Tarek and Heather El Moussa of “The Flipping El Moussas” are always looking to improve the homes they flip or live in themselves, and their latest efforts focus on a major money saver that’s still highly misunderstood: solar energy.
After coming across one too many bad solar panel installations in their line of work, the Newport Beach, CA–based HGTV stars and real estate investors decided to launch their own company to help homeowners with this complicated process called Soar Energy.
“We decided to co-start a solar company because we had negative experiences with solar systems in the past,” Tarek tells Realtor.com. “Many properties we purchased had inadequate systems due to inexperienced sales representatives underselling the homeowner just to close the deal.”
We asked Heather and Tarek to answer the most common solar energy questions to help you decide if going solar is worth the money, time, and energy involved.
When thinking about switching to solar energy, what are the biggest rewards and challenges homeowners should consider?
Heather: Homeowners should consider solar panels because utility rates continue to rise, and residential solar systems have become more affordable.
Over the past 15 years, solar prices have decreased by 70%. Our electrical grid wasn’t designed to handle the increasing demand from modern households with multiple devices and appliances. This has led to rolling blackouts and substantial electricity rate increases. By installing solar panels, homeowners can lock in their electricity costs, save money monthly, and contribute to environmental sustainability.
Tarek: For our flips and builds, we install solar panels on every property we plan to hold in high-cost utility areas.
What tax rebates come with installing solar panels?
Tarek: If you purchase a solar system, whether by paying cash, using a home equity line of credit, or solar financing, you are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Additionally, if you need a new roof as part of the solar project, you can also receive a federal tax credit for the roof.
Do you have solar panels on your house, and how much money does it cut off your electric bills?
Heather: The cost of our solar panel system was around $25,000, but after the 30% federal tax credit, it came down to about $17,500.
As for cutting electric bills, homeowners can [save] typically 30% to 50% [of] what they would pay to their electric company.
What are the most common mistakes homeowners make when installing solar panels?
Heather: Many homeowners receive poor advice regarding the size of the system, the best financing options, and the type of equipment to use. We founded our company with the goal of providing a better experience.
Tarek: Our advice for homeowners interested in installing solar panels is to avoid attempting the installation themselves by watching YouTube videos.
It’s essential to work with a Pearl-certified company that follows a high-quality installation process and uses reliable equipment. Pearl Certification acts as a verification system for the solar industry, similar to a Carfax.
At Soar Energy and our installation division Better Earth, we are Pearl-certified.
What other eco-friendly, energy-efficient features do you have in your home?
Tarek: In our home, we have implemented lots of eco-friendly and energy-efficient features. These include smart thermostats, energy-efficient windows, LED lightbulbs, energy-efficient appliances, proper weatherstripping for insulation, and an efficient HVAC system.
We believe in taking a holistic approach to sustainability and focusing on the features that have the most significant impact.
What other plans do you have for your home? Doing any renovations this summer?
Heather: We recently completed a big renovation of our rooftop deck and Tristan’s nursery. We also have a few exciting home improvement projects underway, which you’ll be able to see on the upcoming season of “The Flipping El Moussas.”