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.
Installing Solar Panels in Newark, NJ
The price of electricity is high in New Jersey—the 10th highest in the country. Newark residents pay an average of 16 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), 20 percent higher than energy consumers in the rest of the country. You can only expect those prices to rise as the supply of fossil fuels declines and more restrictions are placed on carbon emissions in order to curb global warming, making fossil fuel based energy more expensive to produce. With 206 sunny days annually in Newark and plenty of federal and state incentives available, now is a great time to invest in cleaner, more budget-friendly solar energy.
Will My Solar System Stand Up to Newark’s Weather?
Yes. Newark experiences 112 partly cloudy days a year, but research has shown that even during cloudy days, you’ll only experience a 5-10 percent reduction in your system’s capacity. In the case of rain, Newark experiences slightly more than the national average, 43 inches compared to 37 inches, but the sun’s UV rays can still get through to your panels even during the rain. Also, because your panels are typically installed at a slant, rainwater will provide your panels with a good cleaning to help them more effectively absorb the sun’s rays.
Newark average 27 inches of snow, which shouldn’t be a problem for your solar panels either. Your panels can still work under light snowfall and the bright white snow on your roof and around your building will actually help your system work at peak capacity because the sun rays will be reflected more intensely. If snowfall gets too heavy and completely covers your panels, your system will stop working. In that case, you’ll need to take a roof rake to clear off the panels to get them working again. Just be careful working on your roof during the slick winter weather–you may want to consider hiring a professional. With more than 528 solar companies currently operating in New Jersey, you’ll have no problem finding quality professional assistance.
Is New Jersey Supportive of Solar Power?
Yes. New Jersey has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires 24.39 percent of its energy come from renewable resources by 2028–4.1 percent of that energy has to come from solar power. This “solar carve out” (which is the second best in the country) means that for every 100 kilowatts of electricity generated in the state, 4 have to come from solar power by 2028. The RPS encourages legislators and utilities to make switching to solar simple and cost-effective for homeowners. New Jersey currently has 1,632 MW of installed solar capacity—enough energy to power 257,000 homes.
What Types of Financial Incentives Exist to Adopt Solar in Newark?
All U.S. taxpayers who install a solar power system are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit. The credit must be applied toward any tax liability that you have for the tax year in which the system is installed. If the credit exceeds your amount of tax liability, you can carry that credit over to the next year. This credit is available through December 31, 2019. After 2019, the incentive decreases incrementally each year. For New Jersey residents, the following incentives are also available:
Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC): One SREC represents one megawatt of electricity generated from solar, and in New Jersey, you get about six per year. New Jersey requires its utility companies to produce certain amounts of electricity from solar, and buying SRECs from solar generators helps them meet those goals. On average, a homeowner makes about $170 from the sale of an SREC, so those 6 SRECs you get equal about $1,000 in your pocket, every year until 2030.
New Jersey Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems: New Jersey property owners can get a property tax exemption for 100 percent of the value of their renewable energy systems. Eligible solar renewable energy systems include solar photovoltaics (solar panels) and solar thermal energy (e.g., solar hot water). The value of the exemption is set by the local property tax assessor and then subtracted from the assessed value of the property where it’s installed, reducing the amount of property tax owed.
Net Metering: With 206 sunny days a year, there will be plenty of times when your solar power system will generate more energy than you need in a given month. In that case, state’s investor-owned utilities and energy suppliers (and certain competitive municipal utilities and electric cooperatives) are required to offer net metering–a method to “bank” that energy for when your system isn’t operating at peak capacity (i.e. consecutively cloudy weather or periods of heavy snow). There is no firm aggregate limit on net metering, although the Board of Public Utilities is permitted to allow utilities to cease offering net metering if statewide enrolled capacity exceeds 2.5% of peak electric demand. Homeowners receive month-to-month credit for net energy generation (NEG) at the full retail rate and are compensated for remaining NEG at the avoided-cost of wholesale power at the end of an annualized period.
New Jersey Sales Tax Exemption: Unlike many other home improvements like a new kitchen or bathroom, when you invest in a solar power system for your home in New Jersey, you will not have to pay any sales taxes on your system. That represents a 7 percent savings right upfront, even before you factor in any federal or state incentives.