Solar Power for Your Homes – Is it Worth Investing?
If you can reduce your electricity bills and get returns on your investment then why not consider switching to solar power for your homes? You can start by switching to solar power for some of the equipment, say for heaters, coolers or garden lights. You will not only save money but also make a contribution to your environment by being less dependent on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels not only pollute, they are also gradually dwindling in supply.
Solar energy is an example of renewable energy source, and as long as there is sunlight, there is unlimited supply of solar energy. The initial capital investment may seem high while installing a solar system. So governments of different countries are coming up with incentive programs to lure people to install solar system at home and switch to solar power.
In the US, each state offers different types of solar incentive schemes and rebates to attract people to install and use solar energy. The pre-requisites for incentives vary between states. You can check on energy.gov/savings what is relevant to your state. Some solar incentive programs pay you back over time, based on the energy you generate. Other solar incentives are one-time payments in the form of rebates or credits. Certain solar incentives are mainly for grid tied systems while some are available for off-grid systems. With a combination of State and Local Solar Panel rebates and Federal Solar Tax Credit you can make a big saving.
Example of Tax Credits and Incentives
Let’s take the example of New York State. Here you can avail of a personal tax rebate of 25% for cost of equipment and installation of solar-electric (PV) and solar-thermal systems and a maximum allowable tax credit amount of $5,000 applies. The claims can be also made for systems installed under lease or power purchase agreements (PPAs) for at least 10 years in length. In general, systems must comply with the 25 kW capacity limit on residential, net-metered solar-energy systems, and 50 kW for condominiums and cooperative housing associations.
Another important incentive is Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is part of the Federal policy. It involves a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties.
To qualify for incentives, your solar system need to be installed by a licensed Photovoltaic System Installer, and perhaps need to be connected to the grid by a licensed electrician.
Energy savings achieved and return on investment depend on several factors. Some of them include equipment used, solar system size, solar panel orientation and shading, applicable utility rates and rate structure, as well as customer’s eligibility for rebates, incentives and rebates offered by the state. So each customer’s experience with home solar will vary. But overall after combining Federal tax credit with state incentives you can significantly reduce the cost of your solar PV system. Apart from saving you will also join the drive to reduce pollution and carbon emission.