The sun bathes Earth with enough energy to fulfill all the world's power needs many times over. It doesn't give off carbon dioxide emissions. It won't run out. And it's free.
Solar electric systems, also called photovoltaic (PV) systems, convert this energy to electricity that can be used to power your home.
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30 percent credit for both commercial businesses and solar power for homes. The credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction on income taxes based on 30% of the cost of installing solar panels for your home.
You can find a handy fact sheet here.
Good news for people considering buying solar panels for home energy is that the ITC was extended by Congress last year for homeowners through 2021. The credit remains at 30% through 2019, then goes to 26% for 2020, and 22% for 2021.
You can use the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency© (DSIRE) to see what incentives your state may offer. Some incentives are related to financing, and others give you an exemption from paying sales tax on solar panels for homes.
The Department of Energy reviewed 4,000 homes with solar that had sold in eight states, and compared their resale value to those of 18,000 randomly selected comparable homes without solar.
The value of the homes with solar increased by an average of about $4.00 per watt of installed solar (e.g., $24,000 for a home with a typical 6,000-watt system). This is more than the net investment and is a separate value than the energy savings.
This was specifically for host-owned solar.
A similar study for solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPA) found that they added no resale value, whereas more informal studies found they decreased value.
You might be able to install a photovoltaic (PV) or solar electric system yourself. But to avoid complications or injury, you'll probably want to hire a reputable professional contractor with experience installing solar systems.
While they are sophisticated electric systems, PV systems have few moving parts, so they require little maintenance. The basic PV module (an interconnected, enclosed panel of PV cells) has no moving parts and can last more than 30 years while requiring little maintenance. The components are designed to meet strict dependability and durability standards to withstand the elements.
The best way to ensure and extend the life and effectiveness of your PV system is by having it installed and maintained properly. Most PV system problems occur because of poor or sloppy system installation. Solar systems that receive rebates through California utilities are required to have a 10-year system warranty.
A photovoltaic (PV) system needs unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most or all of the day to be effective. Shading on the system can significantly reduce energy output. Climate is not a major concern because PV systems are relatively unaffected by air temperatures, and snow cover typically melts quickly because panels are positioned directly into the sunlight. Abundant year-round sunshine makes solar energy systems useful and effective nearly everywhere in California.
The size of your solar system depends on several factors such as how much electricity or hot water or space heat you use, the size of your roof, how much you’re willing to invest, and how much energy you want to generate.
To determine what type of system fits your needs give a few details about your home and Get a Free Quote»