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Dave Llorens wants to take solar mainstream. An entrepreneur and solar activist, Dave is the founder and CEO of One Block Off the Grid, a solar energy financing firm that CNN dubbed the “Groupon of Solar.”
His company essentially serves as a buying club that connects homeowners to solar outfitters. The business model has so far saved many homeowners thousands of dollars in the typical up-front installation costs, not to mention the monthly energy savings. Solar panels and other energy savers can provide a big financial boost for both current and prospective VA borrowers.
The VA offers an Energy Efficient Mortgage option that allows qualified borrowers to add in up to $6,000 in energy efficiency improvements. Learn more about how military homeowners may be able to capitalize on this increasingly important energy source.
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Kurt Krieger: “Do any $5,000 to install solar panels and your payment increases $15 a month. You would have to have an improvement to your overall utility cost of greater than $15 a month.
Zachary Shahan: “People say, ‘Oh, we got a solar quote and you know it was outside of our range about 2-3 years ago.’ And I’m like, well, you’re really over-ripe for a new one because solar prices have dropped off a cliff in the last few years.”
Dave Llorens, Founder, “One Block Off the Grid”: You’d know upfront costs sometimes and then you’d save a lot of money over the course of 20 years, so it’s nice and flat. The costs are flat. As opposed to utilities, which can raise and lower them, you never really have control of them.”
David Fuchs, Contributor at www.cleantechnica.com: “We are going to get to the point soon where the cost of solar is basically on par with grid.”
Kurt Krieger: “If you’re showing, well for instance, Missouri is showing a $61 a month improvement. Adding $5,000 to your total amount on your loan is probably only going to increase your payment by $20 or so, depending on the loan amount.”
Dave Llorens: “The power that solar produces needs to be cheaper than the power you’re buying from the utility or it’s not going to reach a massive adoption.”
Sarah Hill: “He has a lot of trees around his house and he’s wondering if solar energy or solar panels are still an option for him to use around his home.”
Dave Llorens: “The bottom line is yeah, if it’s shading a roof, the solar panel isn’t going to make as much energy. If it’s very heavily shaded, it probably doesn’t make sense. If it’s just a little bit of shading or shading that only hits during the dead of winter, you know, it might not be as big of a deal.”
Sarah Hill: “Here’s a question from Facebook and hello to our Facebook, Twitter and Google + who are watching right now. What if we already bought a house with a VA loan, can we take out another loan on top of our mortgage to do energy efficient upgrades to our house?
Kurt Krieger: “We can do energy efficient mortgage on a refinance, but we can’t do a loan separate for the improvements.”