In the region of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, many homeowners and business owners are turning to solar power systems to both invest and to create sustainable, price-stable power. In this area, the process of purchasing a solar power system, maintaining it, and using it pays for itself within 10 to 12 years, which means that for decades after that, you’ll be putting money in your pocket each month in the form of “avoided cost of electricity”.
However, there are other ways in which adding a solar power system can replace other costs or put more money back in your pocket.
A battery back-up system instead of a noisy generator that requires fuel.
When a conventional power grid experiences an outage, most people choose one of two options: they live without electricity, which is both inconvenient and occasionally dangerous (such as in instances of extreme heat or cold), or they must purchase and power a generator. Back-up generators require installation costs, fuel costs, and cost thousands of dollars for the system itself.
By adding a battery back-up system to your solar power system, you create a stable supply of electricity in the case of an emergency, and whatever energy is depleted during the night time of a power outage can be replenished when the sun returns. In addition, the costs of fuel for generators and the inconvenience of having a noisy power supply are now things your home or office doesn’t have to deal with.
Having solar power with battery storage may seem like it buys only something abstract like “energy independence,” but just like businesses that rely on cooling systems to maintain scientific samples or other supplies, or homes that have a freezer full of food or sump pump, there are real losses during a power outage. Having a supply of reliable power during a blackout results in money back in your pocket while others will be shelling out money to replace anything ruined by lack of refrigeration or flooding.
In the case of price spikes in fossil fuels, your costs remain stable.
Because of generally stable energy prices in the United States market, many people don’t consider how their electric bills can vacillate in response to demand and supply. However, it is entirely possible that, in the next 20 years, energy surpluses and shortages in various areas can create changes in electricity rates. In addition, there have been moves to add surcharges on electricity bills that result in higher costs. The future of electricity costs from fossil fuel sources is indeed uncertain and likely to rise over time.
One of the hidden benefits of solar power is that you receive sunshine for the same rate every day: FREE! Your initial investment in the solar power system is a stable cost, not something that varies based on market pressure once you’ve purchased it, so as long as you continue to use electricity from your solar array, you are essentially getting a stable rate. If electricity rates rise, you can actually see that change as a faster ROI for you, since you’d be paying those higher rates if you weren’t on a solar power system.
For businesses, it is often worthwhile to learn more about peak load shaving, as well, a trick that involves combining solar power, battery reserves, and the grid to reduce the facility’s peak power draw and therefore lower demand charges.
Instead of paying when you’re out of town, build power bill credit.
While this is a small boon, it can be galling to know that, even when you are out of town or out of the office, the basic systems to run your building draw power from the grid and charge you money. This process is reversed when you have a solar power system: your system continues generating power while you are out of town or out of the office, and though some of that energy goes to power your basic systems at work or home, a larger percentage of it builds a power bill credit via net metering.
This same thought can be applied to the installation of energy-efficient lighting, smart thermostats, and multi-pane windows: rather than just lowering your energy bill, they actually add to the energy cost generation that you receive from your solar panels. Energy efficiency saves money over time, and with solar on top of that, your overall utility bill is lower still.
Lower or get rid of your gasoline costs.
With a solar system on your home or business, you now have a way to commute without gas – electric cars have come a long way and some models have hundreds of miles of range, eliminating range anxiety. If your own home and the company you work for both have solar and EV charging stations, you’ll really come out ahead. Our article “5 Great Electric Cars and How to Charge Them With Solar Power” details some great electric car options and its sister article details how charging them with the sun is money in your pocket.
Local and National Incentives reduce initial cost, giving you money back
Much has been written about the Federal Investment Tax Credit, which gives 30% tax credits on solar investments before tapering off after 2019. This means that 30% of the cost of your solar panels comes right out of your tax bill, amounting to a huge discount that takes years off the payback period for attaining ROI from your panels.
Since tax credits are set to be reduced in upcoming years, it is an unusually good time to choose solar and invest. There are even ways to spread out the system’s installation or roll-over one’s tax credits to multiple years so that you receive the full 30% benefit even if you have a very low tax liability at the Federal level.
There are additional business incentives in each nearby state, which are tailored to the local communities. Knowing these programs before you choose a solar power system can greatly increase your ROI: for instance, if you are in an area with steep property taxes in Maryland, the Property Tax Exemption for Solar and Wind Energy Systems may reduce your property tax bill even if the value of your home or office has gone up, which will over time create a substantial savings while increasing your property’s value when it eventually goes on the market.
These reasons create a variety of sources of long-term savings or actual money in your pocket as a result of the capital improvement to your building or home. With a quality solar system installed by a qualified contractor, owners should expect to see monthly energy savings, raised property values, and confidence that their solar panels will be an advantage if it’s ever time to sell. Are you ready to learn how to put money into your pocket with solar? Contact us for a free consultation and to discover the best solar solution for your investment needs.