Access to sustainable, maintenance-free solar energy is now available to Dixie Power Members through Dixie Power’s Solar Program.
The Dixie Power Solar Advantage
Cost plays a major role when one is considering investing in solar power. It can affect the rate of return dramatically. Third party solar providers are in the business to make money off of the consumer. They have overhead costs which include marketing, installation, equipment, employees, etc. All of these costs are passed on to the consumer which drives the cost up for solar power. The cost for a solar array depends on the consumer’s electric needs. It is not uncommon for consumers to pay around $9,000 for smaller to average sized homes, while larger homes that consume more power could cost upwards in the $30k-to $40K range depending on the size. Keep in mind you are still on a net metered system. (You are still dependent on the grid.) A consumer who wants to be totally independent from the grid would need to purchase batteries, which usually doubles the cost of any solar array. The life of the battery usually lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years, depending upon the manufacturer. Many consumers cannot afford to pay for their solar array upfront, which forces them to amortize the solar equipment over a longer period of time. Keep in mind, not only is the consumer paying for the equipment; they are paying interest on the equipment that is supposed to save them money.
As a non-profit company, Dixie Power provides solar to its members for a fraction of the cost of what third party solar providers charge. (And yes…Dixie Power uses the same power source as everyone else, also known as the Sun…without the markup!) Dixie Power builds, services, and maintains our members solar for them, thus reducing the cost and passes these savings on to its members. Dixie Power’s cost is $1.80/watt. Most third party solar providers are at least $3.25/watt and more. You don’t have to be a math genius to figure out that you can save big money going with Dixie Power for your solar power provider.
- No Tax Paperwork
Solar energy is subsidized by the federal and state government. The Federal Tax Credit currently is 30% of the gross cost of the solar array. The State of Utah offers a one-time $2,000 credit towards residential solar arrays, regardless of size. Without these subsidies, solar would be even more expensive. In order to qualify for these subsidizes, the tax payer must first qualify for them, meaning they must make enough money to have a tax liability that will allow them to take advantage of using the subsidies. Otherwise, a buyer may have to amortize the tax credits over time. The way the tax credits are currently structured, lower income earners will find it hard to benefit from solar energy through third party providers. When members purchase solar energy from Dixie Power, there is no need for qualifying for tax credits, nor is there any need to fill out tax paperwork. Dixie Power has adopted a true no money down, pay as you go method. This allows all members to participate in the solar program, not just those who qualify for tax credits.
- No Installation
Depending on the size of the solar array, installation could take one to two weeks to install on your roof top. Before installation can begin, a licensed engineer must approve the overall design plans and load that the roof will have to support. Installation of roof top solar arrays will vary due to size, layout, and design. If a buyer lives in a homeowner’s association, the buyer must obtain permission from their board BEFORE the equipment is installed. Members who buy solar from Dixie Power do not need approval from engineers or permission from board members of their home owners association. Why? The solar equipment is built and maintained at a solar farm located in our two locations of St George and Beryl. There is no equipment that is installed on the home. Should the member move to another home within the service territory of Dixie Power, the member can still participate in the solar program. If a consumer chooses to install roof top solar on his or her home, the solar equipment is affixed to the home and is not transferable unless otherwise negotiated in a purchase contract. If and only if a consumer was successful in negotiating a contract that allows them to transfer the solar equipment, the consumer would then have to reinstall the equipment on the new residence, possibly voiding any warranties or guarantees from the manufacturer or solar provider.
- No Loan Qualification
Even with federal and state tax credits, most people will have to apply and qualify for financing should they choose to invest in solar with a third party solar provider. Many third party solar providers offer a number of financing options that include “zero down” or “12 months interest free” loan programs. Be aware that some of these programs are short term loans that in time, if the loans are not refinanced, the consumer will be charged high rates of interest, ultimately costing more money over the life of the loan. Most loans will require collateral such as a home or other property, in order to insure that you pay the loan in full. Keep in mind; you are paying interest on a depreciating asset. Eventually, the solar equipment will need to be replaced and paid for again and again.
Dixie Power does not require its members to apply and qualify for any loans should they want to participate in solar power. Dixie Power has a “no upfront fee” and offers “pay as you go” plan for all who choose to participate, regardless of income.
- No Maintenance
Southern Utah is known for its sunny weather. With over 330 days of sunshine a year, solar seems like the perfect fit. However, wind, rain, and dust will contribute to getting solar panels dirty, which will cause them to produce at a less than optimal level. Maintaining and cleaning your solar panels is necessary should you choose to invest in roof top solar. However, with Dixie Power solar, members are never required to clean and maintain their solar array. Off-site solar panels are maintained and cleaned regularly at no additional cost to the members, saving them time and money, all while maximizing efficiency.
Solar 101: Frequently Asked Questions
What should I know about solar before I invest?
