Solar & Thermal
Systems, Inc.
Value Contact
Site Map

The Light is Green




FAQ Category: Value:

What is the value proposition?

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty.   There's a lot going on on this page, and there's a lot of room for improvement too.  Let's face it, you've been buying your electric power form your local neighborhood, electric utility monopoly, and they've been doing a pretty good job of keeping your lights on and your refrigerator cold.  Why would you want to jeopardize that?  Short answer: the 10-20% increase in 2006, the almost 50% increase since 2001, the likelihood that electricity is only going to get more expensive, not cheaper.  Need I go on?

There are lots of reasons to ask these questions, and there are many unasked questions that belong here too.

To date, these questions have been asked from the perspective of the potential product client.  Once we expand into the renewable generation service provider there will be a whole slew of new questions.

Furthermore, potential investors ant to know what the deal will look like for them.  We ask that they put themselves in the shoes of our customers for a few minutes.  Let us help a little...  Why are our customers buying out generation systems as faster than we can make them?  Because they start making a return the day the switch is flipped.  Once a decision-maker sees that he can lock in the cost of electricity for 20+ years for a very favorable rate, they can't wait to sigh up.  When the capital incentives are factored in, who would turn down a free system, it's like "free pie and chips"...

While we hold a commitment to clean up the environment, and reduce greenhouse gasses, we're also doing this to make money for us, and our investors.  Is this so obvious as to be a truism, sure.  We're believe we're offering an excellent product at a fair price.  The market will decide.  Our current price point is about 25% of what our PV competitors charge.  Could we charge a little more and still give the customer good value, absolutely.  Could we charge a little less and still give our investors good value, probably, but we'd have to make a lot more units to make the same profit, and that means more headaches for us, and very little additional value for the customer.  So we plan on making the absolute best units we can.  They'll cost a little more, but they'll be a little more efficient, they'll last a lot longer, and they'll require less maintenance.  So the buyer won't really pay any more over time. 

We hope this helps.  Please read the other FAQ categories too.  There's plenty of info, and even a little humor.

Don't see what you're after?  Contact us and we'll e-mail you an answer.

Maybe we'll even put the question and answer on the page to help others.

Back to Top


How much does it cost?

$3.00/Watt installed (for system from 25kW to 150kW).  The exact cost will vary based on your location, we use ASHRAE tables to compute the nameplate rating for your system to the nearest 100W. 

Next year we're hoping to have systems starting around $2.75/Watt plus installation for systems from 5kW to 25 kW.  Same tables, smaller hardware.

How long does it last?

We guarantee the system for 10 years against defects. We've designed in a 20-year maintenance free expectation. We expect it to last for the life of your home.

What is your $5 guarantee?

If the system fails to produce $5/day* due to any mechanical, electrical, or software failure, we'll pay you the $5 the unit would have generated each and every day is fails to do so.

* based on a 10kW nameplate system

What if I don’t use $150/month?

It has to do with repurchase agreements with the utility for net metering. We also felt it was a reasonable price point for return on investment. We also based the $5/day guarantee on it.

That’s a lot of $$$, is financing available?

Yes. We can work with your lender or ours. We can pre-qualify you. We can even arrange no money down, and or no monthly payment options. We'll even apply for any incentives you're entitled to, such as state incentives, the DOE, your local municipality, or even your local utility company.

Back to Top
Are there other incentives available to me?

The states offer many incentives, check out to see some of the currently available programs.

We'll help you obtain all the benefits you're entitled to.

What about the 10% tax credit?

The DOE is sponsoring this credit, which is 10% of the purchase price of a solar collection system, excluding swimming pool heaters. The consumer can receive up to $2000.

$150 sounds great, but I spent that on coffee each month...

That'd be a jumbo espresso roast latte with foam, de-licious! You probably also have a larger house, and use considerably more electricity. We've got larger systems that will earn you proportionately more money each month.

How long does it take to recover my investment?

With certain incentive programs, we're talking days... by that we mean the incentives are as much or even greater than the real cost of the system.  

For grins, we've analyzed the ROI when no capital incentives are available, would you believe the middle of year 6, worst case?

If we allow for only the incentives for generation, sometime in year 4 is the new breakeven.  We'll help by brokering the RECs you'll be generating.

Depends. Generally the larger systems recover the investment faster. We'll do a projection based on your specific installation, geographic location, and utility rates. We'll factor in rebates, tax incentives, grants, etc.

What if I sell my house in 5 years, or less?

You should certainly be able to recover your investment in the higher sale price of the house. Plus the added selling points of having a perpetually reduced electric bill and environmental consciousness.

Back to Top
Can I cancel my service contract?

We'd rather you didn't, but yes you can. We'll still make warrantee repairs, but you'll be responsible for normal wear related incidents.

We’re moving to a ”cheap-electricity” state, where are you?

We're still growing. Although the energy is the same, the economic incentives vary from state to state. We're working the places where the incentives are the greatest, but don't worry, we'll be everywhere in the fullness of time.

Who’s going to pay me each month?

You'll see your savings on each month’s electric bill. Alternately, you'll be able to log into the main init and see the amount you saved.

