Installing solar provides financial benefits including control over rising electricity rates, reduced electricity bills, and increased home values. Environmental benefits include the creation of clean, renewable energy reducing air pollution and conserving other finite fuel resources.
Not only has the price of solar fallen substantially over the last few years, there are significant incentives/savings being offered at both the federal and state levels via investment tax credits (ITCs) and solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) that can save 30-70% of the cost of the project. These incentives will not last forever. By waiting to go solar, it will cost you money not only in higher electricity bills, but also in the phasing out and/or reduction of the incentives over the next few years. Don’t wait, go solar now!
It is a tax credit available to homeowners installing solar and is valued at 30% of the total project cost. This is a dollar for dollar reduction in personal income taxes owed. In 2020, the ITC is reduced to 26% and in 2021 to 22%. After 2021 this credit is planned to drop to zero.
SRECs are basically payments to the owner of a solar array for generating clean electricity. These payments help recoup the cost of the solar investment. States pass legislation that require energy suppliers to provide a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources and these suppliers must purchase these SRECs from you. In Illinois, owners sell their SRECs into a market established by the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) and the homeowner is paid 15 years of estimated SREC production in advance, when the solar system is installed.
One SREC is generated for every one megawatt-hour of electricity produced by a solar system. In Illinois, the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) establishing the pricing and it is currently at $72.97 per SREC for most residential systems. ISREC prices will decline as more solar systems are installed due to less demand.
There are several factors that determine whether or not your house is a good fit for solar including owning your own home, having sufficient roof space to install the solar system, minimal shading and obstruction, pay more than $75 per month in electricity, and roof is newer and in good condition. South facing surface areas are ideal, but west or east facing will work as well.
Slightly less energy is produced at night, on cloudy days, or when panels are covered by snowfall. However, energy is still being produced and the design of the system will maximize energy production (tilted panels angle toward sun and snow slides off). Your system will shut down during power outages and will automatically restart once power is restored.
No, your panels are connected to the grid to allow energy to be pulled from the grid when the system is not producing all of the power needed. In addition, any energy that is being produced in excess of what is needed is sent back to your utility. If your local utility offers net metering, your surplus electricity may be credited toward your electricity bill.