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 Buyer’s Guide for Springfield, Illinois
To help guide you through the process of solar installation, this Buyer’s Guide explains some of the steps involved with a solar project. With the use of solar power on the rise in Illinois, your decision to convert to solar energy ensures a healthy planet for the future, and lots of savings for you.
Financing for Solar Products in Springfield
Having your financing set in place is a good idea as solar panel installation can be expensive. Although a solar system more than pays for itself over time, the initial cost for the equipment and installation can be significant.
If you’re purchasing from a large retail home improvement center, chances are they’ll have a payment or credit plan. If you have equity in your home, a HELOC will allow you to spread the investment over time. A credit card is an option but you’ll have to deal with interest rates. Paying cash is the best option if you have the funds readily available.
To help with the cost of solar installation, the city, state, and federal government offer attractive incentives, grants, rebates, loans, and tax credits to lower the initial cost. Check these websites for programs you can use.
- Clean Energy Authority
- DSIRE – Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy
- Energy Star
- Rural Energy for America Program
Springfield’s Climate for Solar
Springfield is ideally suited for solar power even with its 35 inches of annual rainfall, and 22 inches of snow during the winter. The city receives an estimated 196 days of sunshine, moderate temperatures in the high 80s during warm months and lows in the teens during the colder months. Springfield comes in below the U.S. average of 44 out of a 100 with a 39 rating for its comfort index. When choosing a solar water heater, your contractor should explain the difference between the types of systems as one works with water circulation in non-freezing climates while another works with a non-freezing fluid in the piping for areas, such as Springfield, that are susceptible to frequent freezing temperatures.
Hiring a Solar Contractor in Springfield
Because of the option to mount solar panels and solar water heater storage tanks on the roof, it will be necessary to have the roof inspected by a city inspector prior to installation, to approve or disapprove the structural integrity of the roof. The state also requires that all roofing contractors be certified in Illinois by the Department of Professional Regulation. This requirement ensures building codes are adhered to and the installation is done properly and safely. Use the free search tool at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to validate your contractor’s roofing license.
Getting a Permit for Solar Installation in Springfield
For information about applying for a permit for solar installation, contact the Municipal Center West at 300 S. Seventh Street, Room 201, call (217) 789-2255 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For links to City of Springfield permits, click this link. For solar panels and solar waters, you’ll need an electrical permit and possibly a roofing and/or mechanical permit. Your contractor generally takes care of applying for permits and scheduling required inspections.
Solar Preparation for Your Property in Springfield
Should an inspection of the roof result in its not being approved, the inspector will tell what roof replacement will be needed or simply repaired. He’ll also let you know if the roof is capable of handling the weight of the solar products. Should you not be able to have solar panels installed on the roof, the alternative is a ground-mounted system. Like the roof, there must be enough space for the required number of panels, the area must be devoid of any obstructions that block the sun, the panels must have access to the solar rays from morning until late afternoon. Roofs or ground areas that face south are the ideal location for solar arrays (panels).
It is also recommended that your “shore up” your property by plugging or sealing any holes, cracks and crevices, replacing worn out weather stripping, replacing old film coating on windows, or any other repair that will retain the interior temperature and not waste energy.
Solar Panels and Solar Water Heaters in Springfield
When discussing solar product types with your contractor or salesperson, you’ll learn about the different types of solar panel systems that include:
- Grid-Tie and Battery Backup
For solar water heaters, you’ll discuss which type best suits your property which includes:
- Active system
- Passive system
With solar products installed, you’ll realize a return on investment (ROI) through energy efficiency and lower utility bills. If you use the Grid-Tie system, you’ll also earn credit against your monthly bill via net-metering. With solar panels installed, the value of your property goes up immediately, making it a wise investment should you choose to sell your “green-friendly” property in the future.