Free Solar Panels: Too good to be true, or am I missing out?

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Free Solar Panels: Too good to be true, or am I missing out?

You may have heard of some fuzzy math that some companies do to make solar power affordable.  Often times if a solar power financing deal sounds too good to be true, it is.  Many large solar companies will lease systems out to you, where you may or may not save money, and at the end of the lease you have to give the panels back.  Others try to drag you along with payment plans that last 20 years...


Having said all that, there are a few great reasons why you may be eligible to get literally FREE solar panels.  It's truly a combination of a little bit of luck, some hard work, and some fairly straight forward math.  

  1. Luck: The US Department of Energy is still offering a tax credit of 30% through 2019, 26% through 2020, and 22% through 2022.
  2. Some hard work: If you install your solar panels yourself, you can save a ton of money.  Cutting Edge Power makes this super easy by offering lightweight flexible solar panels that are ridiculously easy to install.  We've even seen customers install them on apartment balconies with zip ties!
  3. Some fairly straight forward math: Calculating loan interest rates are not easy.  However, you can use a simple loan calculator to come up with your numbers.

Now, let's do a little planning before we start a new project:

Find your electricity rate:  The project plan begins with your existing electricity bill.  Look through your bill to find the rate you pay for electricity.  A typical residential electricity rate in many states is about $0.15 per KWh (Kilowatt hour).  

Find your electricity usage:  Your bill should show an average annual or quarterly monthly usage.  The USEIA states the average residential electricity usage in 2017 was about 867 KWh.

Now, let's assume you would like to use solar panels to power a little more than half of your house (to basically cut your electric bill in half).  This means your panels need to provide at least 434 KWh per month (867 / 2 = 434).

Find your location's solar power potential: As a very rough estimate, multiply the number of hours of sunlight your panels will get x 100W per panel.  For this example we will assume you average 9 hours of sunlight per day (considering rainy days, and sunrise/sunset).

9 Hours x 100 W = 900 Wh

=0.9 KWh per panel per day

Now, multiply x 30 days = 27 KWh (This is about how much power each panel will produce per month)

Now we need to know how many panels you need.  So, 434 KWh / 27 KWh = at least 16.07 panels

Since our grid tie inverters (more on these later) are rated for 1,000W max, we might as well use qty (20) 100W panels.

Using (20) 100W panels with our grid tie inverters, you can expect to produce about 540 KWh per month with your 20 panels. (20 panels x 27 KWh per panel per month = 540 KWh)

540 KWh x $0.15/KWh = $81.00 savings on your electric bill per month.

Now, for the financing calculation:

This system would need 2 of our grid tie inverters ($169.97) and 20 of our solar panels ($159.97).  That comes out to $339.94 + $3,199.40 = $3,539.34.  Don't get sticker shock yet!  Uncle Sam will give you cash back 30% ($1,061.80) on your 2019 tax return.

$3,539.34 - $1,061.80 = $2,477.54 This is the amount you will need to finance through our integrated payment system.

Now, assuming you qualify for a 10% APR, here is what our loan calculator determines:

Solar Loan Calculation proving free solar panels do exist

WOW!!! So you would be paying $80.14 / month but your panels would produce $81.00 per month!!






...So what's the catch?

Negative Nellys will argue the following:

  1. We didn't cover the labor cost of a Master Electrician to do all of the electrical.

Our grid tie inverters don't require any mains electrical wiring (120VAC/240VAC).  The simply plug right into a nearby outlet, sense the grid, and supplement the grid energy with clean solar energy.

2.  We didn't cover the labor cost to install the panels.

Cutting Edge Power flexible solar panels are extremely lightweight and easy to install.  They are nothing like the fragile old aluminum and glass panels.

 3.  You still have to pay the 30% tax credit amount up front, and then wait to get it back on your 2019 refund.

This is true, but you can also include this amount in your financing, or possibly get a better APR at your local credit union, etc.  Cutting Edge Power has only suggested some basics for this example.

4.  My electricity rate is lower than $.15/KWh.

The system described in our example would still be able to provide you a return on investment (ROI) of about 3-4 years or less.


Please contact us at if you have any questions, or feel free to leave a comment below!


Here is what we recommended today:

Qty (2) 1000W Grid tie inverters

Qty (20) 100W Flexible solar panels



Obviously, this was an example for educational purposes.  Cutting Edge Power Inc. does not suggest nor recommend nor endorse any of the calculations above will apply specifically to you, nor do we guarantee or certify any of this information applies specifically to you.  Your calculations and results will certainly be different due to electricity rates/fees/charges, geographical solar PV potential, tax status, etc.  We simply wanted to show a single case study.  

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