Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy comes with multiple advantages. Let's look at a few of them.
- Reduced carbon footprint: The sun is one of the universe's most abundant clean energy sources, meaning you can lower or beat your home's dependence on "traditional" sources.
- Lowered energy bills: You can skip the expensive cost of grid-tied power by generating some electricity at home.
- Better energy independence: Solar panels can keep your home running through emergencies and blackouts, giving you additional security. You can use your solar energy anytime with optional battery backup.
What Solar Incentives Are Available to Chattanooga Homeowners?
Tennessee's public agencies and power companies offer multiple solar incentives to help lower your solar system costs. Here is a breakdown of applicable solar programs where you live.
Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive
Depends upon sector
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 Chattanooga
Choosing a company is the first step toward a well-oiled and cost-efficient solar array. Here are some crucial criteria to consider while shopping for a solar installer.
The kind of solar panels you purchase decides how much power you can generate. Monocrystalline panels cost more than other options, but they generate the most power. Polycrystalline panels produce less power, but start at a more budget-friendly price point. Thin-film panels work well for small projects like RVs and sheds, but they're not ideal for larger installations due to their low performance.
You can also add battery backups and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. These upgrades extend your system’s efficiency while adding more conveniences to your home. Not all solar installers provide these additional features, so look for a company that has them if it's essential for you.
Licensing and Training
Tennessee requires any solar energy project valued at $25,000 or higher to be overseen by a licensed "prime contractor." The prime contractor is responsible for hiring licensed subcontractors as required. Even if a project doesn't cross the $25,000 value threshold, you will still need an electrical journeyman or master electrician to handle permit work. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private credentials. Two of the most respected are the PV Installation Professional and Solar Heating Installer certificates, granted by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Some companies don't publish this information online, so you should also ask your estimator about them.
Choosing the best financing option will influence your overall solar system cost and potential savings. Though some providers offer unique payment plans, the most common are power purchase agreements (PPAs), solar loans, solar leases and cash payments. Most solar experts recommend a cash payment or using a solar loan. Cash payments demand a large up-front sum, but they save you from paying interest, grant you system ownership, and qualify you for cost-saving incentives. Solar loans have the same benefits, though you'll pay more in total due to interest and fees. Similar to a auto or home loan, you'll pay a set monthly rate with potentially $0 down. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) lets you pay a monthly rate determined by the energy you use, similar to an electric bill. We usually don’t recommend these two options because you won't own the system and cannot use solar incentives. We suggest working with an installer that offers multiple financing options. Ask each agent about what's available, and obtain more than one estimate for the best odds of staying within your spending limits.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Chattanooga
How much energy and money could I save per year by switching to solar?
How common is solar energy in Chattanooga?
Will solar energy systems improve my Chattanooga home price?
How long does it take to pay back a solar loan in Chattanooga?
What if I live in a heavily-wooded or gloomy
How long does the photovoltaic installation process require?
How are traditional solar loans and PPAs different?
You might look into a PPA if you don’t want to be responsible for maintaining your panels and don’t want to invest in a system, but keep in mind you won’t be paying toward ownership or be able to access any cost-saving solar incentives. Many solar experts don’t recommend PPAs. Our guide covers other payment options above.
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