Published on January 11th, 2019 | by Sponsored Content
5 Suggestions for Going Solar in 2019
Is 2019 the Year You Transition to Solar Power?
For years, homeowners have slowly been transitioning away from traditional power sources and towards solar. But even in 2019, adoption rates are still relatively minuscule in most parts of the country. As you think about making your own transition, there are some important issues you’ll have to think about and work through. Are you ready?
What to Consider When Going Solar
Consumer solar technology has been around for years, but adoption rates have only just begun to tick up in a positive direction. For years, the upfront cost outweighed the short-term benefits (which kept the average homeowner at bay). More recently, costs have gone down and perceptions regarding the viability of solar technology have gone up.
While location is a huge determining factor, the average homeowner can enjoy savings of $100 or more per month with solar panels. When financed, the typical payback period is somewhere around 10 years. When paid for in cash, it’s more like 5 years.
In terms of making an investment in your house, solar panels make a home more attractive on the market (at least in most markets) and can fetch a premium at the closing table.
But going solar isn’t as easy as nailing some panels up onto your roof and calling it a day. If you’re considering a transition, there are some things you’ll need to think about – such as:
In all honesty, location is the biggest factor at this point in time. Just check out the 2019 State Solar Power Rankings Report and you’ll see that some states possess an average payback period of just five years (New Jersey), while others can take as long as 18 years (Washington) or even 19 years (Alaska).
Factors like the price of electricity, interconnection, and weather patterns all determine the viability of solar in different regions of the country. Where you’re located could, for all intents and purposes, determine your choice for you.
Rebates and Incentives
In order to get homeowners to install solar panels, state and federal governments are offering rebates and incentives. Again, location will be a significant determining factor here. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get some lucrative kickbacks.
From a very practical perspective, you need to account for the orientation of your house and lot. For solar panels to work, they need extended exposure to sunlight. If you don’t have significant east-west facing roof space – or are located in a lot that’s shaded by lots of trees – your house may not be a good candidate for solar.
If you live in a neighborhood or community with a homeowners association (HOA), you could run into some pushback (though this is becoming less problematic as time passes). But because so many HOAs have tried to limit the installation of solar panels in recent years, states have begun enacting “Solar Access Rights” laws.
As Homeowners Protection Bureau explains, “The purpose of these laws is to prevent homeowner’s associations from banning solar panels and often also prevents them from having contracts that restrict homeowners from installing solar panels on their homes. The laws vary on a state by state basis and for this reason, homeowners should check applicable state laws before installing solar panels.”
Net Metering Laws
It’s important to become familiar with terms like “net metering.” Net metering laws require power companies to save excess credits for solar electricity that are fed to the utility grid for later usage by the homeowner.
“For example, let’s say your solar panels generated 10 kWh of excess electricity for the grid during a sunny day and then you consumed 10 kWh of electricity at night. Under net metering laws, you would neither owe money nor be reimbursed for this power, given that you provided as much power as you later consumed,” Sarah Lozanova writes for Earth911.
The net metering laws in your area could dictate the financial feasibility of an investment in solar. Don’t install solar panels without first researching the applicable laws.
Start the Transition to Solar
When it comes to solar, you don’t want to rush into a decision. There are a multitude of factors to consider, and you’ll need to think about the choice as it pertains to your situation. Every property, house, family, and budget is different. What works for someone else may not work for you, and vice versa. Take your time and consider whether or not a transition to solar makes sense.
This article was supported by Solar Power Rocks; photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash