Month: June 2021

Why You Should Not Install Solar Yourself: It’s Very Dangerous – Part 4

Solar power is helping more homeowners than ever save money on their electric bills. So, it’s understandable that you’ve started to look into having a solar system installed at your home, too.

The best way to begin the process is to simply call or contact LGCY Power, the nation’s leader in residential solar. However, a very small percentage of homeowners inevitably start poking around YouTube or Googling “Can you install solar panels yourself?” as they consider a DIY solar install. 

There are many reasons why you should abandon your DIY aspirations and leave your solar install to the pros, including the overwhelming paperwork, potential damage to your roof, and the fact that you probably won’t save any money at all.

But the most important reason not to attempt a DIY solar panel installation is the danger involved. We can’t stress enough how potentially dangerous it is to install solar panels yourself. Keep in mind that it could be dangerous not only for you, but for others.

There are four main reasons why it’s inherently dangerous to install solar yourself:

  1. The height and installation process
  2. Risk of electrocution
  3. Damage to your home or electrical system
  4. Potential fire or burns

The height and installation process

The vast majority of solar panels are installed on the rooftop of a home, which means working and navigating around a hazardous slope and surface at elevation. Whether your roof is one story high, two stories up, or more, the danger of being injured in a slip-and-fall is extremely high for homeowners who aren’t professional contractors. 

Remember that each solar panel can weigh 30 to 50 pounds, and you’ll likely need to carry at least several panels, as well as racking for installation, wiring and fittings, and tools.

Roof work like this is so precarious that solar installers have specialty training and certifications to work on rooftops, handle this type of equipment, and adhere to safety protocols. 

However, homeowners are taking a huge risk to their health and safety if they attempt DIY solar panel installation.

Risk of electrocution

If climbing onto your roof with heavy, unwieldy materials and working on a slope isn’t dangerous enough, the risk of electrocution is always a reality with DIY solar panel installations

Solar panels can generate up to 600 volts of electricity when exposed to the sun, and several solar modules connected in a series can potentially deliver even more of a charge to DIYers who aren’t professional electricians.

Not only will you need to affix racking and panels to the roof, but you’ll need to correctly install fittings and connections to your photovoltaic solar system.

It’s such precise, technical, and hazardous work that in many states, regular electrical contractors are not even allowed to work with solar systems, as the panel installation is far different from conventional wiring.

Electricity is not to be taken lightly – and working with electricity on a rooftop with a complex solar system magnifies that danger exponentially! 

Damage to your home or electrical system

Not only does a DIY solar panel installation present a hazard to you, but it can seriously damage the structure of your home, too. We’ve talked before about the potential for harming your roof and causing leaks and water damage when installing panels yourself, but there’s a more pressing danger. 

With such a complex and intricate electrical system, any incorrect installation of the wiring or even fittings can mean the solar system can damage itself once turned on, even starting an electrical fire. The wrong size wiring, substandard wiring or materials, or other connection issues could lead to the solar panel’s inverter overheating and exploding. 

As a DIY solar installer, you may even be instructed to solder parts together or build wood brackets to support the panels, which creates a highly combustible fire hazard.

Potential fire or burns

The greatest risk of your solar system catching on fire or even exploding on your roof doesn’t come from overheating or combustion, but faulty wiring and incorrect installation in the vicinity of flammable gases or vapors. Therefore, you should always contact the city and local utility providers to check if there are any hazardous gases or vapors in the vicinity of your home. Or, even safer, trust the installation to licensed and certified professionals!

You’re far too likely to end up with a serious burn when installing solar panels yourself, as any liquid that comes in contact with the panels can also steam and cause almost instant burns. Certain parts of the solar system, such as the collector manifold, will also become extremely hot, which can severely burn an unwitting homeowner who is trying to do the install work themselves.

As you can see, installing solar panels yourself is nothing to take lightly, Doing it yourself is not recommended as there is a serious inherent risk involved.

If you’re serious about saving with solar at home and want to make sure you do it the right way, contact LGCY Power today!

Do Solar Panels Increase Home Value?

