I have been researching photovoltaic panels for both a new LEED certified building, as well as two off-grid homes we’ve designed. The findings are compelling:
If your current electric service provider is Xcel, they will offer a rebate of $4.50 per watt. This means that if you install a 4kw system (typical for most residences and small commercial projects), this is an $18,000 rebate paid up front. The cost of a system like this is roughly $30,000, so the rebate alone covers more than half the cost of the system.
There’s also a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 for residential projects with a higher cap for commercial projects depending on the property. While you reap these rewards at the end of the year, they still put money back in your pocket.
Let’s not forget net metering – with the right sized system, you also significantly reduce or eliminate your electric bill alltogether. Be careful here, because if you produce a surplus of energy, they’ll only pay you the wholesale rate for it (about 1/3 of the retail rate). So size your system just right. With net metering, the payback period for the remaining cost on a typical PV system is approximately 8-10 years. With most solar panels warrantied at 20 to 25 years, you’ve not only built value into the home for yourself, but you’ve also increased the re-sale value of the home as well.
The world of solar energy is changing fast and the technology is exploding onto the scene. If you are interested for PV in your new home, contact me through our website www.evstudio.us and we can connect you with people who are right for your project. If you are building new, remember that site selection and solar orientation are absolutely critical to the success of any PV system. Of course, we would naturally design passive solar elements into the home as well so you can maximize your energy efficiency (because you can’t turn that gas meter backwards!)
The reasons to go PV are many, but the cash incentives sure don’t hurt either!