Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy provides several advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.
- Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power reduces your dependence on conventional, less environmentally-friendly sources.
- Better energy independence: Photovoltaic systems with battery storage work through blackouts and emergencies, and you won't have to depend on the power grid for your safety and comfort.
- Reduced energy costs: Generating some or all of your own power will save you money on your electric bills long-term.
What Solar Incentives Are Available to Philadelphia Homeowners?
Pennsylvania homeowners who decide on solar could qualify for reimbursements, tax credits, special financing and rebates. Here are just a few of the region's incentive offerings.
Incentive Type: Loan ProgramWebsite: newpa.com
Residential loans/loan guarantees: $100,000
Commercial loans/loan guarantees: $2 million
Grants: Lesser of 10% of project costs or $500,000
Incentive Type: Rebate ProgramWebsite: phila.legistar.com
Residential: $0.20 per watt of solar installed
Commercial: $0.10 per watt of solar installed
Incentive Type: Loan ProgramWebsite: newpa.com
Manufacturer loans: $40,000 per job created within 3 years
Manufacturer grants: $5,000 per job created within 3 years
Loans for geothermal systems: $3 per square foot of space served up to $5 million; also limited to 50% of eligible costs for residential systems.
Loans for wind energy production projects: $5 million
Grants for wind energy production projects: $1 million
Grants for feasibility studies: 50% of cost up to $175,000
Loan guarantee grants: Up to 75% of deficient funds up to $5 million
Incentive Type: Solar Renewable Energy Credit ProgramWebsite: pennaeps.com
Varies based on market conditions; during 2015 the market price for PA-sourced SRECs has ranged from approximately $32 - $55/MWh ($0.032 - $0.055/kWh) although individual trades have taken place at substantially lower and higher prices.
Incentive Type: Grant ProgramWebsite: newpa.com
Vary by project, but program generally requires matching funds at least equivalent to DCED funding
Incentive Type: Personal Tax CreditWebsite: ecowatch.com
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.
How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Philadelphia
Choosing a company is the first step toward an effective and cost-efficient solar energy system. Here are some crucial criteria to remember while shopping for a solar provider.
Licensing and Training
There are no state-level contracting licenses issued in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so each city or county can set its own requirements and terms. Check for private accreditations from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), one of the solar industry's most trusted trade groups. Its program includes certifications for both solar photovoltaic and water heating installers.
Cost of Solar Panels in Philadelphia
Your solar modules' model will impact how much power you can produce. Monocrystalline panels cost the most but perform the best. Polycrystalline panels offer you a budget panel with a traditional design, but at the cost of less power generation. Thin-film panels are excellent for non-traditional roof shapes and cost the least, but don't work well for large residential installations.
You can also add battery backups and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. These will increase your total project price, but they can increase your solar system's performance. Not every solar company offers these add-ons, so look for a company that sells them if it's important for you.
Generally speaking, it will cost about $17,750 for a five-kilowatt solar array in Philadelphia. This table displays more specific pricing information for different solar panel types and system components in your area.
|Solar Panel Cost
|Solar Home EV Charger
Financing Solar Energy in Philadelphia
There are many ways to pay for a solar energy system, and the right one will help you decrease overhead. A few of the most common options include leases, cash payments, loans, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most affordable choice because it doesn't accrue interest and qualifies you for incentives. Solar loans are the runner-up option. As with a home or auto loan, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for money-saving solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases allow you to pay a monthly rate to rent your panels, while a PPA lets you pay a variable rate based on only the energy you use. We generally don't recommend these options since you won't own your system and are disqualified from solar incentives, but they might be appropriate in particular circumstances. We recommend working with an installer that offers multiple financing options. Ask each consultant about what's available, and get more than one estimate for the best odds of keeping within your financial plan.
The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Philadelphia.
You can claim a 26% federal tax credit from the IRS for new residential solar systems purchased before 2032. Additionally, utilities and local governments may have their own financing plans and rebates that could reduce your total cost even more.
|Solar System Capacity
|Estimated Payback period
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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Philadelphia
How much energy and money could I save per year by switching to solar?
Is solar energy common in Philadelphia?
Will solar panels improve my Philadelphia home worth?
Is solar installation a quick job?
What upkeep do my solar panels need, and how often do they need it?
What is the average payback period for Philadelphia solar panels?
How can I boost my solar array's performance?
- optimize the panels' position with your solar installer
- regularly clean your solar panels
- upgrade to a more efficient inverter trim or cut down trees in the way of your panels
- use energy-efficient appliances
What is "net metering," and how does it work?
Some states or energy providers mandate you to participate in net metering when purchasing your solar system, while others give you a choice. Either way, once you join, you'll earn a check or bill credit for your excess generation at a retail or wholesale rate.
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