Installing a solar energy system for your home allows you to save money on electricity while also doing your part to protect our environment. The financial benefits of residential solar systems are significant — in the long run, a one-time purchase of solar panels is much cheaper than buying electricity from your utility company. But do solar panels increase home value?

There is plenty of information out there about the cost of solar energy compared to paying your monthly utility bill, but not nearly as much about whether solar panels improve resale values. However, thanks to recent research by Zillow, we now know that a residential solar power system increases a home’s value by roughly 4.1% or $9,274 on average.

Ten States Where Solar Panels Increase Home Value the Most

That said, you might be surprised to find out how significantly this increased value can vary from state to state. Therefore, we should possibly rephrase the question to, “how much do solar panels increase home value in your state?” To answer this query, we took a deep dive into the findings of Zillow’s study, and we discovered the ten states where solar panels increase home value the most.

There are five states where solar panels add more than 4% to the resale value of a home:

  • New Jersey (9.9%)
  • Pennsylvania (4.9%)
  • Louisiana (4.9%)
  • North Carolina (4.8%)
  • Washington (4.1%)

In addition, there are five other states where you can expect at least a 3.5% increase in home value due to solar energy systems:

  • Florida (4%)
  • Hawaii (4%)
  • Maryland (3.8%)
  • New York (3.6%)
  • South Carolina (3.5%)

It’s also interesting to take a look at how the relationship between solar panels and home value varies between different metropolitan areas. Zillow examined home values in several metros and found that three of them stand head and shoulders above the rest:

  • In New York City, solar panels increase home value by 5.4%.
  • In Orlando, Florida homeowners earn a 4.6% boost in home value with a solar energy system.
  • In San Francisco, homeowners can expect a 4.4% increase if they have solar panels.

Zillow isn’t the only company studying how much solar panels increase home values. According to The Appraisal Journal, researchers report that a homeowner can expect the value of their house to increase by around $20 for each dollar saved per year on energy expenses. How much do solar panels increase home value within this framework? Even if your solar power system only saves you $100 per month compared to buying electricity from the utility company, that still comes out to a value increase of $24,000.

Meanwhile, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory frames the question of “do solar panels add value to your home” a bit differently, but with similar findings. The Berkeley Lab states that solar panels boost home values by about $5,000 per kilowatt of power available from the home’s solar system. This means that once you subtract the upfront installation costs, a 10-kW system would add around $32,500 to your home’s overall resale value.

Regional Electricity Costs Impact Solar Savings

Of course, the cost of electricity in your region is another major factor in this equation. Energy costs vary considerably in different parts of the country. Generally speaking, Hawaii (34 cents per kilowatt-hour), Alaska (18 cents), and Connecticut (17 cents) have the highest electric rates in the nation. In contrast, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Arkansas have the lowest rates, averaging just under eight cents per kWh. The more costly your electricity, the more you can save with solar. On average, the typical American home’s value increases by 4.1% if you install solar panels.

In addition to your region and the price of electricity in your area, there are several other important variables that affect the added value of a residential solar energy system. These include the price of installation, the replacement value of your solar system, homebuyers’ environmental priorities, how often the local utility suffers outages, how old your solar panels are, how much energy they generate, and state and local incentive programs.

You might still be wondering if solar panels increase home value for your specific situation. If so, ask yourself a few key questions:

  • How much do you spend on energy from your utility company? 
  • What kinds of solar incentives are available in your state? 
  • Do you have a roof that receives direct sunlight with southern exposure? 

By discussing these questions with a reputable solar installer like LGCY Power, you can determine how the relationship between solar panels and home value affects your house.

Solar Homes Sell Faster

One final advantage of residential solar energy is how solar homes sell faster than homes that rely on energy from the utility company. In general, you can expect a home with solar panels to sell roughly 20% faster than a typical home with no solar system.

How much do solar panels increase home value? To find out, look up your address in Google’s Project Sunroof. This handy tool provides personalized solar analysis for your specific address and allows you to conveniently compare financing options for your potential solar system. 

