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 Panels in Hartford, CT
Connecticut may be one of the smallest states in the nation–only Hawaii and Rhode Island are smaller, but with 3.5 million residents, it is the fourth most densely populated state in the country. Connecticut’s high population combined with its limited space makes an ideal location for residential generated solar initiatives, as opposed to utility-scale solar. As such, the state offers some big incentives to homeowners who choose to install solar. Solar is so popular, in large part to the state’s generous incentives, that Connecticut is one of the top ten states in the nation for solar generation. If you want to save money on your monthly energy bills–essentially cutting them in half, while reducing your environmental footprint, solar is the way to go. Read on for more details about how to integrate solar technology that accommodates your budget and meets the energy demands of your Hartford, CT home.
Are the Weather Conditions in Hartford Favorable to Solar Power?
Yes. Though Harford gets more rain than the U.S. average–46 inches compared to 37 nationwide, and more snowfall–35 inches compared to 25 inches, there are still 190 sunny days in Hartford each year. Your solar panels will still work under light snowfall, but when snowfall is heavy and completely blocks out the sunshine, they will stop generating power. This can happen after more than a couple of inches of snowfall. In this case, it is often easiest to just wait for the snow to melt. Because solar panels have a slippery surface and sit at an angle, it can be easy for snow to slide off. If you don’t have time to wait, or the weather isn’t warming up to facilitate the melting of snow, you can also use a roof rake to sweep the snow off your panels. You may want to hire a professional to do this as working on your roof in slick conditions can be dangerous.
Hartford’s snowy weather isn’t always a headache when it comes to your solar panels. Solar panels can actually work more efficiently in cold weather because the sun is reflected off the bright white ground. Homeowners in snowy climates have reported that their solar panels can operate at better than 100% of their rated power. When snow comes off panels, it also helps clean them, which gives an additional boost to their productivity. Even if there are days when your panels are covered with snow and not pumping out power, it’s also important to remember that your total energy generation is calculated over a year, so day-to-day variations, or lower generation over winter months, can be made up at other times.
Are There Federal or State Incentives to Adopt Solar?
You can receive a 30% federal tax credit for qualified expenditures for a renewable energy system that serves a dwelling that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Qualifying expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. For solar electric systems and solar water heating systems, these tax credits have been extended through December 31, 2019. The credit does not apply for solar water heating systems for swimming pools or hot tubs.
Additionally, Connecticut has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires 27% of its energy come from renewable energy sources by 2020. To meet the goals set by the RPS, the state has set up numerous incentives to encourage homeowners to adopt solar including:
Sales Tax Incentive: Under Connecticut’s tax code, certain renewable energy equipment, like solar and geothermal equipment is 100% exempt from sales and use tax. The code also covers passive and active solar water-heating systems, passive and active solar space-heating systems, and solar-electric systems. To qualify for the exemption, purchasers must complete the department’s CERT-140 form. The form must be filled out by the seller at time of purchase.
Connecticut’s Clean energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA)Performance Based Rebates: This program aims to support a total of 30 megawatts of residential solar photovoltaics and is limited to customers of the state’s investor-owned utilities, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating. Both customer-purchased systems and systems owned by third parties under power-purchase agreements and solar leases can qualify for the rebates.
Purchasers can qualify for a rebate of $2.275 per watt for system up to 5 kilowatts in size. Systems up to 10 kilowatts in size qualify for a $1.075 per watt rebate. Larger systems can qualify, but the rebate only applies to the first 10 kilowatts. Customers who get a system through a third-party qualify for a performance-based incentive of 30 cents per kilowatt hour, which is paid to the third-party based on actual system performance over the first six years of the system’s production. The third-party owner must then use the incentive to reduce the cost of the system. Either way, to access these rebates, the system must be installed by a CEFIA approved installer and have a CEFIA approved monitoring system. Customers must also first have a home energy audit then select a contractor from a CEFIA approved list. Your contractor completes all necessary paperwork and application materials online.
Connecticut Solar Net Metering
Connecticut Light and Power Company and United Illuminating Co., the state’s investor-owned utilities, are required to net-meter customers with “Class I” renewable-energy resources–this includes solar. Under the state regulations, any electricity produced in excess of what is used at the site (your home), during a monthly billing period is carried forward as kilowatt-hour (kWh) credits for one year. On March 31 of each year the utility reimburses the customer generators for any excess energy produced.
Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems
The state of Connecticut provides a property tax exemption for “Class I” renewable energy systems used to generate electricity for private residential use. The exemption is available for systems installed on or after October 1, 2007, that serve farms, single-family homes or multi-family dwellings limited to four units. In addition, “any passive or active solar water or space heating system or geothermal energy resource” is exempt from property taxes, regardless of the type of facility the system serves. An exemption claim must be filed with the assessor or board of assessors in the town in which the property is placed on or before the first day of November in the applicable assessment year. Applications are not required each year as long as no major alterations are made to the renewable energy system. Contact your local tax assessor’s office for more information.The city assessor for Hartford is John S. Phillip, CCMA II and you can reach the office at:
Hartford Assessment Division
550 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Phone: (860) 757-9640
Fax: (860) 722-6142
PACE Solar Financing
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to borrow money from the local government to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Connecticut has authorized local governments to establish such programs, as described below. However, it is important to note that at this time, no local governments in Connecticut currently offer residential PACE financing.