You Gain Some Energy Independence
Solar panels use photovoltaic cells to harness radiation from the sun. Once converted from a direct to an alternating current, the panels allow your home to use the energy. In turn, you gain an energy source independent from the utility company, saving you money relative to using traditional energy sources for all of your power needs.
You can earn more on your investment through the sale of offsets. Some states allow you to sell your excess energy back to utility companies, which must purchase some of their power from renewable energy sources.
Moreover, if your utility experiences a power outage, you can use the energy stored in solar panels to keep your home powered through the storm. Overall, solar panels give you a level of power stability and financial flexibility not found in traditional sources.
Myth: Solar Panels Are Hard And Expensive To Maintain
False! Solar panels have no moving parts, are very durable, and require little maintenance over their life. Many installers and manufacturers will offer 25- to 30 year warranties to help you manage any issues that do arise. Like any home appliance, its a good idea to have your system inspected periodically to make sure its in good working order.
How To Get The Best Price On Solar Panels In Pennsylvania
Solar is a major purchase, and one that is often accompanied by significant complexity. With that in mind, most solar shoppers in the US compare two to five solar quotes before making a decision. Why? Comparing multiple solar quotes saves you money.
There are two primary reasons that comparing multiple solar quotes can save you money: competition and transparency. The competition effect means that each additional quote you receive for solar will help you to find the right solar panel system at the right price. Transparency can be trickier to put a price tag on, but for a market that has historically been opaque, knowing what equipment will be installed on your roofand the quality of that equipmenthelps to ensure youre getting the best solar solution for your needs.
This is where EnergySage can help: we take the hard work out of finding, calling and trying to compare quotes from different installers, by gathering custom solar quotes from local installers on your behalf and putting them in an easy-to-compare, side-by side format. When you receive multiple solar quotes through EnergySage, the two of these components combine, allowing you to save 15 to 25 percent on the cost of solar compared to going solar outside of EnergySage. .
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How Much Will Solar Panels Cost For Your Specific Home
To calculate solar panel cost for your home, it is first necessary to calculate how many solar panels are needed to power your home. The number of solar panels you need depends on how much electricity your home uses.
Our calculator can easily determine how many solar panels you need just by using the cost of your most recent electric bill.
See how many solar panels you need to power your home and how much they will cost based on current offers in your area
History Of Solar Policy In Pennsylvania
Over the past decade, the solar industry in the Quaker State has experienced its fair share of highs in lows. As of 2018, SEIA reports that the state ranks a modest 22nd amongst its peers with about 420 megawatts of installed solar energy capacity statewide. Luckily, Pennsylvania has recently seen an uptick in its solar production, however there is still much room to continue to make solar more accessible to everyone in the Keystone State.
Pennsylvanias first major solar law came in 1996 through the approval of the states electricity restructuring law. Among the many changes implemented in this legislation, one of the provisions was the establishment of clean energy public benefits programs, which created four separate funds with the purpose of promoting sustainable and renewable energy development. Funded by small surcharges on ratepayers utility bills, the Sustainable Energy Fund has provided more than $20 million in loans and $1.8 million in grants to over 100 projects. At present, thes tate is transitioning these four funds toward a revolving loan and investment fund model to better allocate capital.
One of the better financial incentives available to Pennsylvania residents is the Solar Alternative Energy Credit system, which began with the creation of the AEPS program. For residents, SREC payments are a solid financial incentive to go solar: as of early 2016 the going rate for these credits in the state was about $15 per megawatt hour of solar.
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Pros Of Residential Solar Power In Pa
The following are the primary benefits of residential solar power for Pennsylvania homeowners:
- Reduce or Eliminate Power Bills
Solar power can completely offset your utility power consumption and eliminate your monthly power bills entirely. These savings accumulate into tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the solar system, which can be as high as 25 to 30 years.
Whats more, the utility prices will keep increasing during this time, while you continue to enjoy free electricity.
- Amazing Government Incentives
The Quaker State has a thriving solar program, which offers terrific incentives for homeowners adopting solar. Some of these government incentives include:
- Federal solar tax credit
- Net metering
- Solar Alternative Energy Credits program
Thanks to these incentives, you end up making several times more money than your initial investment into solar.
- Improve the Property Value
Multiple studies have concluded that solar systems increase the overall value of properties by an average of 4%. A growing number of homebuyers seek energy-efficient systems in new properties, and solar power just happens to be an excellent add-on. No hassle of installation and permits just the benefit of free power for many years to come. Its considered a great benefit by many potential homebuyers.
