What is the 30% Federal Tax Credit?

When you purchase a solar electric system, you will receive a 30% federal tax credit on the entire purchase price of your system. This includes the cost of all your equipment and the cost of installation of a residential or commercial solar system.

It is worth more than a tax deduction because it can be applied as a dollar for dollar credit against income taxes that are owed by the taxpayer. For example, if you paid $20,000 for an installed solar system, then your tax credit would be worth approximately $6,000. Thus, your actual net cost of your new solar system is $14,000. Uncle Sam wants to pay you 30% of what it costs for you to go solar and for you to save money!

If you do not owe sufficient income tax for the year that your system was installed, then the remainder of the tax credit can be carried over to the next year. Your tax preparer can help you plan your tax liability so that you can take advantage of the tax credit as much as possible. And remember, when you sign a lease or PPA contract, you do not get your 30% tax credit. You will forfeit the tax credit to the lease or PPA Company. They get your 30% tax credit in their pocket.

Does 35th Street Solar Offer Leases and PPA Agreements?

Short Answer – "NO!"

Longer answer – "NO! Because we are in the business of saving people money, not charging them twice as much as they should have paid."

The leasing and PPA companies make it sound so simple. "Sign here and we'll reduce your electric bill." It may be simple but it's not at all what it seems. Unfortunately, a solar lease is one of the most expensive ways to finance the rental of a solar system. Leasing a solar system will cost you two times what it costs to purchase our 35th Street Ultra High Performance Systems for your home or business. Plus, our systems are generations ahead in quality and performance.

If you do a solar lease or PPA you will not receive your 30% federal tax credit – the Leasing or PPA Company gets it. On a $20,000 system you will end up giving them your $6,000 Federal Tax Credit. You'll also have to forfeit any chance at receiving any cash rebates that may be offered by the state, your city, or any rebates offered by your electric company. They get all your tax credits and rebates, and you get absolutely nothing!

The leasing companies will tell you that they will apply your tax credit and any cash rebates you are entitled to - to the system price so that they will lower the acquisition cost. But, and this is a big but, the leasing company's pricing is so over inflated that your tax credit and any rebates, as large as they are, will hardly make a dent in their price. The leasing companies will also tell you that your leased system will include free maintenance, repairs and insurance. But again, their pricing is so much higher than what you can purchase a system for that it is actually YOU who will be paying for the maintenance, repairs and insurance due to the much higher pricing that you'll pay for your rented system.

The bottom line is — you will be paying twice as much to rent your system as you would have paid to own it. Plus there’s more good news if you decide to lease your solar system …

Good luck ever selling your home with a solar lease attached to it! What homebuyer will want to assume your high lease payments on a used, poorer performing system the leasing company put up, when they can buy and own a new state of the art higher performance system for $3.75 a watt or lower, installed, before incentives? Please do your own research, and search the Internet, and you'll find many articles concerning homeowners who are having difficulty selling because they have solar leases attached to their homes.

Instead of an expensive solar lease or PPA, consumers are now getting $0 down solar loans. These offer tax deductible interest and allow you to keep the 30% federal tax credit and any other incentives / rebates. And, you now own your solar system for a much greater return on investment than any lease or PPA. With a buy you add value to your home. With a lease you add a liability to it.

This is how we see it from all our research. We encourage you to get as much information as you can if you are even remotely considering a lease and come to your own conclusions. In our minds, leasing a solar system is one of the worst financial decisions anyone can make. Run the numbers comparing leasing vs. buying and we believe the right decision is hugely obvious. 

The Leasing Company Said That They Will Apply The Incentives To Lower The Cost Of The Lease. Is This True?


This may or may not be true. But remember, the leasing/PPA companies charge such a high price for their systems that your 30% federal tax credit, and any other incentive, will have little impact on a leased system's cost when compared to purchasing your system outright. 

Does 35th Street’s Price Per Watt Include Everything Needed For A Complete Solar Installation?


NO – It does NOT! And this is a very good thing...

Our price per watt does not include any city permitting or engineering wet stamp fees. You are responsible for paying the exact actual cost of any permitting or stamping fees your city charges.

Your solar project needs to be approved and permitted by your city. Our installer will have engineering plans drawn up for your home which includes all the plans and equipment being used in your installation. This will then be submitted to your city for approval. Some cities charge a fee for a solar permit and some do not.

When we first got the quotes and bids for our solar systems, all the solar companies we interviewed were going to charge us a flat fee that would cover the permitting and stamping fees from our cities. This “fee” from them ranged from $1,000 to $3,000! This sounded “high” to us and so we did our own research to see how much these fees actually were.

Well, would you believe that the cities of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach do not charge any fees for a solar permit?! But they both do charge an engineering wet stamp fee of around $350. We learned that these flat fees solar companies charge are just another way for them to make more money off unsuspecting consumers. The fee they charge for permitting is just pure profit central. We are appalled by this practice. This is yet another reason we decided to do it ourselves and save lots of money just by not paying their “fee” for the city fees.

