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The Case for Going Solar

Friday, August 30, 2019   /   by Harvey Rosenberg

The Case for Going Solar

We live in the Sunshine State, should we take advantage of the "free" energy it provides? 


Overall Cost

Of course, having solar panels installed, and enough of them to provide sufficient electricity to your home has a large upfront cost. Granted, some of those costs could be deferred with a home improvement loan. 

From Yahoo Finance, estimates from EnergySage in 2019, "the price per watt ranges from $2.67 to $3.43, and the cost of solar panels in a 6-kilowatt system (the average size nationally) runs from $11,214 to $14,406 after the solar tax credit. The average household will recoup the cost of their system in just over seven years." Tax Credits are slated to be phased out by 2022, so now might be the time to start gathering quotes. As with any tax incentive, these could change.

Additionally, go with domestic made solar panels to avoid any imposed tariffs on imports. 

As a starting point, use the EnergySage Solar Calculator. It uses satellite imagery to view the sun "footprint" on your roof, as well as your average electric bill to calculate your cost and savings as well as how long it would be to see those savings (7-9 years on average.)

Key Items to Consider

How long will you be in the home? Will you be there long enough to recoup the initial cost? Alternatively, will it add enough value to the selling price if you sell before that initial investment price kicks in? 

Solar panels, just like your roof, can be damaged. Make sure your homeowners' insurance is updated to cover any damage done during storms and hurricanes. While we live in the Sunshine State, we also receive our fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes.

And while tax credits are in effect until 2022, the full 30% tax credit ends in 2019. "If you want to capture the full 30% tax credit, don't delay. Your system must be "placed in service" by December 31, 2019, according to the tax code. At a minimum, that means your system should be installed and ready for inspection, says Randy M. Lucas, a CPA, and renewable-energy tax consultant. In 2020, the credit steps down to 26%; in 2021, it falls to 22%. After that, it disappears." (source: Yahoo Finance)

Need help navigating the solar panel landscape? We can recommend qualified lenders and estimates that help determines if it's worth your cost before you sell your home.