There has been a lot of talk amongst homeowners in Chatham County lately about the affordability and benefits of installing Photovoltaic (“PV”) Solar Panels. The Solarize Tybee Island Program just successfully finished their first open enrollment promotion for residents to join together to take advantage of collective buying in order to purchase the solar panel materials in bulk.
The U.S. Department of Energy funds these solarize programs, and a recent article in our own Savannah Morning News reported that the discounts from buying in bulk can range from 5 to 30 percent off. It was also reported that there is a federal tax credit in place for 30 percent through 2016. The open enrollment period unfortunately just closed about a month ago, but homeowners can still take advantage of cost savings when shopping for contractors and the installation of PV panels. We would not be at all surprised to learn of ongoing collective buying opportunities in the future.
The Georgia Power Company’s website is a fantastic resource for homeowners to consult prior to shopping for solar panels. In fact, if consumers select the Georgia Power Company’s “FAQ” section, they will find that the 30% federal tax credit is reported to be in effect for all homeowners who install their equipment prior to January 1, 2017! Even more compelling, the Georgia tax credit is reported to be 35% (for a “maximum of $10,500). Of course, consult your tax professional before making any purchasing decisions based on the reported tax credits, but our research indicates that there has never been a better time to buy solar panels. Especially so, perhaps because of the data that places their expected life range at a minimum of 20 years, but up to as many as 40 years!
Maintenance on the solar panels is extremely minimal. Homeowners can expect that if they keep their panels clean from debris on their roof, the panels themselves should effectively remain in operation for the expected life range mentioned above.
Besides taking advantage of federal and state tax credits, homeowners should also consider the savings they can gain from lower long-term utility costs and the potential to increase their home values. We put Georgia Power’s online Solar Savings Potential Calculator to the test and are happy to share our estimated results with you. For a medium sized home (anywhere between 1,600 – 3,499 sq. ft.) our output savings calculated was an estimated annual savings of $464.00!* Bear in mind that this figure does not even begin to estimate the savings costs you could generate from your typical heating bills.
Did you know that it may be possible for you to generate power from your new solar panels and sell that electricity right back to Georgia Power? We would encourage our customers to educate themselves on the Solar Purchase Tarriff (SP-2, which governs how you can sell your power back at a premium price) and the Renewable/Nonrenewable Tariff (RNR-8). There are two different contracts to complete and send in to Georgia Power depending upon which program you are attempting to take advantage of.
The New York Times reported on February 20, 2015 that buyers were paying about $15,000.00 more for homes that came with solar panels installed on the roof. The growing popularity of solar panels has finally become so rampant that just six months ago (in December of 2014), Fannie Mae issued a new guideline for appraisers that effectively directs them to analyze a home’s solar systems when estimating the home’s value.
On August 1, 2011, an article by Forbes staffer Ashlea Ebeling reported that a California study by several economists demonstrated a finding that showed a whopping 97 percent of homeowners were able to recoup the installation costs of their solar paneling upon selling their home. For context and comparison sake, the economists also wrote that installing a new kitchen resulted in a 60 percent return, and a brand new front door (made of steel) could result in a 102 percent return.
Further, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory completed a study in 2013 that showed Colorado homes with solar power demonstrably sold at a rate that was 17 percent faster than their non-solar counterparts.
Using clean, renewable energy sources such as solar panels will reduce carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases. Solar energy simply doesn’t cause waste and pollution like burning fossil fuels does! Solar panels reduce the impact on the land in your community because you are helping to avoid invasive digging procedures to secure power lines that ultimately just contribute to erosion.
Besides the proven cost and environmental benefits of solar panels, some other benefits of installing solar panels in your home include reducing your dependency on the power company in the event of major storms which can notoriously cause inconvenient and uncomfortable power outages. You are also taking part in helping reduce our country’s dependence on foreign energy supplies.
We realize that the decision to choose solar panels for your home is an investment, and we are prepared to answer your questions about our experience and process.
We are always happy to hear from you and answer any questions you have about the costs and benefits of installing new solar panels for your home.
Call us today at 912-257-8525!