Why go solar?
Solar energy has never been more popular – and it’s no wonder why. Global oil supplies are growing scarce and more expensive every year, and we are all too aware of the multifaceted perils of continuing our dependence on fossil fuels. So now is the perfect time to make an investment in the world’s most abundant renewable energy resource – sun power.
There have always been compelling ecological reasons to use solar power in your home or business. And thanks to lower solar equipment costs, technological advances, enlightened utility regulations and government incentives, solar power now makes economic sense as well.
You can take advantage of solar power to offset soaring energy prices – and help the planet at the same time!
Be Environmentally Savvy
Powering your home or business with solar energy demonstrates your commitment to a healthy environment and a more sustainable future for us all. Photovoltaic (PV) systems emit absolutely zero greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
Consider just a few facts that support the decision to go solar:
A typical three-kilowatt residential solar system keeps almost two tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) out of the atmosphere each year.
A solar power system requires just 2 to 3 years to generate the same amount of energy used in its production.
40 percent of all CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning result from the generation of electricity.
Safe and Sound Financial Investment
In all but a few rare places with high, steady winds and limited sunlight, you cannot find a cheaper source of clean energy than photovoltaic power. Electric utility prices are widely expected to continue their inexorable rise, but making the sun your own power source will help protect you from rate hikes for 25-35 years or more.
And with incentives such as Northern California State rebates and federal tax credits, you can significantly lower the initial cost of your PV system and reduce the time it takes to earn back your investment.
In today’s uncertain financial world, investing in solar power makes even more sense. The return on your money will only grow over time, your investment is virtually risk-free, and installing solar power increases the value of your property. How many investments today can make these claims?
With no moving parts to wear down or break, solar power systems offer years of trouble-free use. Solar panels make no noise and emit no pollution whatsoever. Solar power reduces your dependence on non-local energy sources and helps you control your energy costs no matter what’s going on in global energy markets.
Northern California State & Federal Incentives Help You Get Connected
Northern California State rebates and federal tax credits make clean solar energy more affordable than ever. Commercial solar installations can now take their 30% Federal Tax Credit in the form of a GRANT, which increases Solar’s attractiveness! Solar now makes FINANCIAL sense ~ more than ever before!
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect upon the President’s approval in August of 2005. The Act attempted to combat growing energy problems, to change previous United States energy policy, and to entice consumers to become more energy efficient.
The Act provided tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of various types, enabling solar power consumers to lessen the financial burden that is associated with becoming energy efficient.
However, with the ever-growing interest in solar energy and the ongoing rise in electricity costs, the Act became obsolete.
Thus, in 2008, the federal government passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. This Act amended the 2005 Act, to include modifications and extensions of many consumer tax rebates and incentives.
The 2008 Act provides homeowners and business owners a federal tax credit for using solar power in their home. Residential and business owners who install solar electric systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2016. There is no monetary cap for residential or commercial installations.
Also, contrary to popular belief, the home served by the solar energy system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence. Essentially, the purchase of a solar energy system makes you eligible for a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of your solar system, including installation.More information about Federal Tax Incentives can be found at Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).
In addition to federal tax incentives, some solar power consumers may be eligible for state, county, and city rebates. The major rebate plan is the California Solar Initiative. (Click Here to Download the CA Solar Initiative Handbook) This initiative gives $2.9 billion in tax rebates for solar installation. The Initiative is part of California’s “Go Solar California” campaign.
California has offered solar energy rebates to customers in certain territories for many years, but with the growth of solar energy and high utility costs, past rebates were insufficient. As a result, California enhanced its rebate programs to include two modified solar incentive and rebate programs.
The new Initiative also included an enhancement in the way solar incentives are calculated. Incentive levels are now based on solar energy performance factors such as size, installation angle, tilt, and location.
This modification maximizes rewards for owners of systems that provide maximum solar generation. The California Solar Initiative consists of two payment types: Expected Performance-Based Buy-Down, or EPBB, and Performance Based Incentive, or PBI.
The former pays solar consumers their incentive a one-time, up-front incentive. It is generally for smaller solar energy system consumers. The latter payment type, generally for consumers of larger solar power systems, pays the consumer over a five year period.
In addition to the California Solar Initiative, there are several other state, city and county solar power incentives and rebates available for homeowners and business owners. Brief examples of other incentives and rebates available to solar power consumers located in California include the California Property Tax Exemption for qualified solar energy systems.