Another great way to determine how much you can save is by contacting LGCY Power today! Our knowledgeable representatives can help you determine your potential savings and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Popular Solar Incentive Programs You Should Know About

When it comes to determining how much money you can save by installing solar panels for your home, one of the crucial factors is which government solar energy incentive programs you have access to. Each state has its own rules and regulations for residential solar systems — for instance, California solar incentives differ from Florida solar incentives. Depending on which solar incentives you use, you can save even more money with a home solar system installation than you might think!

To help you understand the different programs available across the country, we narrowed down the list of solar energy incentive programs to the top handful that you should know about before installing your own solar panels. Let’s take a look at each of these valuable programs and discuss how they can make solar energy even more affordable.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

First up is the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, as described in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This incentive provides tax credits for solar energy systems, as well as fuel cells, geothermal heat pumps, and small-scale wind turbines. As one of the most popular federal residential solar incentives in existence today, this program provides a 26% tax credit for all solar energy systems installed before January 1, 2023. For systems placed in service after that date, homeowners still receive a 22% credit. Homeowners are eligible for this program whether they live in pre-existing homes or newly constructed houses, and the program applies to both first and second homes.

Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC)

Another popular solar incentive is the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program, which allows homeowners to sell energy to their utility provider in the form of certificates. Each certificate represents 1,000 kilowatt-hours, and their value can exceed $300 in some areas. Currently, more than half of all U.S. states have SREC programs, although not all of them are considered to be “active” markets, meaning that some states are no longer accepting applications.

Performance-Based Incentive (PBI)

A somewhat similar program is the performance-based incentive or PBI. These solar incentives provide homeowners with payment based on how much energy their residential solar power systems generate. Typically, PBIs are paid out on a monthly or yearly basis over a predetermined amount of time (in California, for example, incentives are paid over five-year periods) at a set dollar-per-kWh ratio. Because these solar energy incentive programs pay based on a system’s actual output, they encourage homeowners to maintain their systems in prime condition, as systems with subpar energy generation are not incentivized as much.

Subsidized Solar Loans

Subsidized solar loans have gained in popularity in recent years, as homeowners look for alternatives to solar lease agreements and up-front cash purchases. These solar incentives are quite similar to typical home improvement loans, with one major caveat: a solar loan not only increases the value of your home (much like a newly remodeled bathroom or a new wraparound porch), but it also generates energy, which puts money directly into your pocket. In this way, subsidized solar loans are truly the best of both worlds.

Solar Rebates by State

Next, let’s briefly discuss solar rebates by state. While we’re not going to run down each and every rebate available on a state-specific basis in the United States, we will quickly touch on a few of them, starting with California solar incentives. This is one of the most popular states for residential solar systems, and a quick look at the state’s solar energy incentive programs illustrates why.

California offers a statewide net metering policy to help homeowners save money by selling their excess energy back into the grid. In addition, the state provides residents with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, which helps homeowners pay for energy-efficient home upgrades, such as solar panel installations. If that’s not enough, California also provides property tax exemptions for residential solar energy systems, exempting the entire value of the solar system from the owner’s property tax responsibilities.

How about Florida solar incentives? While residential solar systems aren’t quite as popular in this sunny state as they are in the similarly cloud-free California, Florida has some intriguing government solar energy incentive programs of its own. For instance, Florida has a similar net metering policy to California’s, and it also provides homeowners with exemptions for both property taxes and sales taxes. This makes solar installations cheaper up-front and into the future.

Texas solar incentives are another interesting case study. The only statewide solar incentive in this state is a property tax exemption. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of any other government solar energy incentive programs. That’s because several of the state’s largest municipalities — including Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio — offer solar rebates to help homeowners deal with the up-front costs of residential solar energy system installations.

As you can see, there are quite a few different solar incentives available to homeowners today. While some of them can be accessed on a nationwide basis, some others are only available on a state-specific basis. This is just one of the many reasons that you should partner with a reputable solar installation company like LGCY Power.

Here at LGCY Power, our representatives know all the details of the solar energy incentive programs available to you. We can help you plan out your system in a way that takes advantage of every solar incentive you can access in your state, increasing the productivity and profitability of your residential solar system. For more information, give us a call today at 855.649.4019 and consult with one of our expert team members!

