Our two KC Solar co-owners Scott Briley and Hunter Hoss were on Bernie Wurts’s podcast, KC Business Huddle back in December. We encourage you to go listen to the episode here, but for your convenience, we’ve also provided detailed show notes below.
Scott and Hunter start by introducing themselves and discussing a bit of their background and how they ended up working together in the solar industry.
While Hunter was looking for someone to install solar on his own home, he saw his old friend Scott selling solar panels on LinkedIn.
- They connected and two things happened: Scott told Hunter he wanted to branch out on his own, and Hunter told Scott he wanted to get involved in the solar business.
- Five years ago, they decided to come together, along with another previous coworker of Scott’s who is a master electrician, and formed KC Solar.
Main Benefits of Going Solar
Bernie says he’s noticed that solar has been increasingly in the news over the last few years, and then asks: What are the main benefits for going Solar for homeowners?
- Environmental Impact: Compared to fossil fuels, solar-powered energy produces far lower lifecycle levels of greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants. Solar power could produce $167 billion in savings from lower future health and environmental damages while also preventing 25,000–59,000 premature deaths. (gov.)
- Save Money on Your Electric Bill: According to data by EnergySage, in Kansas City, the average customer can expect to save an average of $1,535 per year by making the switch to solar power. Although it requires an upfront investment for purchase and installation, those savings translate to an average of $30,718 over 20 years.
- Return on Investment: After making the initial payments, your electricity costs are locked in for good. No more surprises when you open your monthly electric bill. After paying off your startup costs for solar, you’re only making money. (This takes 8-10 years generally) Most solar panels and inverters come with a 25-year warranty. However, EnergyInformative reports that many new solar systems installed today can be expected to continuously produce electricity for 30-40 years into the future.
- Energy Independence: Since you’re not depending on your utility company for electricity production, you won’t be subject to their price increases. Electricity prices have risen by an average of 3%-3.5% per year over the past decade, and there are no signs this trend is changing any time soon.
- Increase Home Value: According to Energy.gov, solar panels are seen as home upgrades, similar to a renovated kitchen or finished basement. Additionally, home buyers are willing to pay a $15,000 premium on a home that has solar panels – and solar-powered homes are more likely to sell quickly, as well.
What Is Stopping People from Going Solar?
After hearing the reasons above, Bernie then asks what is stopping most people from jumping on board for Solar.
- There is still a lot of education needed for people to understand the larger, longer-term benefit.
- The upfront costs can be scary, but once you do the math of what your electricity bill will cost over the next 20 years, and compare that to the cost of the solar panels over the same timeframe, solar is a very attractive, fiscally responsible option.
- Scott then asks a rhetorical question asking someone to find an electric company that will lock in the same rate for the next 20 years, but as he quickly points out that’s not possible unless you own your electricity production with solar panels.
Bernie says he understands Solar can be particularly beneficial for people going into retirement, and then asks why that is.
- Protect Yourself Against Inflation: During retirement, most people are living on a fixed income, which may include payouts from your retirement plan and/or Social Security. But while your income may be fixed, most expenses are not, especially as more time passes during retirement. It’s reasonable to expect that costs will continue to change over the years.
- The average retired couple will spend $58,000 on electricity over 25 years if costs continue inflating about 3-3.5% each year.
- Increase Your Home’s Value: Solar panels are extremely valuable when it comes to increasing your home’s value, even if you don’t plan to stay there forever. On top of the statistics mentioned above:
- 59% of realtors report that homeowners were somewhat or very interested in sustainability.
- 70% of real estate agents and brokers revealed that promoting energy efficiency in home listings is either very or somewhat valuable.
- Utility and operation costs (81%) was the top-ranked building features that homeowners indicated are somewhat or very important. (National Association of Realtors study)
- Make a Safe Investment that Guarantees a Return: When it comes to retirement, you need a stable source of income you can depend on. Investments are almost never guaranteed to provide a return. But solar panels are a different type of investment. Solar panels will never lose you money — they’ll only continue producing energy which will save you money through the length of your retired life. No matter what the markets are doing.
- Reduce Your Taxes: You don’t have to pay for solar panels alone. Thanks to the federal Investment Tax Credit, new solar installers get back 26% of the cost spent on their system through the end of 2022.
- For instance: If the cost of your solar system were an even $10,000, you would receive a $2,600 credit back from the government when you file your taxes the next year. If you theoretically owed the IRS $2,600 in taxes, your new total owed would be $0.
Solar in the Kansas City / Overland Park Area
Bernie asks how many solar companies there are in the greater Kansas City area, and why people should want to work with KC Solar.
- Scott and Hunter estimate there are roughly 20 solar companies operating in Kansas City, but only about 6 are local companies and not a big national chain.
Scott and Hunter then list the myriad of reasons people enjoy working with KC Solar:
- Better Prices: Local solar companies sometimes offer special pricing (like our $0 down loans at KC Solar), but the price of solar panel systems from local companies is often more affordable.