Who am I going to pay each month?

You'll still pay your electric bill, but you'll see how much smaller it is. If you financed the purchase, that payment should be less than the amount you saved on your electric bill. Overall you'll pay less.

If I pay $150 to make $150 what good is it?

How much did you spend for your house to save in rent? This is a long-term investment. Each month you're closer to energy independence.

How much $$$ can I really expect to make with it?

The $5/day is our guarantee. We wouldn't make it if we weren't comfortable with the system's ability to easily exceed it.

Back to Top
Will it hurt the resale value of my home?

No. It's a capital improvement. We'd expect that you’d fully recoup your investment. And with the additional selling points, it might even sell faster.

Can I transfer the service contract to the new owner?

Absolutely. We'll stand behind any normal change of ownership.

Our home is worth two million dollars...

You must have a lot of roof area. I'd bet we could generate $600 or more worth of electricity each month.

Our home was built in 1876…

Some historical societies frown on indoor plumbing, just kidding. It's possible; we'll still have to do a thorough inspection.

We just spent $42,000 on solar cells; can we trade in?

You can probably recover some of that on e-bay. But there's very little of the existing system that we'd be able to re-use.

Back to Top
What financing plans do you offer?

Our bank has allowed us to pre-qualify you. We can also offer low monthly payment, and no monthly payment options.

We just bought the house and can’t afford any more…

Since you just went through the mortgage process, you know about debt to income ratios. We can offer financing packages that won't affect your ratios. In fact we can even reduce or eliminate your electric bill altogether.

Will it affect our homeowners insurance?

No, not directly, it's got UL, CSA, TUV, and other certifications. Of course it will increase the value of your home, you might choose to increase coverage to reflect that.

What kind of financial assistance can I obtain?

Certain municipalities & utilities are offering grants to partially offset the cost of approved solar-electric systems. There are tax incentives offered by the United States Department of Energy too.

Can someone steal my refund?

Not likely. Well, um? … At gunpoint, I suppose…? The system is password protected, and the monthly rebate comes in the form of a greatly reduced bill.

Back to Top
I own 2 houses; can I combine my refunds?

Not really. Since each electric bill is separate, the savings will be split. But that's a good thing. You look like 2 separate smaller producers to the utility. That means you get a better deal and fewer rules on the power you produce.

What if I let my maintenance contract lapse?

You'll always have the option to renew. Naturally, we'll have to download the system's logs since the contract lapsed to verify it's healthy.

It rained for the past 2 weeks; can I get my $5/day refund?

Sorry, the guarantee is for the reliability of the system, and it's ability to maintain reliable generation when it's possible to generate. We would honor it if we fail to get the system operational prior to the overcast.

Can my $5/day really make a difference?

Individually, well, no; but if 1 household in 20 got half of it's energy from renewable sources, we could cleanup the worst polluting power plants in less than a year from the savings.

Why do I have to use $200/month to be approached?

Let's face it, installation is the single biggest cost item.  A small system costs more to install, than to build, but only generates a little bit of power and money.  We've not abandoned you, we're just not ready to help yet.

It's much easier for us to present you to the utility as a net consumer of electricity. They'd rather have you as a $25 month customer, than have to pay you, even though they still make a profit on all the power you produce.

Back to Top
Are there any additional construction costs?

There might be. We'll go over that after the site inspection, and prior to the start of installation. You'll have the option to have any necessary work performed prior to installation, or you can cancel your order.

Can I use it if I only use $60/month of electricity?

Congratulations, you're already a top-notch conservationist of electricity. Yes we can help; we generally try not to push a net surplus of electricity from a homeowner, because the rules governing the sale of power aren't as favorable financially.

Is financing available?

Yes. Our lender has an excellent package. We can pre-qualify you with them, and handle all the paperwork for you.

Resale value of house?

Wouldn't you pay a little more for a house with almost no electric bill?

Tax incentives?

The DOE offers 10%. Other utilities and municipalities are offering various incentives as well.

Back to Top
What if I change my mind after 3 days?

Call us. We'll cancel your order prior to the initial delivery of materials to your site without further obligation. Following delivery there would be a nominal shipping/restock fee.

Is there a money back guarantee?

If the unit fails to perform as agreed, we will repair, replace, or remove the unit from your home as stipulated in the contract.

Didn't see what you were after?  Contact us and we'll e-mail you an answer.

Maybe we'll even put the question and answer on the page to help others.

Back to Top



Copyright 2001, 2009 Solar & Thermal Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
S&T, STS, STSI, and other abbreviations are Service Marks of Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
Roof & Distribution© logo and Cool Copper© Copyright 2001 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
AEG, PMP, MLP, DRP, are used with permission.
Phoenix logo© and Swirling Rays© Copyright 2005 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
Tri-lobed Sun© Copyright 2006 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
The Light is Green!© Copyright 2006 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
ECO-CO2© Tonne, Railcar, and Coalcar, Copyright 2007 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
All other Trademarks, Service marks, etc., are the property of their respective owners.
Updated: 09/11/10 19:33