So … we do not charge a “fee” for city permitting and stamping. Whatever the actual costs your city charges – you are responsible for. Each city has a different rate schedule and we feel this is the most fair and honest way to cover the costs charged by the cities for your solar project. In fact, we think it’s the only way to do business.

How Can I Have Free Electricity?

By Purchasing Your Solar System it Can Pay Itself Off In As Little As 4 To 5 Years. You Will Then Have Decades Worth Of Free Electricity*.

With A Leased/PPA System, Your Electricity Will  Never Be Free!

Pricing for a 35 th Street Ultra High Performance Solar System is so low that after applying your 30% Federal Tax Credit, your purchased solar system will typically recover your investment (pay itself off) in only 4 to 5 years. Then, the electricity that your system produces is free* for the remaining 20 to 25 year average life expectancy of your solar system.

With a solar Lease or PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) all you're doing is trading your current electric bill payment for a slightly reduced (10% to 20% reduction) Lease or PPA payment. Your electricity will  never be free with a lease or PPA and you will continue to have electricity payments for the entire 20 years of the lease/PPA term.

In fact most $0 down solar leases and PPAs include an annual payment escalator (payment increase) that will raise your monthly payment amount by up to 2.9% per year every year for 20 years. 

And After Making 20 Years Worth Of Payments to Your Lease/PPA Company, The System Will Still Belong To Them And Will Be Removed or You Have to Buy It From Them! You Never Stop Paying Them.

Why should I install a solar energy system on my home or business?

Grid-tied solar electricity offers a way to fix your electricity rate for more than 25 years. The price never goes up! The maintenance-free panels come with a 25-year production warranty and the expected useful lifespan is up to 50 years (output starts to slow down over time but is still significant). A grid-tied PV system can protect you from electricity price increases for decades. That's a feeling of energy security that is hard to duplicate.

Many of our clients feel better knowing that they are producing their own electricity without any environmental harm - that they are part of the energy solution and no longer part of the problem.

Why should I go solar now? Aren't innovative new technologies on the way?

Simply put - the sooner you get solar, the sooner you will enjoy its benefits! If you wait for some unproven technology down the road, you will have missed the opportunity to generate your own power now. Solar is like saving for retirement - the sooner you start doing it, the better.

Will the solar system pay for itself?

Many of our customers feel the pride and peace of mind of their new solar electricity system paying for itself as soon as the system powers on. From a financial point of view, solar offers an 8-10% IRR over 20 years, or is immediately cash-flow positive (or neutral) if financed. Plus, 35th Street Solar System typically is at cost break even in only 5 – 6 years.

The system also helps lift the grid overall by providing highly valuable 'peak' electricity. With multi-billion dollar grid improvement projects already in place, the one certainty is rates on grid electricity will go up.

Will a solar electricity generating system increase the value of my home?

Yes! Several studies demonstrate that solar homes are worth more money and sell more quickly. For every kW of installed solar a home’s value is increased by $5,911.


What panels do you recommend?

We use a variety of advanced 2nd generation Top Tier One N-Type Cell and Thin Film Solar Modules that we believe are some of the best and most reliable solar modules being produced today. Currently we are installing with Silevo, Sunpreme, and our newest panel is a Thin Film CIGS panel 100% made in America by Stion. All these manufactures produce some of the most efficient photovoltaic modules on the market today. All have a 25-year warranty on their panels, which are expected to live roughly twice that long.

What inverter do you recommend?

We believe the best and most efficient inverters are the ones that use Power Optimizers on each panel. We are currently installing systems with SolarEdge Inverters and their Power Optimizers. Our newest inverter system is made by Fronius and is their new FE Inverter Line that also uses panel level Power Optimizers paired with their inverter. These provide us with the latest inverter technology available today. Both these inverter systems also come with free lifetime monitoring.

You provide so much information on your web site, how come?

Because we want you to have all the technical, financial, and benefit information you need to make a good decision about solar as an investment for your home.

When we went out shopping for our home solar systems we wanted information — lots of it. It’s a major financial decision and we wanted to make darn sure we were making a good financial decision. We wanted to know …

  • How much does a solar system cost?
  • How does your solar company determine the cost factor you are quoting us?
  • What size system do we need to zero out our bill?
  • What is the financial break even time frame for a solar system?
  • How much money would we save over the life of the system versus not doing solar?
  • What are the best panels, inverters, and racking equipment?
  • Do you use P-Type or N-Type solar modules? Which ones do you recommend and why?
  • What is the percentage of light induced degradation your panels suffer from during the first year of use?
  • What is the temperature coefficient of the panels you use and recommend?
  • What is the efficiency rating of the panels you use?
  • How is a string inverter different than a power optimized inverter?
  • Which inverter system do you recommend and why.
  • What is the efficiency rating of the inverters you use?
  • How much would our homes appreciate by adding solar?
  • Should we stay on SCE’s schedule D rate plan or switch to the TOU or TOU-EV rate plan? Which one offers the most benefit for a home with a solar system?
  • How much more kW would we need to produce if we bought an electric car?
  • If we bought the electric car would we save more money on Schedule D or the TOU-EV rate plan?
  • How much would we actually save if we were on the TOU-EV rate plan?
  • If we switch out our lights to LED would we still save money if we went solar?


