How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar in Sacramento, California
Before installing a solar panel system, you must first determine if solar energy is suitable for your location. Since solar power requires ample amounts of sunlight to produce electricity, businesses and residences in heavily treed locations are not ideal solar power candidates. Most solar panel systems are installed on rooftops at 25 to 30 degree angles to maximize their exposure to the sun and to overcome space limitations required for land installation. The roof must be structurally sound and in good condition.
The best approach to take when considering solar panel installation is to hire a licensed and experienced solar power contractor to assess the feasibility of installing a solar panel system at your location. A seasoned solar contractor can asses the condition of the roof, determine the best location to install your solar panels as well as design and attain the necessary permits required for the installation.
Why Go Solar
Solar energy provides many benefits to both the environment and your pocket book. The clean, renewable, and sustainable energy source is available year round in most parts of California due to the abundance of sunshine. In addition, the Sacramento area experiences sunshine approximately 78-percent of the time year round with an average of 188 clear days.
Rebates and Incentives in Sacramento
City, state and federal programs are in place that offers attractive rebates and incentives to help reduce the cost of your solar power system.
- Effective January of 2015, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers residential incentive of $500.00 for each solar panel system installed. Solar contractors most often handle the application process but DIYers can obtain the application forms along with a handbook by emailing email@example.com.
- The California Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems provides a property tax exemption for solar water heaters, solar space heaters, and solar thermal electric, photovoltaic and solar mechanical energy. The state does not tax the value solar-generating equipment adds to your property. This means that you will not be taxed for any property value increases associated with solar power equipment.
- Net metering is a billing method that tracks the amount of electricity your solar system contributes to the power grid. The excess power usually shows up as a credit on your utilities bill.
- The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit initiated by the federal government allows a taxpayer to claim a 30-percent tax credit for qualified expenditures related to renewable energy systems. The program is set to expire at the end of 2016.
How Solar Panels Work
A solar panel system utilizes photovoltaic cells that convert the sun’s energy into direct current (DC) electricity. Since residential electric power requires alternating current (AC), an inverter is required to convert DC into AC. The AC electricity then passes through your homes main service panel to power your home. A net meter measures the amount of electricity you draw from the grid as well as the excess solar electricity that flows into the grid from your solar panel system. You will receive a credit on your electric bill for the excess power supplied to the grid from your solar panel system.
There are several ways to pay for a solar panel system. Buying the system outright, leasing, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are the most common methods.
Buying a Solar Panel System
When you choose this option, you must pay for the equipment and installation costs up front. Since you own the system outright, you are responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the system. Purchasing the system adds immediate value to your home and may provide certain tax deductions and credits.
Leasing a Solar Panel System
Similar to a car lease, when you lease a solar panel system you make monthly payments over a specified period while benefiting from the electricity produced. This reduces the out-of-pocket expenses you would incur when buying the system outright.
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
With a PPA, the homeowner does not pay for the solar panel equipment but instead pays for the electricity it produces. The more power generated by the system, the more your monthly payment. This means that during the summer months the customer will pay more because the system produces more electricity during this time of the year.
Final Solar Considerations
Before committing to solar panel installation, hire a solar company to determine the feasibility of installing solar on your home or business. Prospective home-buyers considering solar power should also take into account during their home search the necessary requirements and conditions for solar energy.