Not long ago, solar-powered homes mainly existed in the conservationist community. Today, many homeowners have added solar panels to their roofs. The U.S. industry has installed enough solar panels to power approximately 18.6 million homes. Conservation is no longer the primary cause for this rise in demand for solar power; primarily, homeowners are taking advantage of the financial benefits. If you are considering the prospect of installing solar panels on your roof, there are some key benefits that you should be aware of.
Benefits from Tax Breaks, Incentives, Rebates and Programs
The first major benefit comes with the purchase of the system. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) gives you a 26 percent tax break for switching to solar power. Also, many states offer incentives and rebates. After all the tax breaks and incentives, the average cost of installing solar panels in the US is $12,810.
Some states offer net metering and solar renewal metering certificates (SREC). Net metering means the power company will buy back the energy that you don’t use. See whether your state has this incentive. With the SREC plan, power companies will give you a redeemable certificate for every 1,000-kilowatt hours of solar power your system produces. In some states, an SREC can have a face value over $300.
Not to be overlooked is the FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program. If you get an FHA loan, you may qualify for financing on all types of eco-friendly home improvements. This is done by adding the cost of these modifications into your mortgage.
The Intrinsic Benefits
Along with the tax breaks and other incentives, solar panels greatly reduce or eliminate your energy bills. It is free to capture energy from the sun. So, the solar panel system usually pays for itself in 7 to 20 years. This can result in $20,000 of savings after 20 years.
Installing solar panels on your roof increases the value of your home. According to Wholesale Solar, home sale prices increase by an average of $14,329 after the installation of solar panels—or 3.74 percent when compared to homes without solar panels. Solar panels contribute even more to your net return by prolonging the life of your roof.
At this point, you may be wondering whether your present roof is suitable for solar paneling. Obviously, your roof should be mostly free of shade from trees or buildings. South-facing roofs are the most absorbent, but west-facing and east-facing roofs will do. Although any angle is good, you’ll want to tilt the panels based on the time of year—around 30 degrees for the summer and 53 degrees for the winter. Standing seams, metal roofing and asphalt shingled roofing provide ideal surfaces for the panels. Because of the difficulty factor, installation on tile roofs can be more expensive. Wooden slate roofs are not as ideal because they are considered a fire risk.
Installation requires expert knowledge of the electrical grid system. The installer must know all the SREC/ITC requirements. For this reason, it is best to hire an accredited electrical contractor. This contractor will take care of the net metering and all the other procedures.
One important thing to remember is the waste that’s left behind when you remove those solar panels, such as when they no longer work. Sadly, simply throwing away the panels will only add to the megatons of toxic waste they create. Fortunately, most solar panels are made from recyclable materials, which means you can safely dispose of these items when they no longer work.
Helping to reduce greenhouse gases has its appeal. However, the short-term and long-term financial benefits of installing solar panels are compelling reasons for making the conversion to solar power. By checking with your local authorities, you can maximize your energy savings. The return on investment may be worth your time.
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