Calculating Your Solar Payback Period: A Practical Guide

These days, everyone knows that installing solar panels for your home is an environmentally friendly decision. However, some people still underestimate how much money they can save with a rooftop residential solar system. In reality, you can save so much cash with home solar panels that they’re actually an excellent investment with a better rate of return than many traditional forms of investing.

Calculate Your Solar Payback Period

To understand how much money you can save with residential solar panels, you need to calculate your solar payback period. This is an estimate of how many years it will take for you to pay off your initial investment and start making money on your solar energy system. If you’re wondering how to calculate the payback period for a solar system, let’s dig into the details.

  1. Start with Your Expenses: Let’s start with the expenses. The biggest cost is the purchase of your solar panels and related equipment. This figure can vary considerably depending on the size and location of your home, and whether you purchase your solar system up-front or on a solar loan or lease. There can also be some expenses for ongoing maintenance, although these are usually quite low because solar panels don’t require much upkeep.
  2. Analyze Your Benefits: Once you’ve figured out how much you’ll need to spend, the next step to calculate a solar payback period is to analyze your benefits. Depending on where you live, your state could provide up-front incentives in the form of rebates and tax benefits. When it comes to ongoing benefits, you simply need to take a look at your energy bill and consider how much money you’ll save per month by generating your own power with solar panels compared to buying electricity from the utility company. When you determine your total expenses and your annual savings, simply divide the costs by the benefits to calculate your solar payback period.
  3. Shop Around: It’s important to shop around with several different solar installers to get the shortest payback period possible. Take recommendations from friends and neighbors, but don’t get too attached to any company before you’ve had a chance to analyze the costs and benefits for yourself. You might be surprised by how affordable some installers make this process!

For most American homeowners, the typical residential solar payback period is 8-11 years. When you consider that solar panels are manufactured to withstand a minimum of 25 years of use, a payback period of 12 years or less is typically considered to be a solid return. However, depending on which state you live in, you could get a payback period as short as just five years in a state like Hawaii.

An important element of determining how to calculate the payback period for solar panels is nailing down the variables that go into this equation. One is to consider how much electricity your home typically uses and whether your planned residential solar power system provides enough energy to entirely offset this usage. Then, you’ll need to determine how much it will cost to install your solar panels and associated equipment.

As we mentioned earlier, there are also solar incentives and rebates to consider. Some states, like Massachusetts, offer so many incentives and tax breaks that you can calculate a solar payback period of just four years in many cases. Unfortunately, if you live in a state like Mississippi that provides very few solar incentives (or none at all), you can expect your payback period to exceed 15 years.

Consider How Much You Pay For Your Electricity

Finally, it’s important to consider how much you pay for your electricity in the first place. Depending on your home’s location, the cost of electricity in different parts of the country can vary significantly. If you can take advantage of relatively inexpensive energy from your utility provider, that changes the math regarding how to calculate your solar payback period. In addition, if you can use net metering to offset the purchase of energy at night or on overcast days by selling your excess energy from sunny days back into the grid, your solar payback period will be considerably shorter than that of a homeowner with no access to net metering.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when installing residential solar energy systems is failing to properly calculate the solar payback period. To maximize your savings and choose the perfect solar power system for your home, simply walk through the steps outlined in this guide and figure out how long you can expect it to take for your solar panels to break even. No matter where you live or how much energy your home uses, there’s a solar solution for your needs.

Do you still have some questions about how to calculate the payback period for a solar system for your home? Perhaps you need some help determining how much energy your solar panels need to generate, or you want some more information about solar incentives in your area? Simply contact LGCY Power at 855.649.4019 and speak with one of our expert representatives today.

Our team members are highly trained in many different aspects of residential solar energy systems, and they can help you calculate the solar payback period for your planned system. We can also help you find the perfect solar installer, thanks to our 500+ partnerships with local consultants and installation companies. Contact us today to discover how LGCY Power can save you money and help you determine how to calculate the payback period for your solar panels!

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