Utah: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy
Almost out of nowhere, Utah has become one of the country’s leading states for solar energy. Jumping up on national rankings for its solar panel installations and output, an April 2019 report from Environment America Research & Policy Center lauded the city’s explosive growth in the solar sector.
“In addition to the national rankings, the report examined national solar power in major cities over the course of six years,” reported the city’s KUTV news station. “According to the report, solar energy capacity has more than doubled in 45 of 57 of the country’s largest cities and it has more than quadrupled in Salt Lake City from 2013 to 2018.”
As of the end of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked the state ninth in the country — more than six percent of the state’s energy comes from solar. Additionally, SEIA ranks Utah 15th in the nation in projecting its growth over the next five years.
Indeed, increased competition in the state since 2015—and the nature of the market on a national scale—means residents are primed for home value increases if they install solar panels in Utah. And when it comes to home value, researchers project the value of a home increases up to $15,000 on average, according to the Berkley Lab, one of the federal government’s national renewable energy laboratories. That doesn’t even take into consideration the massive savings solar paneling affords homeowners—or seasonal price fluctuations that make winter a possibly perfect time for your solar home improvement project.
Like every other state, Utah has a unique set of incentives, benefits, and challenges when it comes to investing in solar panels for houses. Read our residential guide to understand what you should know as a homeowner as you look for the best contractor to install solar panel systems in the many possible nooks of the Beehive State.
A well-informed and reliable contractor will go over each detail of your installation with you, from expected savings to increases in home value. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.
Salt Lake City, UT: Solar Energy Success Stories
Uniquely positioned to serve sun to many, myriad success stories come from homeowners who install solar panels in Utah.
Don and Mary Garner, for example, came back from a seminar at the University of Utah and decided it was time to go solar. Their solar panel system will pay for itself in less than a decade and is designed to offset 90 percent of their existing annual power usage, in order to take full advantage of net metering through Rocky Mountain Power.”
Elliot and Susie Hulet waited for a family member to show solid results from solar power before installing their own just outside of Salt Lake City, designed to produce 80 percent of their annual solar energy needs. Nancy Lombardo’s system is designed to produce up to 75 percent of her needs but she found that at its peak, her solar panels system was offsetting 93 percent of her summer electricity usage.
“They are practically invisible,” Lombardo said of her panels. “You can’t see them at all from the street. They’re very subtle.”
Indeed, solar panels have a sizeable effect on utility bills. Utah residents can expect to save nearly close to $17,000 over 20 years. This data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification.
A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you. When it comes to Utah’s solar energy, existing financial incentives (and policy) only make it more lucrative for you to sustainably increase your property value.
Utah Solar Panels: Incentives, Rebates, and Other Savings
There are currently nearly more than 80 incentives for homeowners to increase the value of their property by installing solar panels for houses in Utah. Find details about each program at the state’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).
Solid contractors installing solar panels in Utah will be able to provide a list of applicable costs savings measures and help you navigate applying for and getting the most out of them. Learn enough to have a foundational understanding of these programs to best talk to your contractor about them once you’ve vetted and chosen one.
Renewable Energy Systems Tax Credit
Installing solar paneling for homes will increase property value for homeowners who have invested in their houses, and Utah is investing right back in them. Each year, Utah homeowners can get up to a $2,000 credit per residence, available to taxpayers who install solar panels for their houses. More specifically, you get 25 percent back on your purchase in the form of a tax credit, up to $2,000.
Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.
Other Utah-specific solar energy programs include:
- City of St. George – Net Metering
- Rocky Mountain Power – wattsmart New Homes Program
- Questar Gas – Residential Solar Assisted Water Heating Rebate Program
- Alternative Energy Development Incentive (Personal)
- Net Billing
Of course, you want to get the most out of local programs as well as federal ones, like the temporary Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation. It is important to note that this federal credit is for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019. Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would’ve dropped from $15,428 to $10,800 after the rebate is applied—but keep in mind its value is dropping and the credit could be completely gone by the early 2020s. Consult your contractor about this and other available credits and incentives to ensure your investment in the long-term value of your property is as easy on your current assets as possible.
That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust—a local professional who can get the job done and assist you with navigating local policy and regulation. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands.