Solar Electricity in Pennsylvania
Solar electric systems have emerged as one of the strongest household investments due to rising electricity rates and the introduction of federal tax credits, alternative energy credits, and state rebates. Solar is the most reliable, scalable, and unobtrusive option for localized alternative energy generation.
A 5kw solar installation will have the equivalent environmental effect of taking 1.1 cars off the road every year.
Over 30 years a 5kw solar installation will generate about $40,000 worth of electricity if prices remained at today’s levels.
Increased Home Value
Home value increases by $11-$21 for every dollar reduction in annual fuel expenditures.
Federal and State incentives will offset more than 50% of the cost of residential solar installations.
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Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Rebate Program
For Residential Solar systems in PA, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will provide:
- $.75 per watt installed up to 35% of the installed cost
- or $17,500 (whichever is the lesser).
Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission – Solar Alternative Energy Credits (SAECs)
Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard requires regulated electricity suppliers and distributors serving retail customers to include 18% qualifying renewables in the electricity they sell by 2021. The solar set-aside program requires that a portion of this renewable energy comes from qualified, in-state, interconnected solar facilities. The transfer of qualified solar energy from generating facilities (houses, businesses, schools, etc) to the electricity suppliers is achieved through the trading of SAECs (also known as SRECs). There is also a voluntary purchase market for these credits which will expand if any carbon legislation is passed.
- SAEC trades are administered through trading companies.
- According to current PA legislation, qualifying systems will generate tradable SAECs for 10 years
- 1 SAEC represents one megawatt hour (1,000 kwh) of generation
- SAECs are currently trading between $200 and $300 each.
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
The Federal Government offers a Federal Tax Credit which is currently available as a grant.
- 30% of System Installation Cost.
How much does solar cost?
The cost of a system depends on the size of the system, the financing method, and the current level of incentives. Residential systems (1-10kw) installed in the last year had an average installation cost of $7,000/kw before federal and state incentives. Deducting the $.75/watt state incentive and the 30% federal tax credit a customer would actually end up paying about $4,500/kw.
Visit http://openpv.nrel.gov/ to find out what other people in your area paid for solar.
How does solar make me money?
Pennsylvania’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires regulated electricity suppliers serving retail customers to include 18% qualifying renewables in the electricity they sell by 202o. The Solar Carve-Out program requires that a portion of this renewable energy comes from qualified, in-state, interconnected solar facilities. The transfer of qualified solar energy from generating facilities (houses, businesses, schools, etc) to the electricity suppliers is achieved through the trading of Solar Alternative Energy Credits (SAECs also called Solar Renewable Energy Credits or SRECs in other states). As soon as your solar array starts producing electricity for your home you also start accumulating SAECs which you can later sell.
How good is solar for the environment?
Check out this EPA calculator to better understand just how much a home solar system will help the environment.
Will solar increase my home value?
Yep – According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory solar homes sell 20% faster and for 17% more than equivelent non-solar homes. The Appraisal Institute has found that home value increases by $11–$21 for every dollar reduction in annual fuel expenditures.
How long will my solar array last?
Home solar installations typically last between 30 and 40 years. Most manufacturers guarantee that their panels will last 25 years and generate at least 80% of the electricity they made the first year.
What size solar array do I need for my house?
Solar systems are sized depending on your electricity consumption, the size/orientation of your roof or open space, and your budget. In many cases a solar installation offsets a portion of your electricity demand while your original utility will supply the rest.
How much space is required for a home solar system?
A kilowatt of solar will typically require 100 square feet, so an average system will take up 300 to 600 square feet.
How much does a solar system weigh?
A home solar system will typically weigh less than 5 pounds per square foot.
Is Pennsylvania sunny enough for solar?
Pennsylvania is 50% sunnier than Germany, the global leader in solar.
So how sunny is Pennsylvania?
On average Pennsylvania receives between 4 and 4.5 full hours of sunlight.
What happens when it is cloudy?
Even during cloudy whether some UV light will reach your home solar system. On cloudy days your system will generate about 25% as much electricity as it will on sunny days.
Will hail damage my home solar system?
Most solar panels are guaranteed to withstand 3/4 inch hail balls at 120 miles per hour.
By analyzing utility bills, electricity usage, and your home’s physical characteristics, your Qualified Solar Expert will evaluate whether solar is a viable option for your home. Determining factors include: roof; type, age, shading and orientation. If the assessment reveals solar as a good fit for you, your Qualified Solar Expert will prepare a detailed proposal for you at no cost.
Your Qualified Solar Expert designs your system based on specifications to meet your precise needs. Using building plans, detailed measurements, and a thorough site visit, your Qualified Solar Expert will determine: pv module, mount, wire and inverter placement, and details to maximize the efficiency and aesthetics of your solar installation.
Your Qualified Solar Expert will ensure that your purchase is easy and affordable by: managing all rebates and incentives, and providing you with available financing options. Your Qualified Solar Expert will outline the financial model of your investment so that you can understand your expenses, the timeline for your return (generally 5-7 years) and the profit that you should expect to generate over the life of your system.
Your solar expert will work with an experienced crew to ensure that your system is installed in a timely manner, to the highest standards, and in accordance with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s rules and regulations governing grid interconnection.
With no moving parts solar technology has proven to be a very reliable source of energy with little required maintenance. Most contractors will offer a maintenance plan or instructions, which includes replacing the inverter after about ten years. Solar equipment manufacturers provide warranties for 10 to 25 years and whole system warranties are also available.