The process of building green is different than normal building. There are new considerations to include in the mix.
Here is an example. Solar PV is a smart choice in NY I think. NY gets a lot of sun and although a Californian electrician might scoff at it, most NY professionals think it is a good move.
Now with NYCERTA incentives it makes a lot more sense because they will eventually pay back a lot of your up front costs, which are hefty. But to get their money you need to have a NYCERTA installer do the job, and they are not the cheapest. Of course they would argue they are higher quality and on average they are. But they also have a cornered market and that drives up their price too.
So you have to pay a lot to get some money back. Fair enough.
On average the difference between a non NYCERTA certified installer and NYCERTA install is not greater than the benefit of getting the NYCERTA money. So it makes sense to go with NYCERTA.
But then there is the option of getting second hand panels. Solar panels are like computers and cars: the moment you take them out of the store they drop in value. Which means you can get deals. The problem is that many NYCERTA installers will not go for this. You never know what you’re getting with second hand stuff.
But the cost you save with second hand makes it more attractive to go with a cheaper non certified installer. Now you can get a good system at lower cost. You don’t get NYCERTA or state funding but quite possibly your up front costs are much lower and so are your overall costs.
The drawback is that you are getting second hand panels which are hard to find, come with no guarantee and aren’t as powerful as the new ones. Since they aren’t as powerful you need to buy more of them, which take up space and more money.
So it is a balancing act.
BUT there is more to the equation. Solar panels are green. Recycling is green. Recycling solar panels is so green it’s not even funny! And for me this is very attractive. And by green I don’t mean “I’m cool” I mean, saving energy, saving air, saving materials, and ultimately saving the planet. And this ain’t morality, this is common sense.