Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy offers several advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.
- Better energy independence: Adding a battery storage system lets you have reliable energy during grid outages and storms.
- Smaller power bills: Generating some or all of your own energy will cut power costs long-term.
- 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 non-renewable sources.
What Solar Incentives Are Available to Richmond Homeowners?
Virginia homeowners who decide on solar could qualify for reimbursements, tax credits, special financing and rebates. Here are just a few of the local incentive programs.
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 Richmond
The price and effectiveness of solar panels often depend on the provider that installed them. Here are some important factors to consider while searching for a solar specialist.
The type of solar panels you purchase determines how much electricity you can produce. Monocrystalline panels cost more but give you the best performance. Polycrystalline panels generate less, but they're a great traditional option for low budgets. Thin-film panels have a low cost and are excellent for non-traditional roofs, but aren't recommended for large home installations.
Additional components, such as electric vehicle (EV) chargers and battery storage, will raise your overall cost. By choosing the right ones, you can make your panel array more efficient and user-friendly. Not every solar company provides these additional features, so look for a contractor that has them if it's important for you.
Licensing and Training
Since 2012, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has issued Alternative Energy Systems (AES) licenses to contractors working on solar PV systems. Even if a contractor has an AES license, they may still need to subcontract electrical, HVAC or plumbing work. Solar installers can also earn certificates from trade groups and standards organizations. The most prestigious ones in the industry come from the NABCEP. Most company websites will prominently display earned credentials, but you should also ask your estimator for more information.
Choosing the best financing option will affect your overall solar system cost and expected savings. A few of the most common options include power purchase agreements (PPAs), cash payments, loans, and leases. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most economical choice because it qualifies you for solar incentives and doesn't accrue interest. 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 let you use your panels for a fixed monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay only for the energy you use, akin to an electric bill. Both options disqualify you for solar incentives and do not provide you system ownership. Solar experts generally don't recommend them, but they might be suitable in some cases. We suggest working with an installer that offers multiple financing options. Ask each agent about what's available, and secure more than one estimate for the best odds of keeping within your spending limits.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Richmond
How much money could I save by going solar in Richmond?
How prevalent is solar energy in Richmond?
Will solar panels improve my Richmond home price?
How many years does an average solar system last?
Is installing solar panels a quick job?
What care do my solar panels need, and how often do they need it?
What are the signs I shouldn't use a particular solar company for my job?
- Aggressive sales pitch
- Dodging questions about cost, references, warranties and the crew's credentials and training
- Inflexible options
- Superficial, rushed site evaluation
- No references or testimonials