When Robert first mentioned the idea of us going solar, of course it sounded like the right thing to do, but the cost was substantial. Despite the 30% tax credit, I had a difficult time making the dollars and cents add up to a cost savings in the long run.
Saving: Of course, saving money is not the only reason we should go solar, but it’s a huge factor for most of us to consider. You can check potential savings through several online calculators, including Energy Sage, the Google Project Sunroof, Solar Estimate, and many others.
The average electric bill in St. Petersburg for the month of March is $133.85. Living in a 100+ year-old, 2-story house, our bill usually is twice that amount, and the bills are devastating in the summer months. The online calculators and the solar companies showed again and again that the cost savings for our home would be substantial.
Home Resale: What about the long-term investment and the impact on your home value? Most sources cite reassuring data from a 2015 study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that showed resale values increase by an average of $4 for every solar watt installed – about $15,000 for an average system.
A more recent study by Zillow supports that finding showing homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. For the median-valued home in our area, that translates to an additional $9,200, approximately.
Going Green: If the cost savings isn’t motivation enough, going solar is a great way to make a lasting impact on the environment. CUInsight estimates it can reduce our carbon footprint by up to 20% annually.
We recently finished our first month running on solar, and we do not expect to see an electric bill this year, other than the basic fees. Will we save? Definitely. We also know we are making a difference, and we hope we will encourage others to the do same.
If you haven’t checked to see whether solar is a good option for your home, now’s a great time to do so. The 30% tax credit extends throughout this year, and most solar companies will help you pursue financing to make the project feasible.
Photos courtesy of: Student Design and Experiential Learning Center and Michael Coghlan (CC).
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