Financial Incentives for Solar Electric Systems

Solar electric systems often make economic sense when financial incentives such as federal tax credits and local utility rebates are available to utility customers.

| July 2011 Web

The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy

"The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy" discusses how to conserve energy and cut heating bills, and how to prepare for renewable energy options. Focusing on strategies for replacing specific fuels, the book then examines each practical energy option available to homeowners.

The following is an excerpt from "The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy" by Dan Chiras (New Society, 2011). The excerpt is from Chapter 8: Solar Electricity - Powering Your Home with Solar Energy. 

Solar electric systems are a great source of clean, reliable electricity. Solar electricity can be stored in battery banks for use at night or on cloudy days. Or it can be “stored” on the electrical grid. Remember, even though initial costs may be high — from $5,000 to $40,000 or more, depending on the size and the type of system — the fuel (sunlight) is free, abundant, and clean, and it’s not under the control of some powerful multinational corporation. Financial incentives discussed (see below) and good net metering laws help make this venture more cost-effective, too.

Solar electric systems require minimal maintenance, too, unless batteries are included in the mix. And solar electric systems are a relatively environmentally benign source of energy. In addition, they operate quietly, unless you need considerable backup from a generator. Solar electric systems are modular, which means that you can install them incrementally. You can start small and expand as your finances permit. Solar electricity, like other technologies discussed in this book, provides energy independence. No matter whether you live in a busy city or a sleepy town or a remote rural area, solar electricity can meet your needs, and help replace waning supplies of oil and natural gas.


Solar Electric System Incentives 

Solar electric systems can make sense in places where electrical costs are extremely high. In California, Hawaii, and Germany, for instance, conventionally produced electricity goes for premium prices.

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