The California Property Tax Exemption allows a property tax exclusion for certain types of solar energy systems installed between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2016. Qualifying active solar energy systems are defined as those that “are thermally isolated from living space or any other area where the energy is used, to provide for the collection, storage, or distribution of solar energy.” These include photovoltaic (PV) systems.
Several other rebates and incentives are available to those wishing to become more energy efficient and cost efficient. For more information about Northern California solar energy incentives and rebates, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Is Solar Energy Really Expensive?
There are many factors that go into the cost of solar energy. The average solar installation costs about $9 to $10, so a typical 3kW system would run you $27,000 to $30,000 before rebates and incentives are factored in. When you call a solar energy installation company for an estimate, they will gauge your household energy consumption habits, the available space where solar energy panels would be feasible and the size of the system you would need.
Don’t forget solar energy incentives!
Federally, you may qualify to get 30 percent off your solar energy expenses. This rebate will come in the form of cash coming back to you at tax time. Additionally, you can look up local and state rebates on the 1BOG Solar cities page.
Do you like your neighbors?
Another way to save on solar energy costs is to start a community petition to become eligible for a group discount. Even one dollar per watt off could save you $3,000. One Block Off The Grid is organizing interested parties to leverage the cost of solar panel installations in select communities. Once 100 people sign up, the companies lobbies for a group discount.
Ever hear of home equity loans?
Some people are borrowing off their home mortgages today to be repaid dividends tomorrow. After the initial investment, solar energy panel installations generally pay themselves back within 10 to 15 years. For solar energy water heaters, the savings come much quicker, usually in 4 to 7 years. You might decide it’s in your best interest to buy now, while the government is still willing to dole out discounts.
The Appraisal Institute found that solar energy increases home value $20 for every dollar saved in electric costs. You’ll see savings on your electricity bill, plus you will not be at the mercy of the power companies’ rate increases. So why not consider how you can make a modest investment in residential solar energy to do your part for the planet?
Tennessee Residents Are Paid For Their Extra Solar Electricity
Did you know that more than 400 solar-power-using homeowners are getting paid by the Tennessee Valley Authority and local power distributors? Power companies receive a surplus of maintenance-free power and Tennesseans save on their bills. Win-win projects like this are lighting the way toward a more energy-independent future.
How They’re Doing It:
- The Generation Partners program lets homeowners feed electricity into the grid. New participants receive a $500 sign-up bonus.
- The Nashville Electric Service pays out more than double what they charge for power. So far there are 78 customers taking advantage of this.
How It Affects People:
- People like Carly and Ed Wanding receive a $100 credit on their latest electricity bill, thanks to their 2007 photovoltaic panel installation. They build their credit in the spring and the fall, then use it to pay for increased summer and winter energy bills. The Wansings paid $11,500 for their system after incentives but will have it all paid off within 15 years’ time.
- Andy Sudbrock installed a $60,000 6.28-kilowatt solar power system to power his farming and plant nursery business. Yet, he only paid 5 percent of the cost, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, a federal tax credit and a $1,000 signing bonus from the power distributor. After a year of writing grants and filling out applications, Sudbrock is now free from ever paying another electric bill. Not only is the $2,010 check sweet, but so is the fact that he’ll be operating his business off clean energy for decades.
Stories like this are an inspiration to the whole nation and a testament to how solar energy can be approached intelligently. When power companies and local citizens work together, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.
Why Should You Buy a Solar Panel System?
The reasons for buying a PV system are different for each person. Often concern for the environment is high on the list of reasons, and providing your own energy through a renewable source is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment by reducing air pollution and preserving fossil-fuel resources.
A solar electric system adds value to your home and is a good way to improve your property while also producing clean, quiet energy that will last for many years.
There is a sense of independence that many people seek which can be found in producing your own electricity. This reduces the amount of electricity that must be purchased from the utility and prevents you from being at the mercy of future price increases. Rather than buying energy you make it yourself!
If you are building a home in an area that is out of reach of an established utility service, an off-grid system may be less expensive than having a utility line extended to your home making it a better choice practically, economically and environmentally.
Solar energy is considered to be the energy choice for the future and, while technology will surely improve, it will not do so at such a rate that makes buying now unwise. What you are really doing is getting in on something beneficial now that other people may not understand the value of until later, meaning you start saving money today!