6 Ways Solar Can Save You Money
Residential solar is an important contributor to America’s new carbon action plan. Homeowners who invest in solar are clean energy leaders who can be proud about doing the right thing for our planet and everyone on it. However, installing solar is hardly a sacrifice. On the contrary, solar is a smart financial investment that more than pays for itself both immediately and in the long run. Before installing your solar panels make sure you check with DePalma construction in Pennsylvania to make sure your roof is in good condition to add solar panels.
Let’s take a look at six ways homeowners can save money with solar.
1. Lower utility bills – Adjusted for today’s dollars, the average American household spends $2,241 per year on energy bills, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey. In addition, electricity use accounts for a growing percentage (over 33 percent) of consumer energy costs. Installing solar can wipe out 70 percent or more of a solar homeowner’s monthly electricity and/or water heating costs.
Solar is an especially attractive option for homeowners who are looking forward to retirement. By making the investment in solar while they are still drawing a working income, they can avoid burdensome utility bills in their retirement years. This is an especially smart move when you consider that while their income will remain level after retiring, the price of energy is likely to continue to rise. Installing solar panels allows retirees to effectively lock in today’s energy rates until payback is achieved, and then receive extremely low-cost or virtually free energy for the rest of their lives afterwards.
2. Net metering – Net metering is a policy in effect in many states that requires utility companies to buy excess renewable energy from private owners for use in the grid. Net metering helps states and utilities meet their percentage goals for including renewables in their energy portfolios. It also helps reduce or eliminate the need to build more power plants. And, it’s a boon to homeowners because it makes renewable energy systems like solar and wind more affordable.
Not every state has net metering laws. Those that do vary in how they structure the process. To find out about net metering laws in your state, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website.
3. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) – Some states have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires electric companies to use solar for a designated percentage of the energy they distribute. Since most utilities don’t own enough solar infrastructure to meet these requirements on their own, they must secure it from solar energy providers — including residential solar homeowners. This is done through the buying and selling of solar renewable energy certificates, similar to stock certificates.
If you own a solar energy system in a state that offers SRECs, you will typically receive one certificate for each megawatt-hour of energy you produce. You can then sell your SREC’s for cash just as you would stocks. SREC prices are regulated to encourage participation in the program. For instance, Massachusetts has set a price floor of $150 and a ceiling of $600 per certificate. That means that a Massachusetts homeowner producing 6 kW of solar energy per year can receive a minimum of $1,200 annually by selling their SRECs.
In order to participate in SREC programs, systems must be certified with an approved state agency. Many states limit the number of years a system owner may participate in the program. If you would like to know more about SREC programs in your state, contact your local utility or solar energy provider.
4. Increased home value – Depending on your property and location, adding solar may add more value to your home than it costs to install, according to a recent study by the Berkeley National Laboratory. This study was done in California, where solar is becoming mainstream. However, research conducted last year by the Appraisal Institute, a national association of professional real estate appraisers, indicates that solar improves home value in other areas of the country as well.
5. Solar transportation – Now that electric cars are becoming better, cheaper and more readily available, many solar homeowners are thinking past their homes and considering replacing their high gasoline costs with cheap solar electricity. Since most solar systems can be expanded by adding additional panels, this is an option not just for new projects but for veteran solar owners, too.
Wondering how you can afford to take advantage of all the benefits of solar power?
It’s true, adding solar to your home is a significant upfront investment. Fortunately, there’s one more cost benefit of solar I haven’t mentioned yet:
6. Government incentives – Many financial incentives exist to help make solar more affordable. On the federal level, there’s a 30 percent tax credit for installing a renewable energy system, and many states and cities offer tax credits, rebates and other attractive solar incentives as well. These credits can go a long way when you efile your taxes this year. Many of these incentives have expiration dates, though, so don’t wait too long if you would like to achieve maximum savings with your solar installation!
Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation,a DC solar panel company that is helping make our planet a greener and healthier home for all of us to live on for now and the future.
Solar is a natural energy source that harnesses the Sun’s power and reduces our reliance on foreign and non-renewable sources helping to make us self-sufficient. It can preserve and protect our environment in many ways; reduce our carbon footprint, help stop global warming that affects our climate, help reduce and conserve our diminishing water supply, preserve the earth’s supply of non-renewable resources, and help save many endangering animals around the world. What are your thoughts on solar energy? Have you checked into or thought about using the sun to supply your household with natural power?