Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I do Solar when I buy my Roof?
It makes sense financially. 1. Financing options are better. 2. Your roof will pay for itself. 3. Both the roof and the solar will be cheaper because they share overhead costs. See also explanation of “Net Present Value”.ings and press "Manage Questions" button.
Why is the Roof cheaper when I buy Solar at the same time?
Because the overhead costs are shared, the soft costs are lowered (engineering fees, permits, taxes, etc.), and the roof and solar have a better lifetime match. Additionally, when you have solar you are actually able to pay for the Roof and the Solar by the energy cost savings and rebates. Depending on your financing, you can get a roof for no upfront cost that will pay for itself (or more). If you are paying cash, the energy you produce makes returns on your cash investment.
You are calling Solar an investment. Why wouldn’t I just invest in the stock market?
Solar is a low risk way of investing in a clean carbon future. It also diversifies your assets.
This seems too good to be true, why isn’t everyone else doing this?
Some people are! But most Roofers aren’t Solar Installers and most Solar Installers aren’t Roofers. We believe we are at the beginning of a wave of solar roofers because this model makes so much sense. Our larger goal is to build this model to share with others to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
What is the “payback period” for Solar?
The “payback period”gives you a concrete way to grasp that your solar is worth the cost. If you pay cash, the payback period for solar tends to be around 6 years depending on your usage and your system (see blue lines in graph above). When adding solar with a new roof, however, this payback period can be immediate when you finance with no money down (see "Financing- Payback" equation above left). Since your solar roof pays you, we find it can also be helpful to measure it in investment terms, like “Net Present Value” (see FAQ question on NPV).
What is Net Present Value (NPV)?
This is a way that finance people decide whether an investment is worth their time and money. We can show you the math if you want (contact us), but it’s basically a formula to calculate what each investment is worth in today’s dollars. If the number is positive, then you are making money on the investment, if it is negative, then you are losing money.
Remember, that when looking at roofing only, you are already negative the price of the roof, so the NPV is -$12,000 for example- this is not an investment it is an expense.
Getting a Roof with solar, even if your NPV is -$3000, then you are still getting a better deal (+9,000 from the NPV of the roof alone). If the NPV is positive, say +$1200, then you are actually making money on the life of the roof and you are +$13,200 from where you would be if you just bought a roof. We find this to be a more accurate calculation than a “payback period” even if it is a little more complicated.
The other roofers quoted me for a 30, 40, and 50 year Roof. Why didn’t you?
The materials are the same for the 30, 40, and 50 year roof. The other roofers are selling you a warranty which you will need to collect on when your roof fails. The money you will work to collect would be a depreciated value on the roof. A very small percentage of people (if any) actually collect on that warranty for a few reasons: 1. The home has changed ownership and either the warranty isn’t transferable or the new owners are not aware of it. Or 2. When ownership is the same, after 20 years they don’t want to go through the effort of collecting the amortized portion of the roof value. For these reasons we feel it is better to keep that money in your pocket. We can sell you the warranty if you want it, but we do not recommend it. More information on roofing warranties can be found here: http://staticcontent.nrca.net/consumer/warranties.pdf.
If you want a roof that will last 40-50 years, we recommend a metal roof and will be happy to give you a quote. It tends to be double the material cost, but the labor, overhead and soft costs remain pretty much the same. The Net Present Value (NPV) of a metal roof generally looks better than a shingle roof. See also "What's the deal with a Metal Roof?" in the FAQ.
Why should I choose Amy’s Construction for my Roof?
Because we will always be honest and communicative, we have made a commitment to doing our job with integrity and we take good care of our employees. We are a mom and pop shop with a big vision of a sustainable future for the Bay Area and beyond.
What’s the deal with a Metal Roof?
Metal roofs last longer (by 2-3x) for a lower lifetime cost, they are also 100% recyclable. They are not louder in the rain despite the myth. When you have decking and insulation the noise is equivalent to a composition shingle roof. Metal roofs color and gloss match better to solar. Metal roof is lighter weight but it's more resistant to impact from things like hail and tree fall. It's more energy efficient because it reflects more light than composition shingle. It's not made of oil like composition shingle. It has the same fire rating as composition shingle.
We recommend getting a quote. Even if you are not planning to stay in your house, it's resale value will easily pay for the difference in cost, if not more.