Solar Energy: Is It Right for You & Your Home?
Solar energy is here to stay!
Last year, solar energy was installed in more than one million American homes. The Solar Energy Industries Association projects the solar industry will grow threefold over the next five years. In 2016, a new solar energy installation was completed every 84 seconds – there are now 1.3 million installations in the US. Virginia ranks 20th among the states for solar installations with approximately 24,000 homes using solar power. (FYI Maryland is 14th).
Are you considering the switch to solar energy? Installing solar energy panels at your home not only increases its value and creates energy savings, they help lessen your carbon footprint — something we all need to be mindful of. But many homeowners are afraid to take the plunge due to some common misconceptions about solar energy. So please allow us to myth-bust for a moment!
Myths About Solar Energy
“I Can’t Afford Solar Energy.”
Solar prices have dropped tremendously – a whopping 67% since 2011. Prices dropped 29% from the end of 2015 to the end of 2016.
Not only are prices on the decline, you will get a nice tax break when you go solar.
The federal solar tax credit reduces your solar system cost by 30%.
Some state and local jurisdictions and utility companies also offer rebates and other incentives that can further reduce your costs. For example, Alexandria City offers a real estate tax exemption for the value of certified solar energy equipment.
How much IS it to install solar energy in your home? The average price of a residential (photovoltaic) PV system ranges from $15,000 to $40,000. According to energysage.com, a Virginia resident can expect to pay $19,095 – $33,792 out of pocket to install solar energy. While the upfront cost can seem steep, the Virginia resident will also enjoy net savings of $18,603 – $36,479 over 20 years.
Keep in mind, today’s solar panel systems are built to last. Most residential solar energy systems will function for about 40 years.
“It’s Too Much Maintenance.”
Definitely NOT true!
The only recommended maintenance is hosing down the panels once a year. A good rain can even take care of this for you. Just keep the panels free of debris and dirt or anything else that may block the light.
“It Won’t Work If It’s Not Sunny.”
Solar panels convert direct and indirect sunlight into energy, which means they work even during cloudy weather. Remember, a cloudy day is not dark like nighttime. While direct sunlight is the most effective, rest assured you are still enjoying the benefits of the panels on a gray day.
You will want to ensure your home and roof are ready for solar panels.
Surprisingly, only 25% of homes have roofs ready for solar panels. If yours is not, a newer product, solar shingles, may be an alternative for you.
Your roof must be large and durable enough (if your roof is nearing the end of its life, you’ll want to replace it before installing solar panels). Solar panels can be installed on any type of roof, but you’ll want to use an expert if you have a wood or slate roof.
You’ll also want to check the orientation, angle, and shading of your roof. South-facing roofs capture the most solar energy. A solar energy expert can assess your set-up and help you determine if it’s a sensible investment.
Lastly, you’ll want to check with your HOA and/or local jurisdiction to see if there are any issues or restrictions when installing solar panels.
The Bottom Line
Making the leap to solar energy not only makes financial sense, it can greatly reduce your home’s environmental impact. Be sure to talk to professionals to see if it makes sense at your home.
If we can help you think through solar energy for your home or any other project, please reach out. We are always happy to help!
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