And there were a few more questions too, but I think you get the idea—we wanted to know! We wanted to be able to compare system costs, equipment specifics, SCE rate information to make the best most informed decisions we could.


  • We really wanted to answer the question, “Was solar a good financial decision? And if so, what is the absolute best equipment we should use?”

And for most of our questions the answer we got were typically “I don’t know.” No one could tell us what the cost difference would be between the different SCE rate plans. Not even SCE themselves! Some of the sales people even asked us what a P and N-Type Cell panel was. They told us they had never heard of that before. To say the least we were stunned. At this point we didn’t know much, but we knew a lot more about solar than these major solar companies’ sales force reps did.

Most of the solar companies we talked to were very vague about cost factors and how they came up with their quotes. No one could tell us up front how much they charge. To us it seemed like a simple question. We just kept getting “It all depends …” They all seemed like they were adding extra fees for this and that too.

And, almost every sales person we spoke with could not explain to us the pros and cons to the different equipment manufacturers, and when asked about the output statistics they just went blank. Most didn’t even know what brand would be going on our roof. And they wanted what we thought was a fortune for their average equipment systems. They were passionate about making the sale, but they couldn’t truly answer our questions, because they didn’t know. They were knowledge less. These were our experiences; yours may be different with these large major companies.

We finally decided to do it all ourselves. This was the best decision we could have made. We learned so much, got the very best equipment available, and saved even more than we thought we could. The installer we hired was extremely knowledgeable about installation. He was a pro that perfectly installed all the equipment we purchased.

At this point we knew we could do it much better, at a significantly better price point with vastly superior equipment, than anyone else. And by now we had answered our entire extensive list of questions.


Through all our research we were really searching for the answer to our initial question, “Was investing in solar for our homes a good financial investment?”

  • By running all the numbers and researching it extensively we discovered that … investing in our own home solar system was the best, most significant, financial decision we could make if we wanted to save a large amount of money on a lifetime of electricity use.
  • The real question turned out to be, “How could we not do it?!” It’s that good.

So, we started 35th Street Solar with a wealth of information on how to save money on solar both in purchasing the best equipment for the job at the lowest cost — and also on how to save money by using proprietary technical information we created about SCE’s different rate plans to maximize our savings past anything that was being done today.

We believe knowledge is power. And we want to give you all the knowledge there is to know about this investment so you feel confident it’s the right one for you. We also believe that to make a good decision one needs good accurate information. It is our desire and goal to give you all the information you need to make the best financial decision you can. You have a question, we have an answer! We work hard to make it simple and straight forward. With us there is no “it depends.” That’s why we break it down into lots of good, useful, straight forward information we believe you need and want. We sure wanted it, but no one could provide it for us. We ultimately had to find it ourselves. Now, you can benefit from all our work.

So, one thing we did was invent our Solar Savings Calculator program that provides us with SCE’s different rate plan information and tells us which one save us the most money. We load all your electrical usage date and proposed system size and out pops just what we want to know. We think it’s pretty special. No one we spoke with could provide that information for us. Not even SCE! We spent a couple hours on the phone with one of their managers in the TOU-EV department trying to have them break down the different cost factors between the different rate plans to see which one was the most financially beneficial while using solar.

Untimely he told us it was just too complicated to figure out, and the best way to know which one saved us the most money was just to switch to the different plans and see which one was the best. In fact, one person flat our told us the information we wanted to have was just impossible to figure out since SCE’s rate plans are just too complicated to understand and that information cannot be figured out. We like a challenge and really wanted to know, so we spent the time and invented a software program that would tell us impossible information. We’re a little geeky like that.


  • All our customers get to benefit from our amazing software program that helps you save money every step of the way from designing the perfectly sized solar system to knowing exactly which SCE rate plan saves you the most money with your new solar system. Translated, impossible means fun to us!

We’re glad you’re reading this, and we look forward to working with you and providing you with lots more great information. You have questions? We have answers! Read over the website to educate yourself on solar while you’re learning some great information.

Just by reading our information you will become more knowledgeable about solar than just about anyone you’ll meet. Have a little fun – just quiz the next solar sales company rep you see at Home Depot or the mall. Just ask them what the temperature coefficient and the efficiency rating is for the panels they use and ask if they are P or N-type and watch the glaze form over their eyes…

Then give us a call and lets work together to help you make this important decision on saving your money and increasing your financial security. Going solar really is a great one if you do it right. We’ll help you!