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 City Buying Guide for Las Vegas, Nevada
Since Las Vegas, Nevada residents enjoy approximately 300 days of pure sunshine each year, why not use this free energy source to reduce monthly utility bills. With temperatures topping the 100-degree mark during the summer and dropping to an average low of 34-degrees in January, Las Vegas HVAC systems work overtime maintaining inside comfort levels, leading to hefty electric bills. Solar panel installation can cut your power bills down significantly or even earn you an energy credit from your utility company. Las Vegas residents considering a solar panel installation often do not know where to begin. The following buying guide will help point you in the right direction by covering the initial steps necessary to achieve solar power in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Getting Started With Solar in Nevada
The first order of business when purchasing a solar panel system is to obtain the services of a local, solar contractor. While you can certainly purchase solar panels from the internet and attempt to install them yourself, installation is complicated and often times the panels sold on the web are inferior to those supplied by a solar contractor or company. Since solar panels and their related components are expensive, it is recommended in this buying guide that you hire a professional for the project. This will ensure that you receive an efficient system, maximized energy production and a professional installation installed correctly and most importantly, safely.
Selecting a solar contractor requires receiving at least three written estimates from reputable companies. In addition, you should also ask for copies of their state license and insurance coverage to verify their legitimacy. You can verify contractor license status through the Nevada State Contractors Board or by clicking here. In addition, follow up with insurance verification by contacting the applicable insurance company and check with the BBB “Better Business Bureau” for customer complaints and/or recent legal actions.
Solar Permits in Las Vegas, Nevada
Solar panel installation requires a building permit in Las Vegas, Nevada. While you can apply for the permit yourself, this should fall under the responsibilities of your solar contractor. Homeowners and licensed contractors can apply for a building permit through the City of Las Vegas online permitting website by clicking here. In addition, you can apply for a building permit in person by visiting the Clark County Building Department, 4701 W. Russell Road, Las Vegas NV 89118-2231. Office hours are Monday thru Friday (excluding holidays) 7:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. For more information call (702) 455-3000.
Solar Power Options in Las Vegas
The two most common forms of solar power used in residential construction are solar panels for electricity production and solar or thermal water heating. Listed below is a brief introduction to these systems.
Solar photovoltaic “PV”
Photovoltaic systems—solar panels—are fabricated using semiconducting materials that produce direct current—DC—electricity when they are exposed to sunlight. The direct current travels to an inverter which is necessary to convert DC electricity to alternating current—AC—electricity to power your home or business. Your PV system can connect to the grid “grid-tie system” — or be independent “off grid system” of the power grid. Off-grid systems use storage batteries to supply power when conditions are not conducive — nighttime — for solar power production. Hybrid systems connect to the grid but also include storage batteries. In the event of a power outage, your home would receive power stored in the batteries.
Solar thermal water heaters use a series of tubes in a collector that concentrate sunlight to heat water directly or a non-freezing heat-transfer fluid. The heat-transfer fluid is non-toxic and resists freezing making it ideal for areas that are subjected to freezing temperatures during the winter months.
Reducing the Costs of Solar Power Installation in Las Vegas
Many programs around the United States and available to Las Vegas residents are designed to lower the costs of solar panel installation. Most notably is the federal government’s 30-percent tax credit. The credit, extended through 2019, is a dollar for dollar tax credit, not a deduction, which amounts to a huge savings on the cost of a solar panel system. Click here to view IRS form 5695, which covers residential energy credits.
You can also search for additional rebate and incentive programs in Las Vegas by visiting the DSIRE “Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency” website. Simply enter your zip code in the search box and view the results.
Most home improvements that add value to your property will also increase your property taxes. The state of Nevada has enacted a solar property tax abatement. This means that even though you can expect your property value to increase after a solar panel installation, your property taxes will not rise.
Return of Solar Investment Las Vegas
Financially speaking, solar power is a great investment with annual returns averaging 10 to 15-percent. However, while a high-efficiency solar panel system will offset the monthly costs of electricity immediately, it could take several years for the solar panels’ payback to even out.