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December 22, 2016 RBI Solar Inc

Solar FAQ: Going Solar for Homeowners

  • August 1st, 2016
  • Alicia Auhagen

getting rooftop solar for homeowners

Question: How much can I really expect to save with solar?

There are many different factors that go into estimating your solar savings. A few important ones include the following:

  • Your state’s policies: Some states offer significant tax credits, incentives, and rebates to homeowners who install solar. These offerings change frequently, so make sure you check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) for your state.
  • Federal Investment Tax Credit (FITC): This tax credit applies to all 50 states and affects each equally. With this credit, you can use 30% of the cost of your solar PV system to reduce your federal income tax.
  • Your energy usage: Before installing a solar system, you’ll need to assess your energy usage. Getting a PV system that meets all of your energy needs can bring you significant savings over time. But even if your system does not meet 100% of your energy needs, you can still utilize electricity from the grid in many states. Check your state’s utility rates first—some utilities charge homeowners who use less energy a higher rate. Other states offer a lower rate to those who use less energy.
  • How you pay for your PV system: Buying your solar system outright typically offers the best long-term savings, but for many homeowners, this is not an option. Purchasing a solar system does require a decent amount of capital, but you are not paying any interest through a loan or lease and you have access to nearly all available tax incentives.

So how much can you really save? According to Understand Solar, your savings could be between $10,000 and $70,000 over the life of your PV system depending on where you live. Solar calculators are a good way to get an initial estimate, but remember that these calculators are not an absolute indication of your savings. A few good places to find estimates are Google’s Project Sunroof and Energy Sage’s Solar Calculator.

Question: Is it going to be harder to sell my house if I install solar on my roof?

Having a solar energy system for your home actually has the potential to increase your property value. According to a study sponsored by the Department of Energy, researchers found that homebuyers were willing to pay more for a home with an average-sized solar installation than a home of a similar size without one.

Things can get a bit trickier if you lease your solar panels and intend to sell your house. The solar lease can be transferred to the new homebuyers, should they want to keep the solar installation, but they’ll need to qualify for the lease based on credit score. Before purchasing a photovoltaic system, it’s important to consider your payment options and the implications of each.

Question: What if I don’t live in a house but want solar?

Many people live in a home that is not suitable for rooftop solar, whether it’s a condo, apartment, or home that is not a candidate for solar. Community solar is one way to reap the benefits of solar energy without having a PV installation on your own roof. Instead, community solar installations could be large systems on the roof of a big building, on top of a garage, or ground mount installations in an unused area. You can then purchase or lease solar modules that are part of the community solar installation to power your home. For more information on community solar, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s FAQs on community renewable energy.

Have questions about going solar that we haven’t answered? Send them our way! Email your questions to info@rbisolar.com or tweet @rbisolarinc.

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