Residential Solar Guide:

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1 Residential Solar Guide: Save 70% Off Total System Costs WIth Current Incentives and Available Credits! Contact American Solar Today!

2 This resource guide highlights what homeowners need to know about solar when they purchase a new home and why they should ask for solar when meeting with a home builder. We ll educate new home buyers on how homeowners benefit from solar in a new home and how to select the best home builder and solar contractor team. Shopping for a New Solar Home With high energy prices, concern over global warming and a growing desire for energy independence, more and more home builders are integrating solar into their new homes because buyers are asking for it. This trend is likely to make solar a new home feature just like energy-efficient windows or insulation. Even with the near-total collapse of the U.S. housing market, home builder adoption of solar has ticked up significantly. Home buyers continue to focus on energy-efficient homes and cost savings. As a result, more home developers are offering solar energy systems as either an option or standard feature in their communities. Homeowners can take advantage of rolling the cost of a solar system into low-interest mortgages. They also benefit from rebates, tax credits and tax deductions to realize a net cost savings within their first month of ownership. Finally, a robust solar home market benefits society by creating greater energy independence, reducing air pollution and, over time, providing a more stable, affordable energy supply. Solar as an Option versus Standard Feature Today, home builders can offer solar as an optional or standard feature on their new homes. When offered as an option, the builder, along with their solar contracting partner, will incorporate a solar electric system at the home buyer s request. Therefore, it s important for buyers to ask for, and learn about, this feature. Although more communities today offer solar as an upgrade, home builders are increasingly making solar a standard feature in their new homes. They ve seen the increased response from buyers when they focus on solar s economic benefits. By playing up these cost savings, some home builders offering solar as a standard feature have generated more home sales. And, in this lackluster sales environment, home builders find any boost in sales a definite accomplishment. Advantages of Solar in New Home Purchases When you select a new solar home, you re typically getting the most efficiently installed system for the lowest upfront cost. With proper planning and control by the home builder and their solar contracting partner, you ll get a high-performance 1

3 and complete solar energy solution. And, you ll get the peace-of-mind knowing your solar modules are backed by a long-term warranty that s usually 25 years. In fact, home builder surveys continually show home buyer satisfaction with solar-ready and solar-equipped new homes. Word-of-mouth and referrals play a big role in promoting sales of new solar homes. One home builder survey has shown over 90 percent of new solar home buyers would recommend a solar powered new home to a friend. Given the aesthetic options, lower energy costs and environmental impact of new home solar systems, solar homeowners are very likely to encourage others to follow their lead. These benefits are outlined in greater detail below. Integrated Aesthetics Today s solar systems come in a range of configurations. PV systems with modules mounted on an existing rooftop are still the most common. However, new home construction can benefit from integration methods such as tile inset. With a tile inset system, the modules are mounted in-line with the roof tile and present an attractive option for the home buyer. Financial Incentives and Cost Savings Buying a new home that integrates solar hot water, solar electric or both and rolling the cost into the mortgage increases your monthly payment only slightly. By including the price of a new system in a mortgage, with today s extremely low interest rates, there has never been a better time to install solar on your new home. Plus, the solar investment often results in an immediate positive cash flow for the home buyer. In other words, the higher mortgage payment is offset by lower utility bills from the very beginning. Some mortgage lenders even credit a home s energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. In this scenario, borrowers may be able to stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans to qualify for a larger mortgage. In addition to the above financing perks, solar electric on new homes can offer significant incentives and energy savings. Currently, government incentives include the following: Homebuyers can receive a one-time federal tax credit equal to 30% of the system price. Arizona offers a one-time tax credit of $1,000 on a residential solar system. In terms of energy cost savings, new home buyers can expect the following: Combined with energy-efficiency, solar is typically cash flow positive for most homebuyers in first month. 2

4 Many homeowners see a 25 to 75 percent, or more, decrease in monthly utility costs. Solar electric systems can protect against rising energy costs, lower monthly electric bills and help predict monthly expenses. Most new solar home communities also install other energy efficiency features that complement the performance of a solar system and further reduce utility bills. And, in terms of home value: A residential solar system may increase the resale value of a home by helping it appreciate faster. An energy-efficient, solar home has a perception of higher quality. Environmental Purchasing a new solar home saves you money. But, it also provides an added environmental benefit. Helping the environment by using clean, renewable energy becomes a special by-product of the sale for many buyers. In fact, home buyers who primarily bought a new solar home to save money, often cite the environmental benefits after the fact. For example, many homeowners feel they become part of the solution and are doing their part for the environmental movement. At the same time they re reducing their electric bills by one-third or more, they re reducing their carbon footprint. And, that s a powerful combination of feel-good benefits. In addition, numerous homeowners have acknowledged they feel different in a solar community because they re making a difference. There s already a common thread through the neighborhood and neighbors start experiencing a greater sense of community. These intangible benefits prove to be important to many buyers. They help the buyer have a positive impression of the builder. Plus, many buyers believe they would have had a missed opportunity if they did not purchase their solar home. For example, studies show solar homeowners are more satisfied and tend to recommend their builder to others. How to Select a Solar Vendor and Home Builder Arizona home builders are well aware that partnering with a reliable, experienced solar installer is the single most important strategy for solar success. Chances are good a home builder has conducted a thorough evaluation of solar contractors and has selected a very well qualified provider. A strong partnership will benefit all parties, most of all you -- the home buyer! However, you ll still want to do your own homework on both the builder and the solar contractor. Just as you would do when installing a solar system on an existing home, you ll want to do proper due-diligence on your new home s installation. 3

5 The following qualifications should be evaluated by every home buyer: Experience. With more homeowners switching to solar energy each day, the number of companies offering solar installation services is also on the rise. So, be sure your builder has selected an experienced solar contractor. Evaluate things like years in business, how many systems they ve installed, technical certifications, affiliations, training and more. Additionally, confirm that the contractor that sells the system will also install the system. Some solar companies sub-contract the work to other non-licensed installers. Licensing. The licensing a solar contractor holds is another way to evaluate experience levels. At a minimum, the company must have the required state and local licenses. You can check these qualifications at the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Better Business Bureau Accreditation. If a business has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau, it means the BBB has determined that the business meets accreditation standards which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. Accountability. Make sure you know who will be responsible for your solar system after the sale. Who will you work with if you have a warranty issue the builder or the solar contractor? Who do you contact with questions? Knowing up-front which party handles what with regards to your solar system will provide more peace-of-mind when you close your deal. References. Again, the home builder has most likely thoroughly vetted the solar contractor on board. However, it doesn t hurt for you to do your own reference checking. At a minimum, visit the contractor s web site and look at their testimonials and feedback from objective third-parties. With more and more home builders turning to solar as an optional or standard feature, solar installations have become more viable and valuable. In fact, many in the home building industry expect a solar home will become the new normal in the not so distant future. Given the speed of adoption and the numerous benefits generated from a new solar home, what does this really mean for you? It means now is the best time to buy a new solar home! Visit a solar community now and ask for your solar options. Why American Solar? We simplify the process for our builder partners by offering a complete turnkey approach with our Solar Made Simple program. Our professional staff handles all aspects of the installation, including effective sales training and marketing support, precise engineering design, city permitting, utility applications and coordination, quality system installation, and dedicated customer service. This program ensures your solar experience will be a great one! 4

6 Our turnkey program fits seamlessly with your builder s construction schedule, regardless how tight. We have ample experience working with construction trades to deliver the best solar-equipped home possible. We re well aware that choosing the right solar contractor can make all the difference in your satisfaction with your new home purchase. The top ten reasons to use American Solar and its home builder partners include: 1. Unmatched Experience. American Solar installs both residential solar electric and solar hot water systems. With over 3,500 systems installed in Arizona, experience matters. Don t be a guinea pig for an unproven company. 2. Longevity and Financial Strength. American Solar has been in operation for over 11 years and counting. Our financial stability includes a strong balance sheet and significant string of profitability. With a product designed to operate for decades, shouldn t you choose an installer likely to do the same? 3. Arizona-Based Company. American Solar has unique knowledge in how to design systems for Arizona s intense climate. 4. Clean ROC and BBB History. A quick search with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and the Better Business Bureau can save you from a costly mistake. Plus, we get rave reviews on Angie s List. 5. Name-Brand, Best-in-Class Components. A low price is only a good value if the products deliver on their promises. We only install quality components that live up to expectations from financially stable manufacturers. 6. Licensed Roofing Contractor. We know roofing! Because solar installations require significant roof integration, we carefully inspect your roof (for free) and estimate its lifespan. Plus, we know how to avoid roof issues like water penetration and other damaging effects. 7. Investment Options. American Solar provides multiple ways to make an investment in solar. We analyze all options and present you with quantified results so you can select what s best for your situation. Regardless of how much you wish to invest any solar option is better than paying your current utility bill! 8. Incentive and Permitting Help. American Solar knows the ins and outs of the solar industry. We will apply all eligible incentives and rebates to your purchase price. We ll advise you of current government and tax incentives you can expect to get after your purchase. Plus, we ll secure all necessary permits and work with your HOA if needed. 9. Experienced Project Management & Customer Service. We perform all installation work ourselves, and assign dedicated project managers to oversee every aspect of your project. We have a dedicated customer service department that will be here to support you when you need us for years to come. 5

7 10. Referral Program. You know your solar energy system saves you money. Now you can earn money in three easy steps by referring your friends, family and neighbors, and rest assured they will receive the quality service you have come to expect from us. Let s Get Started! There s never been a better time to buy a new solar home. You can be on your way to saving money in no time. We re happy to introduce you to our home builder partners and their quality solar communities. Call or us today. We re here to answer any questions or provide your free analysis and quote. American Solar 1475 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite #410 Scottsdale, AZ Tel: Fax: Southern Arizona 2539 North Balboa, Suite 115 Tucson, AZ Tel: Northern Arizona Tel:

8 American Solar 1475 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite #410 Scottsdale, AZ Tel: Fax: Southern Arizona 2539 North Balboa, Suite 115 Tucson, AZ Tel: Northern Arizona Tel:

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