Before you invest in solar, you need to consider cost, reliability, warranties, maintenance just to name a few important topics. There are many third party solar providers that will claim solar is more affordable than what you are currently paying for your power. Be careful. You also need to decide why you might want solar power: Do you want to save money? Do you want to be prepared in the case of a power outage? Do you want to make the air cleaner? Or do you just want to impress your friends with an ostentatious display of conspicuous consumption? The answers to these concerns are detailed below.
Solar is subsidized by federal and state governments through tax credits. Local city government may participate in the subsidies as well. Federal tax credits are currently offered at 30% off the gross cost of the overall solar array. State tax credits vary from state to state. Currently, Utah offers a one-time tax credit of $2,000. The cost of the solar equipment, installation, and maintenance is borne by the buyer (homeowner.) If financed, be careful of the “no money down” or “12 months interest free” plans. Many of these types of financing options, if not refinanced in a certain period of time, will charge high interest rates for equipment that is depreciating in value.
Not all consumers that want solar power can qualify for the tax credits offered through the Federal and State government. The tax credits offered to the public are based upon the tax liability of the consumer. If a consumer does not have a tax liability, or if their tax liability is not large enough, they may have to amortize the credits over an extended period of time. Talk to a tax accountant or tax advisor to make sure you can receive the full value of the tax credits that are offered.
Not everyone can eliminate their power bill. A number of factors play an important role. When considering roof top solar ask the following questions to third party solar providers: Do I have enough roof space for the panels to eliminate my power bill? Does the energy I generate from the solar panels eliminate my Facilities Service Charge found on my power bill? What size of solar array do I need to eliminate my power bill? Consumers will quickly find that it will take a significant amount of solar panels to eliminate your power bill because Dixie Power rates are among the lowest in the nation. In most cases, Dixie Power members would have to invest in a huge solar array that would not fit on their roof to eliminate their power bill.
Since the most economical way to have solar is through a “net metered system”, (you receive your power source from the grid) when the power is out your solar panels will not be working. This means that if the consumer wants to be prepared in the case of a power outage, they must also purchase backup systems (battery) that can easily double the cost of solar. Batteries usually have a short life span (3-5 years) until the consumer must purchase and replace them, which adds to the cost again.
Be careful. Many third party providers will advertise multiple ways to finance solar power. Many of these financing options will only delay payment for the solar array. These financing options, if not refinanced, charge high interest rates, thus affecting the overall true cost of solar. It is important to realize that consumers need to keep things in perspective. Do you really want to mortgage your home and other assets you own in order to receive the benefits of solar power?
If purchasing solar from a third party other than Dixie Power, you are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the equipment. Be cautious of statements like, “maintenance free” solar arrays. The panels will get dirty, which will affect the overall performance of the system. To keep solar panels generating electricity they must be cleaned off with a clean damp cloth each and every month; so you would also have to make sure you keep access to your rooftop installation.
Dixie Power receives its power from a number of different resources. Coal, hydro, solar, and geothermal power are among Dixie Power’s energy portfolio. Surprisingly, hydro power is the same cost as coal power today. If you are considering solar power for your home, you will pay more for solar than what you currently have.
There are five main reasons to buy solar from Dixie Power instead of third party providers. Lower cost, no tax paperwork, no installation costs, no loans, and no maintenance are just to name a few reasons.
In almost all cases when buying roof top solar from a third party, the consumer cannot transfer their equipment to another residence. Even if it were possible, the consumer would spend more time and money repairing the roof and possibly voiding any warranties of performance or installation. With Dixie Power’s Solar Program, you can move anywhere Dixie Power provides service to its members and still enjoy the benefits of solar. If you were to leave Dixie Power’s system, you can simply discontinue your subscription to Dixie Power’s solar power program.
This is one of the most important questions to ask a third party solar provider. Solar makes more financial sense when the power rate is higher. For example, Dixie Power rates are among the lowest in the nation. Currently, Dixie Power’s rate is about 6 cents per kWh. That is half of what other power providers charge in the area. Dixie Power has maintained a consistent rate for 20 years and continues to make preparations to keep rates as low as possible for the years to come. Don’t be surprised if your rate of return exceeds 20 + years, depending on the size of the solar array. It’s important to note if the payback on any investment is longer than the life expectancy of that investment, the rate of return is negative.
No, so there’s no need to buy more than you can consume.
No, Dixie Power’s portfolio of power supply are all clean resources that contribute nothing to our regional haze issues. Even Dixie’s coal fired power, located near Vernal, Utah, is filtered and scrubbed to produce a small fraction of any emission levels allowed by the EPA.
No, solar power does not reduce the demand on the power grid, and so does not delay any required investments in generation or transmission. Solar panels generate electricity from mid-morning to midafternoon; the grid peaks in the early morning and in the early evening, outside the brief window of solar generation.