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 Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville residents are increasingly choosing solar power as a means to combat soaring energy prices and mounting concerns regarding their monthly electric bills. Solar power provides a clean alternative to traditional, dirty electric produced by the big utility companies. In addition, installing a solar array on your roof will insulate you from rising prices through cheaper electricity as well as energy credits you earn from the power company for the excess electricity produced from your solar panels. Although, currently Tennessee law does not require utility companies to offer net metering . The following buying guide will highlight the initial starting points, provide a basic explanation of solar panel systems, as well as provide a few financing and cost cutting tips.
Solar Panel Basics for Nashville Residents
Solar panels or solar arrays use the “photovoltaic effect” to convert sunlight into DC “direct current” electricity. The solar arrays are most often mounted on rooftops but can be ground based when space limitations are not a concern. An inverter is required to convert the solar power to AC “Alternating Current” before it reaches your home’s electrical circuits. Excess energy you do not use can be fed back into the main power grid, for which you may receive energy credits or used to charge a battery bank for stored power you can use at night. Optimum installations require the panels are mounted at 45 degree angles, facing south and uninhibited by trees or shading.
Benefits of Solar Power in Nashville
Installing solar panels on your home or business provides many benefits both in economic terms and for the environment. Listed below are some of the main advantages you can expect from solar power.
- You can reduce or eliminate your dependence on the big utility companies by producing your own electricity.
- Solar panels are a sound investment providing a solid return without the risks associated with traditional investments. Most solar panel owners can expect an average ROI “Return of Investment” of 20% or more.
- Property values increase after a quality solar panel installation.
- A home equipped with a solar panel system provides a great marketing tool should you decide to sell your home in the future.
- Clean solar energy reduces carbon emissions significantly. Replacing dirty electricity with clean solar electricity can reduce carbon emissions by 3 – 4 tons each year per household.
- Solar power helps to lower our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. This stimulates the economy and creates employment opportunities.
Hiring a Solar Contractor in Nashville
The most crucial part of a solar panel installation is the person you hire to install it. Your contractor is responsible for sizing, designing, installing, and overseeing the interconnection phase — grid connection — of the project. Before entering into an agreement, it is recommended you receive at least two written estimates from reputable solar contractors or companies. You should also verify the status of their contractor license, insurance coverage, and follow up with references. A quick phone call to the applicable insurance company can verify their insurance coverage. In addition, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance maintains a license search and verification website you can access by clicking here.
Obtaining Solar Permits in Nashville
Installing solar panels in Nashville, Tennessee will require a permit. Property owners can apply for the permit on their own but often the responsibility falls on the solar contractor. To obtain additional information regarding solar permitting in Nashville, contact the Department of Codes and Building Safety, 800 Second Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37210 (615) 862-6500. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. A web-based system allows contractors to apply, pay permit fees, and schedule inspections electronically.
Heating Water with Solar in Nashville
Anther form of solar power provides domestic hot water for your home. Direct circulation solar water heaters use thermal energy from the sun to heat and maintain water temperatures. Collectors absorb the sun’s thermal energy to heat water directly as it passes through the collector. Indirect circulation systems circulate a non-freezing transfer fluid, similar to a car’s antifreeze, through the collectors and a heat exchanger. Indirect solar water heaters are often used in areas of the country subjected to freezing temperatures.
Solar Rebate and Incentive Programs in Nashville
You may be able to reduce the cost of solar panel installation in Nashville by taking advantage of available programs. Start by visiting the CleanEnergyAuthority.com to search for available rebates and incentive programs in your area. In addition, The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency website provides a searchable database of renewable policies, incentives and rebates by state. You may also qualify for the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit offered by the federal government. This program allows taxpayers to claim 30 percent of the cost of the system and related equipment as a tax credit through the end of 2016.
While purchasing a solar panel system for your home or business is a significant investment, the programs listed above can help to defray the cost. However some of these programs, such as the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2016, are time sensitive. To maximize your savings and take advantage of the many benefits provided by solar power act today.