.
A FICO score of 680 is needed for SolarCity to accept a homeowner as a customer that will receive solar panels. Also, the customer’s roof must receive adequate levels of sunshine to generate enough electricity to make the installation worthwhile.
El Paso Electric’s nearly 400,000 customers have not adopted home solar in record numbers. Only about 3,000 have their own home solar systems.
Home solar systems have never been as affordable as they currently are to purchase. A homeowner that buys her or his own can pay back the cost in as little as 7 years, depending on the system and utility bill costs. After it has been paid off, the owner can save thousands per year on utility bills. Buying and home solar system will probably turn out to be a good investment for many. Adding a home solar system can increase the value of a home and decrease air conditioning and heat costs because it can keep a home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
However, some people are more cautious and may prefer an arrangement like the one SolarCity offers, where they have to invest nothing or next to nothing in order to get solar power.
SolarCity handles the installation, so it is a relatively burden-free process from the customer point of view.
As you might imagine, Texas has plenty of solar power potential. A research study found that it could produce 170 times the amount of electricity it consumes using solar power. The same study indicated that there are three million rooftops there that could have solar panels.
SolarCity is making it easier for some of them to have solar power systems installed.