Is Solar Energy a Good Long-Term Investment?

Solar Energy InvestmentIf you are one of those homeowners who have been on the fence about whether or not solar is worth the investment, it’s time to see the light. The sunlight, that is. Harnessing the power of the sun comes with a number of great benefits, and when it comes to dollars and cents, solar is a great long term investment. Although there are a number of factors that can determine how quickly you’ll see a return, the number of immediate benefits a solar energy system provides will quickly show you just how valuable it is.

Here is a look at why solar energy is considered a great long term investment:

1) Incentives Put Solar in Reach for Many Homeowners

Some homeowners may disregard solar as an option without a second thought because they believe a solar energy system will cost more than they can afford. In reality, you may be pleasantly surprised at the final cost once incentives are taken into consideration. In many parts of the US, there are excellent tax breaks, credits, rebates, and other incentives to accommodate homeowners & business owners who are interested in investing in solar energy. Speak with a solar expert near you to find out what your state & federal incentives are that will help reduce the final cost of installing a solar energy system.

2) Escape the Rising Costs of Utilities

The cost of electricity has steadily risen year over year which can put a strain on any homeowner’s budget. By the end of this year, the average increase for electricity in the residential sector is projected to be 2.3% higher than in 2014. With oil prices once again on the rise and the supply of fossil fuels dwindling, energy costs will continue to increase. Energy from the sun, however, will not increase. The sun is abundant & free to harvest, and your solar energy system will consistently collect energy from the sun, even the cloudiest days.

3) Become more Energy Independent

The more sunlight that your system harnesses, the less electricity you will need from your utility supplier. This can significantly reduce your heating & cooling costs. Your total savings will be determined by the size of your solar system, how much power you use, and the current price of energy, but on average, homeowners save about $84 per month.

4) Increase Your Home’s Value

Did you know that the value of your home can increase by 20 times the annual electricity savings when your home includes a solar energy system? That means that a home’s value will raise an average of $20 for every $1 that is saved annually while the system is in use. According to a recent study, a solar PV energy system will add an average of $24,705 to a home’s sale price.

5) Solar Panels Require Very Little Maintenance & Upkeep

Because solar panels have no moving parts, they rarely malfunction. Most homeowners can keep their panels clean by spraying them with their garden hose to remove debris or dust. If you live in an area with heavy snow or brutal freeze/thaw cycles, it’s a good idea to have regular inspections, but overall maintenance is minimal and well worth the effort to keep the effectiveness of your unit intact.

6) Solar Energy is Extremely Reliable

tesla new home batteryThe sun has been burning for billions of years and will continue burning for potentially billions more. As other fossil fuels continue to dwindle in supply, solar energy will remain steady and powerful. If combined with a battery backup/storage system, such as the brand new Tesla Powerwall home battery system, your stored solar energy can be used during a blackout. Whether the blackout is caused by a severe storm or grid overload, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to continue life as normal, even when you are not receiving backup electricity from your energy supplier.

There are plenty of reasons why solar is considered to be an excellent long term investment, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you have questions regarding solar energy or you would like to learn how you can take advantage of harvesting the sun’s power, speak with one of our local member stores. We can help set you up with a system that will perfectly suit your needs & usage requirements and will offer great returns in the years to come.

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America’s Real Problem With Solar Energy

NASS enjoyed this recent article by Terrill Dines that we wanted to share it with everyone.

America’s Real Problem With Solar Energy

Solar EnergyEach day, our industry sits down and whittles the unsightly knots off the tree we call solar energy. We, as a group, spend more time than we should pointing to one of a growing number of reasons why solar energy isn’t taking hold in America: that perhaps our government’s solar incentives were cut to quickly, that our state’s SREC program is broken, that the net metering requirements aren’t strong enough. Not that those things wouldn’t further bolster our industry, but go out and ask your friends and family about solar energy. The problem with solar in America isn’t a result of the incentives, it’s with the astounding lack of knowledge about a technology that can transform the lives of everyone in our nation and around the world.

Let me be provocative for a moment. Do you know how much of a return on your investment you would receive if you installed solar on your home or business right now? Do you know enough to even estimate the amount of money you’d save over 25-30 years? Would you guess that solar energy is actually a financial investment with returns more solid than stocks and bonds? Do you know that solar energy works in colder climates and on cloudy days? Did you know that nearly any solar installation company will gladly provide you these numbers for free? Probably not. Not many Americans can begin to answer these questions. And who can blame them?

