Solar energy has become quite common, particularly in this great sunshine state. More and more homeowners are turning to solar looking to save on one of their costliest utilities bills... power. If you've been thinking about solar now for some time, or if you find yourself rolling your eyes at your power bill each month, it may be time to make a change. Here a four tips on going solar this year.
1. Understand local net metering laws.
Net metering laws require companies in some areas to bank extra credits of solar electricity fed to the utility grid for later use by the homeowner. This means that, if your panels generated 10 kWh of excess electricity during the day and you later consumed 10 kWh that evening, you would neither owe money nor get reimbursed for that power. Net metering does not occur in all places, so check what the laws are in your city. Some solar homeowners are not reimbursed for extra power, while others are grandfathered in under old laws.
2. Consider the warranties.
Solar equipment warranties are meant to protect you, making it a safer long-term investment. Do some research and comparative analysis on the different warranties each solar company offers. The panels themselves are the most expensive piece of equipment for your solar system. Degradation rates vary by panel and performance guarantees ensure that your panels are producing a certain percentage after a given number of years. Even the best solar panels lose their effectiveness after a number of years. Many companies will guarantee 90 percent production for the first 10 years and 80 percent for 25. Most also protect against defects with a minimum 10 year warranty on the integrity of the panels.
3. Take advantage of federal tax credits and solar incentives.
Currently, there is a federal tax credit in place that reduces the net cost of a solar system by about 30 percent! So, if you install a $10,000 solar system, the government could owe you a $3,000 tax credit. Be sure to take advantage of this credit before the government starts scaling these incentives back.
4. Consider solar loans.
There are more solar loan options today than ever. Look into which loan program may be best for you. A solar loan only makes sense if the amount you're paying on your loan is less than your current monthly power bill. Be sure to take loan fees and interest into consideration. A home equity line of credit is also an option and the interest can be tax-deductible.
If you're thinking about solar, it is a big and costly but worthwhile decision and can be a sound investment if you do the proper research and choose the best solar system for you. Whether you're motivated by your outrageous power bills and saving money or you're an avid environmentalist and want to help save our planet, solar is a great option many homeowners are turning to.
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