- Reduce Carbon Emissions
Thats perhaps the biggest benefit of solar in the long run. You reduce your carbon footprint, contribute to the environment, and save the planet from greenhouse emissions.
Should I Buy Or Lease My Solar Panels
Buying and leasing solar panels both come with plenty of benefits. But in the long run, its more cost-effective to buy your solar panels, either in cash or through financing. When you buy the panels you can take advantage of the federal tax credit and other financial incentives. It also allows you to save more over the long term since you wont have a monthly payment for your solar panels forever. Adding solar panels can also increase your homes resale value by about $15,000.
Leasing solar panels is a good option if the initial cost is not feasible right now for you . Renters who want to utilize green energy may opt to lease solar panels. Overall, leasing programs help to make solar energy more accessible.
A final option is community solar. These shared solar programs split the cost of the solar system amongst participants who then share the benefits and energy produced, without the expense or obstacle of maintaining your own solar system. This option is great for those in apartment buildings or those who want a more affordable option.
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Intro To Solar Power In Pennsylvania
While its name implies a heavily wooded state, Pennsylvania features plenty of farmland and river valleys throughout its expansive mountainous terrain. As far as climate goes, the state experiences warm, humid summers and cold winters, from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. To put it succinctly, beautiful Pennsylvania is a great place to convert from grid electricity to using solar panel power.
Just a few years ago, the Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Panel Program disbursed rebates amounting to $100 million. These monies were awarded to residences and small businesses that had converted to solar electric or solar hot water. Unfortunately, by November 2013, the funds had been depleted.
So while the Keystone State was living up to its name not too long ago in terms of solar progress, it now ranks as average. Lets explore the current situation in the state and see what it means for you as an investor in Pennsylvania solar power.
The first piece of good news is that electricity prices are high in Pennsylvania. How is that good news? you ask. Well, if you look at the Swanson Effect graph above, youll see that solar power was very expensive in 1977. Per-watt costs have come down considerably since then.
Weather & Climate In Pennsylvania
Many residents in Pennsylvania worry that the frequent cloudy weather in the area will make solar a poor investment. While the state does receive fewer sunny days than the national average, theres still plenty of sun for most homeowners to benefit from solar and save quite a lot over time. Some homeowners also worry that the above-average snowfall and the northern location of PA will make solar less efficient and valuable, as sunlight is more intense the closer you get to the equator. Snow coverage will limit power production from your panels, but it also serves to keep them clean, which can maximize production once the snow clears. Additionally, while PA experiences long, cold winters with less intense sunlight, electricity travels more quickly in the cold, so youre still expected to get decent efficiency in the winter.
Compare Roi For Solar Panel Options In Pennsylvania
The graph above shows the 25-year ROI for a solar panel system. Weve illustrated the ROI for three different payment options: cash, loan, and lease. Youll see right away that purchasing leaves you with the most money in the end. Nevertheless, youll be spending more of your own money during those 25 years than you would with a loan.
Thats because you get a 30 percent tax credit from the U.S. government either way. When you buy your system with loan funds and then get your reimbursement, you start out in the black. Youll pay for your new asset over 15 years instead of all at once, just barely dipping into your own money.
Even if youre strapped, you can still take advantage of solar savings through third-party ownership. That means a lease or power-purchase agreement . Youll gradually make a small amount of money, because as electricity rates increase every year, your lease payments will increase by a smaller percentage. Read on for details on all three of these options.
Net Metering In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania net metering enables you to save money you would otherwise invest in battery storage. The net metering program enables you to use the electric grid as your solar storage. This program can augment your electricity savings, as your utility company will only deduct a small percentage of the energy you send to them from your total energy credit.
Net metering is a simple system that enables you to send excess electricity to the grid. Your utility company then sends the excess clean energy your solar panels produce to other users during the day and gives it back to you at night and during cloudy days when your solar panels cannot produce any electricity.
The prerequisite to go for net metering is to have a smart meter. If youre unsure whether you have one or not, contact your Pennsylvania power company and check with them. A smart meter enables you to use every kilowatt-hour your solar panels generate and make your solar system pay off much faster than usual.
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What Is The Average Payback Period For Residential Solar Panels In 2021
The solar payback period refers to the amount of time it takes for the electric bill savings from your solar panels to equal the amount you paid for the system. The average payback period for a residential solar system in 2021 is about seven years.
A payback period of seven years equates to a return on investment of approximately 14%. However, this varies greatly by state and even by regions within states.
Calculate the solar panel payback period for your home based on your location, electric use and current local solar system prices
Once you have generated an accurate payback period, you can compare this to the returns you see on other types of investments:
- Long-term government bonds currently have returns between 0.1% and 2%
- Zillow estimates that home prices increase between 3% and 5% annually
- The stock market has risen around 9.5% historically
As you can see, residential solar panels stack up favorably against all of these other investment options – and this is even before we consider the increase in a homes value caused by the solar panel installation.
Home Resale Value Increase
One solar benefit that most homeowners fail to consider is the bump in home value solar panels provide. When you install a solar power system, your property value will increase by around 4.1%, according to estimates from Zillow.4 In Pennsylvania, where the average home value is around $257,272, most residents will see a value increase of approximately $10,548.5 As is the case with several other solar incentives, this increase in value is only applicable if you use a solar loan or a cash purchase to acquire your panels. Solar leases and power purchase agreements are not expected to raise your home value at all.
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Which Panels Will Tesla Install On Your Roof
Its unclear what size or series panel Tesla will install on your roof, they dont even provide the technical specifications of their panels directly on their site. However, based on a table found here, it seems like the standard panel Tesla is using is 400 watts in size. With that said, there are plenty of places on their website that are out of date, so honestly, you probably wont know for sure until you place an order.
Is it worth installing Tesla solar panels in your area?
What Are Average Buy
One of the most common solar incentives mandated in most states is net metering, which allows solar customers to sell excess energy produced by their panels to their utility companies for a credit to their electric bills. Net metering helps bump up your ROI and shorten your payback period, so its very helpful for solar customers. Pennsylvania mandates net metering for all investor-owned utilities and requires that you get compensated for outgoing energy at the full retail rate per kWh. This is massively beneficial for Pennsylvania residents. In many other states, less favorable net metering programs require homeowners who want to eliminate their electric bills to buy a solar battery rather than send energy to the electric grid. Thankfully, this usually isnt the case in Pennsylvania.
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We Know Commercial Solar For Pennsylvania
Solar panels for commercial buildings here in Pennsylvania can take advantage of a wide range of rebates and local programs designed to minimize costs. These types of services can include business-specific rebates as well as programs that target both commercial and residential areas.
If your commercial installation is designed to save you money, itll likely be larger than a 3 kilowatt deployment. Youll surpass the threshold required for rebates such as the Sunshine Solar Program, which can reimburse businesses for up to 35 percent of the total cost of the project. As it stands today, that rebate is either 35% of your total cost or as much as $52,500, whichever is lower.
These rates have been changing around the country, so its best to contact us right away for an updated estimate to this and other programs.
How Much Sun Does Your Roof Receive
Solar panels absorb sunlight, which is what they use to produce electricity. The more sun your panels and roof receive, the more energy your solar system will produce and the more youll save on your power bills. Pennsylvania experiences around 179 sunny days annually, which is well below the national average of 205. The below-average sunlight availability does make solar panels a bit less efficient and valuable, but most homeowners will find that the sunlight is sufficient to save money over time. There are some factors specific to your home that you need to check as well. First, you should determine what direction your roof faces. South-facing roofs are the best option in the US for sun exposure, and west-facing roofs can also work in many cases. You will also need to check your roof for shading from trees and buildings, particularly during the peak production hours. Any shading will reduce efficiency and your panels overall value.
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Are You Planning On Selling Your Property In The Next Ten Years
If you plan to move in the near future, purchasing a solar system may not be worth the investment. Instead, consider options like community solar that dont lock you in to panels on your roof for decades. Leasing your panels may be an option, but keep in mind that leases are typically long-term and can be difficult to cancel.
Estimating Your Solar Payback Period
The initial costs of solar panels are often the biggest consideration when going solar, leading many homeowners to question whether solar power is worth it. While most homeowners can expect their investment to pay off in under ten years, you can get a more specific estimate with a few calculations. If you want to calculate a rough estimate for how long it will take for solar panels to pay for themselves, you can use this formula:
/ = estimated payoff period
Heres an example:
Your new solar system costs $15,000, and you received a tax credit of $3,900 in addition to a $1,500 rebate from your state. In this case, your gross solar system cost is $15,000, with the upfront incentives totaling $5,400. This means that your combined cost is $9,600.
Now, say that your power bill is $100 every month, and your solar system produces enough energy to cover your energy needs. Your annual savings is your monthly power bill multiplied by 12 months, meaning in the first year of having solar, youll save $1,200 on your electricity bills. Some states and utilities also provide incentives that pay you extra for the solar energy your panels generate, like SRECs or the SMART program in Massachusetts: its not uncommon for those incentives to put an additional $600 a year into your pocket beyond your electricity savings, meaning an annual benefit of $1,800.
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