It seems like everywhere I go recently, I hear about solar energy. Installing solar panels to conserve energy is becoming more and more popular, especially since there are tax credits available, and the fact that they pay for themselves within about 15 years. If you are living in your home for the long-term, consider installing solar panels and saving some serious cash.
EMU signed an agreement to build Virginia’s largest solar panel array — a photovoltaic system on the roof of their library — which will have the capacity to generate 104.3 kilowatts of electricity. They are also working to raise funding for a second array to be installed on the raised canopies above the north parking lot of EMU’s University Commons.
But to power a home, what would it take? How much would it cost? What kind of tax credits are available? Would it really be worth it?
What it takes to install solar panels
Solar panels can be installed flush against the roof, or tilted at an angle. The company that installs the panels would do a test to see which angle is the best in terms of getting the most sun exposure throughout each day. There are do-it-yourself kits available, if you are feeling ultra brave, but most folks opt for a professional who knows what they are doing, even though it costs more.
How much it costs to install solar panels
Lets face it, installing solar panels on your home would not be cheap. However, the cost to install the system would be offset by the energy savings you would gain in the long run. It can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 to install a system on a home. The bigger the home, the more expensive it would be. Here is a nifty calculator to see roughly what it would cost you, depending on your zip code, monthly power bills, and who your power company is.
Available tax credits for the installation of solar panels
Federal tax credits are available for photovoltaic systems installed on homes. (They are also available for solar water heating systems, but that is a different topic.) To apply for a 2010 system, you’ll need IRS Form 5695 to be filed with your taxes by April 15, 2011. You’ll also need to save all receipts regarding the new system, and provide the IRS with the manufacturer’s certification statement.
According to EnergyStar,
Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit, through 2016 (for existing homes & new construction – it does not have to be your “principal residence,“ vacation homes are eligible, for:
· Geothermal Heat Pumps
· Solar Panels
· Solar Water Heaters
· Small Wind Energy Systems
Would installing solar panels really be worth it?
It depends. Consider the upfront cost with the savings, add in the tax credit, and see what the final numbers are for your situation. Financial decisions are always up to you, because it is your hard-earned money.
Using the sun to power your home is smart because over time, you are saving the environment while also saving on power bills. Sometimes the power company could end up owing you money because they might tap into your unused energy from time to time. Crunch the numbers and see if it works.
For more helpful (down-to-earth, layman’s terms) information regarding solar energy systems, visit Simple Energy Works. They are based in Tennessee, but provide a wealth of great information, and have a blog, too!