You may come across scammy solar advertisements about “free solar panels from the government.” This isn’t true. You can go solar for $0 down with a solar loan*, but federal and state governments do not provide free solar panel installations.
While the government won’t cover the cost of a solar panel installation, they do subsidize the upfront cost of purchasing a solar panel system through various solar incentives.
The federal investment tax credit (ITC) allows you to claim 26 percent of the cost of your solar installation as a credit towards what you owe in federal taxes. Depending on where you live, your state or local government may also provide additional solar incentives such as tax credits, rebates, or performance-based incentives.
*On Approved Credit for Qualified Homeowners
Many people are under the assumption that solar panels are a luxury purchase, and strictly an option for affluent people. This isn’t true – thanks to the falling costs of solar and the accessibility of financing options, solar is a feasible option for many property owners.The cost of solar has dropped substantially in the last decade – in 2008, the average cost of a solar panel installation was $8.82 per watt. For comparison, the average cost for solar quoted on Home Professionals now is $2.96.
Solar panels need sunshine to generate electricity. If you live in a particularly cold state that experiences a lot of snowstorms, you will likely generate less solar power in the winter months than summer because of fewer sunlight hours. However, the amount of electricity you’ll generate in the winter will still be enough to enjoy savings on your electricity bill. In fact, during the winter months when the sun is shining, solar panels actually perform more efficiently due to the colder temperatures.
When your solar panels are covered in snow, they will not generate power. Fortunately, solar panels are designed to bear a certain amount of weight and the snow shouldn’t cause any issues. Additionally, most panels are tilted at an angle so next time the sun comes out, the snow will slide off on its own.
Your system is still connected to the electricity grid, thus you would benefit from a net metering system. You are still able to keep your current local utility company, so if you produce more electricity on some days, you end up having more electricity credited to your own account. Therefore, if you need more electricity at night when the system isn’t running, you end up using the extra electricity produced to power your home directly from the grid. This is done automatically so you won’t notice any changes when the switch occurs whilst still have a low electricity bill.
As the cost to produce energy goes up over time, so does the price to you. Over the past decade, electricity prices have risen by an average of three percent each year. Eliminating or significantly reducing these costs will save you a lot of money in the long run. By going solar, you can hedge yourself against rising energy prices and make your monthly bills more reasonable.
Even if you don’t have the cash to buy a solar energy system up front, you can still reduce energy costs by financing your solar panel system with a loan. Most solar financing options require no money down and reduce your monthly expenses from day one of installation. As an added benefit, your monthly energy costs will no longer fluctuate – they will simply be the amount of your monthly loan payment. Over time your loan gets paid off leaving you with more money in your pocket.
Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of solar panels have popped up across the country as an increasing number of Americans choose to power their daily lives with the sun’s energy. The cost of switching to solar goes down every year, while power companies keep raising prices every year. You may be considering the option of adding a solar energy system to your home’s roof or finding another way to harness the sun’s energy. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solar solution, speaking to one of our local installers will help you determine if going solar is right for you.