Updated: Apr 14, 2022
You probably think solar is a good idea, but seems like a big investment that may or may not provide you a personal benefit. That was true in the past, but advancements in technology, recent government subsidies, and the rising cost of fossil fuels have made solar a viable alternative for qualifying homeowners.
What is solar, and how does it work?
Photovoltaic cells in solar panels convert sunlight to DC electricity. Your system inverter converts the DC electricity to AC electricity for your home appliances. In a net metering system, the unused DC electricity diverts to the grid to be used by other homeowners and businesses, and the utility company pays you for that electricity with credits. Sunlight is free, so you only pay for the equipment; once it is fully purchased, you owe nothing else.
We partner with and sale only the highest tier panels (guaranteed at a minimum of 60mph impact resistance, and carry a comprehensive 30 year installation, product and energy production warranty), microinverters (an inverter at each panel to increase energy production and an app to monitor each panel's production), and affordable home batteries.
Why should I go solar?
Solar has enormous potential: enough sunlight hits the earth every 90 minutes to power the earth’s energy needs for a year; we just need to capture it. Fossil fuels come from fossilized plants and animals, a limited resource that contributes to most of the carbon released into the atmosphere. Energy prices dependent on fossil fuels fluctuate based on supply, procurement costs, and expenses of environmental cleanup. Solar is clean and renewable.
Solar is an investment of ownership, and the amount you invest depends on the size of your system. The size of the system refers to the number of panels your home needs to produce enough electricity to match your usage; this could be a smaller, proportionate offset or larger, full offset of your estimated usage. Financing allows you to lock in investment rates below your monthly average utility budget, resulting in immediate monthly savings as well as long-term protection against inflation.
In North Carolina, utility rates have risen 40% since 2010, and are expected to rise at a rate of nearly 5% over the next 10 years. Last year, Duke Energy raised residential utility rates 5.3%! Even if you purchase electricity from a state cooperative, they purchase energy from Duke Energy, as the new state energy law signed last October gives Duke control over all power plants in the state, which affects cooperative rates as well.
By avoiding rising inflation costs, you can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars by switching to solar.
Solar panels are virtually maintenance-free, especially in our area of the South, where our roofs are free of dust and snow. If installed properly, you can forget about your panels and know they are working hard to save you money from day one!
What does solar cost?
I covered this topic in more detail in a separate post, but factors that affect the design cost include shade cover and direct sun exposure, viable roof space for installation, HOA, municipal, and utility company design restrictions, and, of course, the number of panels. Adding a battery can greatly increase the cost of the system, but probably isn’t needed in a net metering system; there are a lot of factors to consider about home batteries, such as the cost-benefit ratio of available batteries, your home’s storage needs, and the life expectancy of the battery compared to the cost. It is also important to purchase solar from a company with reputable installation teams, reliable panels, long-term warranties, and on-going support to ensure proper production over the lifetime of your system.
If you and your home qualify for solar (own your home, minimum 650 credit score, and household income is at least $40,000), the main decision you must make is whether you are willing to take the money you already spend each month for your power bill and apply it to ownership, which will lock in your monthly rate for immediate savings and protect you against rising inflation over time. In addition to monthly savings, the avoided costs will provide tens of thousands of dollars in savings.
Why is now the perfect time to go solar?
Build credits for summer: as I explained in the post about net metering, the extra energy from your panels goes into the grid, and the utility company pays you for it in credits, credits you use to pay for the energy you use from the grid. Building up credits in the winter and spring, when usage is lower, allows you to cover your additional usage in the summer with credits, which eliminates your power bill. With a typical 8-10 week installation timeline, you want to go solar now in order to eliminate your high summer power bill!
Historically low APR: just as with mortgage rates, solar financing has never been more affordable! And just like mortgage rates, they can only go up from here. It’s just a matter of time, so you should lock in rates while the can!
No upfront costs: no cost for consultation, survey, or design, and no payments until at least 60 days after installation, as well as no fees to pay early or transfer the loan.
Increase the value of your home: Zillow estimates the national average increase in home equity for installing solar is 4.1%, with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina earning the highest values in the country, about 4.8% increase in home value. Separately, a Berkley study funded by the Department of Energy estimates potential homeowners will pay a premium of about $15,000 more for a home with solar. The nation's largest organization of appraisers, Appraisal Institute, has published numerous articles supporting the claim that adding solar panels increases the value of the home, and decreases the marketing time for selling. And, according to Rocket Mortgage, home listing with solar sell 13.3% faster than homes without.
Federal tax incentive: until the end of 2022, the IRS will reimburse you for 26% of the total cost of the system with a tax credit (an overall reduction in the taxes you owe, paid on your tax return). In 2023, the credit is scheduled to reduce to 22%.
Rising inflation: electricity gets more expensive every year, meaning that NOW is always the best time to purchase an alternative and save your wallet from rising inflation costs!
We're in demand, so be sure to schedule your free consultation ahead of the summer seasonal rush! Solar panels no longer need a high noon sun to be productive, and our installers work all over the country, all year long!
My highest priority as a solar consultant is helping people. My goal for consultation is to determine the value for you, and leave you wanting to refer your friends even if you don't go solar. Book a free energy consultation with me today and let's see all the ways I can help you build a hedge against inflation, lower your monthly energy costs, and add value to your home: https://calendly.com/jduncansolarconsultant/appointment?month=2022-01
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