Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy offers multiple advantages. Let's look at a few of them.
- Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home functioning through emergencies and blackouts, giving you additional security. You can use your solar energy anytime with an optional battery storage system.
- Smaller power bills: Generating some or all of your own electricity will save you money on your electric bills long-term.
- Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.
What Solar Incentives Are Available to Charlottesville Homeowners?
Virginia agencies and electric companies offer several solar incentives to help cut your solar system costs. Check out a breakdown of relevant solar programs where you live.
Incentive Type: Personal Tax Deduction
20% of the sales tax paid by an individual
Incentive Type: Property Tax IncentiveWebsite: law.lis.virginia.gov
Depends on the local governing body
Incentive Type: Property Tax IncentiveWebsite: dmme.virginia.gov
Varies (local option)
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 Charlottesville
The more informed your provider search is, the better your photovoltaic system will ultimately function. Make your choice based on the following essential elements.
Licensing and Training
Since 2012, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has issued Alternative Energy Systems (AES) licenses to contractors who work on solar PV systems. Even if a contractor has an AES license, they may still need to subcontract HVAC, electrical or plumbing work. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private accreditations. Two of the most prestigious are the Solar Heating Installer and PV Installation Professional 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.
Cost of Solar Panels in Charlottesville
Different solar panel types look and perform differently. Monocrystalline panels cost more than other options, but they generate the most power. Polycrystalline panels provide a lower price point but produce less power. 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.
If you'd like to charge an electric car or use your solar power in inclement weather, you can pay extra for accessories. By choosing the right components, you can make your system more efficient and convenient to use. Not all solar contractors include these add-ons, so look for a company that sells them if it's a priority for you.
A majority of Charlottesville homeowners select solar systems designed for five kilowatts (kW) of electrical capacity. These systems cost about $17,950 to set up, considering both materials and labor. You can find more specific cost information in the table.
|Solar Panel Cost
|Solar Home EV Charger
Financing Solar Energy in Charlottesville
There are numerous ways to pay for a new solar system, and the right one will minimize your overhead. A few of the most common options include power purchase agreements (PPAs), loans, leases, and cash payments. 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 next best option. As with a car loan or mortgage, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for cost-saving solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases allow you to use your panels for a set monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay just for the energy you use, akin to an electric bill. Both options disqualify you for solar incentives and don't grant you system ownership. Solar experts generally don't recommend them, but they might be suitable in some cases. Ask each installer you're vetting about the payment options it offers. A representative can help you determine the most suitable option for your budget.
The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Charlottesville.
You can claim a 26% federal tax credit from the IRS for new residential solar systems purchased before 2032. Additionally, local governments and utilities may have their own financing plans and rebates that could reduce your total cost even more.
|Solar System Capacity
|Estimated Payback period
Ready to Get a Quote on Your Solar Project?
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Charlottesville
How much money could I save by going solar in Charlottesville?
Is solar energy widely available in Charlottesville?
Should I anticipate a property value increase after going solar?
What if I live in a rainy or heavily-wooded
How can I evaluate my site's solar potential?
What upkeep do my solar panels need, and how frequently do they need it?
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 are the signs I shouldn't use a particular solar company for my job?
- Pushy sales approach
- Being evasive about references, cost, warranties and credentials and training
- Limited or no customization
- Rushing through the site assessment
- Limited customer feedback
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