We, as an industry, are still young. We’re not the Voltron of major corporations with seemingly unlimited budgets to pay for lobbying and well-placed television commercials. We reach out to a media who has no idea what solar energy really is. We burn with such passion to help our country and yet many nights feel like we are a stranger in our own home. You can’t explain the entirety of the benefits of solar energy in 140 characters. It’s both a great and terrible feeling to know what you can give people if only they knew what you could give. It’s unrequited love in the form of a solar panel and we have thousands upon thousands of them waiting to find a good home.

solar incentives

Solar PV systems are more affordable and can come with a number of federal and state incentives giving them a great ROI.

I know what you’re thinking, but we’re not at war with the other energy companies, either. People will still need oil for a very long   time (probably longer than our actual supply will last). No energy employee from fossil fuel plants will end up on Skid Row because of solar any time soon. What about utility companies? Utilities are actually required by the state governments to purchase renewable energy and most of them have employees that are themselves dedicated to the renewable energy sector. They are not our enemies, either. Banks? Banks are in the business of lending–they would love for solar modules to be included in home appraisals. The real estate market? Solar panels on a home sells that home much easier and (you know where this is going . . . ) “not our enemy.” We simply have no natural predators, and for that, we’re thankful.

What we do face is a nation who just doesn’t understand us. We’re right here and there’s not been a better time to go solar thantoday. The panels pay for themselves typically about halfway through their lifecycle, and the rest is yours to keep. There is a 30% federal  tax credit for anyone who installs solar on their home or business. Many states have similar state incentives to add to that. You can get paid to send your excess energy back to the grid. You can also sell solar credits to utility companies. And if you own a business? There’s a good chance you can depreciate the entire installation in one year. Again, I ask, did you know that? Did you know you’ll see, on average, a more steady return from “going solar” than you would on stocks and bonds (at least historically speaking)? It’s okay, most people don’t know that.

So here we sit as an industry with such a powerful solution for our country–both as a whole and to the people individually. We are, as a nation, being quickly passed up by other countries. Just like LeVar Burton said, “you don’t have to take my word for it.” Research countries like Germany and what they are doing with solar energy–it’s amazing. But we here in the US can’t afford to tell everyone what they need to know. We, instead, have to rely on people finding us. We try, don’t get me wrong, but we just don’t have the financial size and subsequent influence to achieve the success solar energy deserves.

solar panels , solar energy

America needs to fully understand the value and benefits that solar energy can provide for residents and businesses across the country.

Yet each installation site still drips with the exhilaration and sweat of The Cavern Club in 1961, right after a little-known band named The Beatles just finished playing to a room of about 100 people. Solar energy is the early rock and roll of our generation. As a trade, are continually written off by politicians who have no interest in seeing solar take its due place, by dinosaurs of our culture who simply don’t relate to the “vibe we’re putting down,” and by die-hard “red-white-and-blue-blooded Americans” who swear we’re rebel-rousers looking to sell a technology that is a by-product of the great lie called global warming . . . that we’re yet another resurgence of the great hippie counter-culture.

To us, we’re none of that. We’re the rock and roll stars of our time, hell-bent on changing the World. This time, though, it really works. Solar energy may just be too much fun for the older generations to handle. That’s okay–we, as an industry, can see what is ahead. We’ll be here waiting. And when you say “oh man, I wish I knew about this sooner,” we won’t judge. We’ll love and support you just the same. I believe it was Marty McFly in Back to the Future who said: “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.” See you soon, America.

Original by Terrill Dines

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Rebates & Tax Credits Make “Going Solar” a Viable Option in Massachusetts


Massachusetts Solar Power

There are great incentives for installing a solar power system in the state of MA, but residential solar power systems can also save a lot of money on home energy bills for years and years to come.

Many states across the country are taking initiatives to “go green” in order to combat environmental changes and the ensuing macroeconomic consequences; and Massachusetts is leading the way. Residents and businesses are beginning to take advantage of the tax credits, rebates, and other incentives that MA offers for switching to clean energy like solar power, and in turn are saving a little green in the process.

In 2008, Massachusetts officials rolled out the Green Communities Act which established an initiative to produce one of the nation’s first renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS), requiring that 15 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2020. In order to entice homeowners, business, and municipalities to move to greener energy sources, the state created the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to give out rebates and incentives for installing solar power systems with the capacity to generate up to 15 kilowatts.

Not only can residents enjoy state personal income tax credits of up to $1000, state sales tax exemption on the purchase of any solar equipment, and a local property tax exemption, they can also make money on their solar energy system. The Division of Renewable Energy at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) implemented a solar carve-out program. This program will issue a solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) to solar system owners for each megawatt-hour of electricity they generate, which they then sell to retail electric suppliers.

SRECs are traded at current market value which floats between $200 and $250 a piece in Massachusetts. Since retail electric suppliers are required by state law to buy a certain number of SRECs annually in support of renewable energy production, homeowners who have installed solar energy systems can offset their costs and energy bills by selling their SRECs. Talk about a system that pays for itself!

Since the cost of equipment and installation has begun to drop over the past few years and financing programs have become available, more and more residents and small business owners are finding that going solar is a completely viable option. Combining state incentives with rebates from federal programs, the initial outlay of capital can be greatly reduced allowing the initial investment to be recouped in as little as 3 to 5 years. Many residents are appreciating the ability to go green without needing to consider how it will negatively impact their wallets.

Because Massachusetts has started to offer green initiatives, nearly 4,000 residential solar projects have been installed and only 10 of the state’s 351 cities and towns remain without some form of solar activity. According to MassCEC, 220 megawatts of solar power have been installed already in MA and the state sees an annual growth rate of 1% for solar energy due to the success of the carve-out program.

In an effort to address climate commitments, renewable energy sources, and new industry jobs and economSolar Energy MAy, Massachusetts officials have found that to be green, it pays to spend a little green. These enticing rebates and credits make it a great time for MA residents to harvest this wonderful, renewable resource in order to make their world a better place to live.

Contact Higgins Solar Store in Massachusetts to find out more information on designing and installing a solar system in your residence or small business.

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Solar’s Value Found to be Well Above Cost in PA and NJ

solar energy investment

Studies have found that solar greatly adds value to homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

A study conducted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey found that the value of solar power to the electric grid is significantly above its cost.   The study recently released by the Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association (PASEIA) and the Mid‐Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA) analyzed data related to utility cost, particularly costs associated with solar generation during peak hours of demand.  The results should serve to boost the confidence of anyone interested in investing in solar energy, since total installation cost is expected to continually decline. The study found that these solar installations add value for homeowners in these states.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, energy providers are required by law to purchase a certain amount of solar power annually.  The energy companies pay a premium for the sun’s energy in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), and the cost is passed on to ratepayers.

value of solar

You may be eligible for a 2:1 return on your solar investment in New Jersey and Pennsylvania according to a recent study.

According to the study, the total levelized value of solar power ranges from  $256 to $318 per megawatt hour (MWh), which comes to 25.6 cents to 31.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).  These figures are inclusive of a premium value ranging somewhere between $150 to $200 per MWh or 15 cents to 20 cents per kWh above the value of the solar energy that is generated.  In New Jersey, SRECs currently cost approximately $60 per MWh, which comes to about 6 cents per kWh.  In Pennsylvania, SRECs cost only about $20 per MWh or 2 cents per kWh.

President of MSEIA Dennis Wilson explained that electric ratepayers who have invested in solar energy in the areas in which the study was conducted are receiving a better than two-to-one investment return.  He said that, while currently unsustainably low, SRECS can deliver net benefits, support strong solar energy growth, and increase in price.  With this study, it has been proven that solar power can deliver value which significantly exceeds its cost.  In fact, the value of solar power can exceed its cost by 50% to 200% or more using the rate of return calculated over the life of the system.  As the cost of investing in solar technology continues to drop, the net positive benefit will only rise.

New Jersey, the USA’s second largest solar market with a solar capacity of 900 MW is the first state in the nation in which 1% of its annual electricity is solar energy.  The renewable portfolio standard for New Jersey has significantly increased its solar carve-out to 4.1% by the year 2028.

Pennsylvania’s solar carve-out is currently at about .05% and is set to reach .5% in 2021.  Pennsylvania is now eighth in the nation for installed solar capacity.

The study concluded that distributed solar power offsets the demand for conventional power sources and delivers measurable benefits, which include:

•    Reduced outages because the electric power system is more reliable;
•    Reduced need to build generating plants that utilize coal or natural gas, which also reduces the cost to operate and maintain plants;
•    Lower conventional electricity market prices because there is a reduction in peak demand;
•    A valuable price hedge is in place as a result of using a free renewable fuel as opposed to fossil fuels, which are variably priced;
•    Enhanced tax revenues that are generated by local job creation for solar installers as compared to those jobs associated with conventional forms of power generation.

It’s possible that the conclusions of this study supply valuable data which any state may want to use as a stepping stone to an increase in required solar capacity.

If you would like to take advantage of this solid solar investment, install solar panels on your home from our solar store locations in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Our New Jersey member location, Bowden’s Solar Store, is located in Hamilton, NJ and our Pennsylvania member location is at Tall Pines Farm Solar Store located in Kingsley, PA. Each of our locations are trained by the NASS Solar Training Institute and are prepared to design and install a quality solar system on your home.

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