- A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) showed that large solar installers — those that installed more than 1,000 systems per year — quoted prices 10% higher than the prices quoted by local solar installers.
- Customer Satisfaction is Everything: Local solar companies are likely to care more about the work they do, because for us, it’s personal. Our high-quality materials, installation teams, and customer satisfaction standards mean that you’re always getting 110% from us. We’ll get to know you and be by your side from the very beginning of your solar project. To the end. And into the future. Your happiness is personal to us.
- And our customers’ happiness isn’t the only thing we care about — our reputation in the community is extremely important. While a national installer may not care as much about a local reputation… for local installers, it’s everything.
- Hunter tells Bernie they often have to fix solar installations from large national solar companies because they come in to a market, sell a bunch, and then leave with no intention to support their customers in the event that something does go wrong, needs repaired, or replaced.
- The Customer is in Charge: Working with a local solar company means that you’ll get a 100% personalized, customized solar system for your home. Unlike national solar installers, which may be more interested in applying a cookie-cutter solar solution in order to do the least amount of work, your local solar company will be on the ground with you to create the best solar system for you.
- And that extends through the life of your system — not just until the installation is complete. A good local solar company will maintain a relationship with you for years to come.
- Hunter tells Bernie how they have been called to fix other local solar panel installations as well, because KC Solar has the best team in the market.
- Invest in Your Community: By choosing a local solar company for your solar installation project, you’re supporting a local business as well as your own community. Just as your local solar company sees their work as an investment into your community — providing green, renewable energy and lower electric bills for our neighbors — choosing to hire local companies ensures that your money stays within your community, making the local economy stronger. That money can be reinvested into the community in so many different ways.
Common Misconceptions About Going Solar
Scott discusses some of the misconceptions about Solar Panels and Solar Energy.
- First common misconception: That Solar Panels are ugly.
- As the solar industry has continued to evolve, so have the capabilities to design a solar system that fits your needs – and not only from an efficiency standpoint. In fact, it’s never been easier to find great examples of rooftop solar panel installations that seamlessly blend into the roof tiles. As you consider making the switch to renewable energy for your home, don’t be discouraged by the idea of “ugly” solar panels.
- Second common misconception: That Solar Panels are a political issue.
- Solar panels might feel political in today’s polarized climate. But no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you’ll find that solar is flourishing in traditionally “blue” and “red” states both — for example, California and Georgia. When you take a step back from the hyper-political or emotional messaging around solar panels and start to look at it from a purely economic standpoint, the benefits are clear.
Interesting Solar Panel Story
Bernie asks if Scott and Hunter have any interesting stories about any Solar Panel installation projects they’ve been involved in.
Hunter runs through some of the details of Brady and Kirby Mangels in Burlington, KS (100 miles from KC):
- Young couple in their mid-20s, both military, purchased old dairy house in September 2020 that is 160 years old and 4,500 square feet
- Average utility bill was $460 in the summer before solar, $1,500 on heating over the winter
- Brady Mangels is working on mechanical engineering degree and started learning about sustainable energy, so they investigated solar. Within a week, they’d gotten a quote from the KC solar team, and the military discount helped seal the deal.
- No one else in Burlington had solar panels. But surprisingly, working with the city of Burlington wasn’t as much of a challenge as you may expect from a town of 2,600 people with no existing solar projects. Rather than asking questions and waiting for permits to be approved up the chain of command, there was one person who did it all — and had real authority to make decisions.
- The Mangels’ dream of a solar-powered home became a reality when we installed their 8.68 kW system in March 2021.
- As the cost benefit was their main priority for going solar — the environmentally-friendly aspect was just a bonus — they’re now turning their focus toward other ways of becoming cost- and energy-efficient. Next up, the Mangels are interested in implementing geothermal, an energy source that will work well in tandem with their solar panels.
- And they just bought an electric car: the Ford Mustang Mach E. The Mangels said that they’d become the “talk of the town” for a little bit.
What Does Going Solar with KC Solar Look Like?
Bernie asks to walk him through the process of going solar from beginning to end at a high level.
Scott and Hunter briefly list out the steps as:
- Signing the agreement
- Working through the financing (if necessary)
- Site surveys for either structural, if going on a building, or ground if being placed directly on the land
- Going through the approval process with the energy company (typically Evergy in the Kansas City area) which can take anywhere between 2-6 weeks
- Working with the jurisdiction to follow all laws and regulations
- Installation of the solar panels, which typically takes 2 days
- After installation, the energy company has to inspect the system and install the net metering monitor
They say the average time it takes a customer from signing the paperwork to the time the system is fully functional is about two months.
Start Your Switch To Solar Today
If you are looking for the best solar company in Kansas City, look no further than KC Solar. They are your local Kansas City solar panel installation experts. Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business.
KC Solar is the only local solar company in Kansas City with KC natives who own and operate the daily activities of the business. What does that mean for you? We care about you because we care about this city, and we only want the best for it.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.
We look forward to serving you!