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 Norfolk, Virginia
The solar buying guide found below is designed to introduce Norfolk, Virginia residents to solar energy, outline the steps necessary to get started and discuss purchase options as well as money saving rebates and incentive programs available in the area. In addition, it will highlight the benefits of a home energy audit, a prerequisite for many incentive programs.
Introduction to Solar Power in Norfolk
Many property owners are seeking cheaper and cleaner alternatives for electricity service in their homes and businesses. Solar power fits the bill as it produces cheaper, cleaner and sustainable electricity from the sun’s rays. Photovoltaic panels installed on rooftops and/or the ground when space limitations are not a concern, use energy from the sun to produce electricity.
Hiring a Norfolk Solar Contractor
To get started, you should first hire a licensed, insured and experienced solar contractor for your project. While it is possible to obtain and install the solar panel system yourself, due to the complicated nature of the project, most property owners would struggle greatly without a strong background and skill set in both electrical applications and construction techniques. A knowledgeable and experienced solar contractor can install your system correctly, efficiently and under the guidelines set forth by the Virginia State Building Code.
Obtaining a Solar Permit in Norfolk
Property owners wishing to obtain a solar permit themselves can visit the Norfolk Development Services Center, City Hall Building, 810 Union Street, 1st Floor, Norfolk, Virginia 23510. Alternatively, contact them by phone by dialing (757) 664-6565 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, you can view online applications, fees and forms by clicking here.
Solar Financing Options in Norfolk
Since the purchase and installation of a solar panel system can cost $16,000 and up, depending on the size of the home and its electricity needs, chances are you will need some financing to pay for the project. Listed below are some common options property owners use to pay for solar panel installation:
- Cash — the best option if you have it. Paying in cash eliminates interest charges and administration fees associated with financing allowing the solar panel system to pay for itself sooner, which saves you more money. In addition, owning the photovoltaic system outright adds considerable value to your home. However, if you own the system outright, you are responsible for maintenance, upkeep and any repair costs.
- Home Equity Loans — known as “HELOC’s” are a path many property owners take to pay for their solar panel system. A HELOC allows you to tap into the equity in your home and pay upfront for the solar panel system. A couple of drawbacks are the fees and interest charges required for the loan and using your house as collateral.
- Credit Cards — an option many choose when paying for home improvement projects. Although you can expect to pay more interest charges, many cards offer zero percent financing for larger projects. Check with your credit card company to verify rates.
- Leasing and Power Purchase Agreements — programs that allow you to rent or lease the equipment versus buying it outright. An advantage to this method is since you do not own the equipment; you are not responsible for upkeep, maintenance and repair costs. However, while you will receive reduced energy costs from the panel system, the leasing company will benefit from any rebates, incentives or credits from the utility company.
Solar Rebates and Incentive Programs in Norfolk
If you choose to buy your solar panel system, there are programs in the Virginia area that may help you save or recoup some of the upfront costs of solar installation. Dominion Virginia Power allows eligible customers to sell the power generated from their solar panels back to Dominion at a premium of .15 cents per kilowatt-hour through their Solar Purchase Program. Visit the Department of Energy’s website “Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency” to search for active rebate and incentive programs in your area. In addition, you will also find Virginia Solar Rebates and Incentives by visiting the Clean Energy Authority website.
Home Energy Audits in Norfolk, Virginia
Scheduling a home energy audit before installing a solar panel system in your home or business will help you maximize your home’s energy efficiency and get the most out of your solar panel system. In addition, many rebates and incentive programs might require an energy audit before qualify you for any saving programs. Many private companies offer free energy audits to garner your insulating and sealing needs. Utility companies such as Dominion Virginia Power offer free in-home energy audits and select energy-saving products such as pipe insulation, attic insulation, and energy efficient bulbs among many others.
As the costs and demands for electricity rise, it is important now more than ever before to find cheaper and cleaner methods to produce it. Meeting our future energy needs will rely heavily on renewable energies such as solar power. It would not be far fetched to predict that in the near future, most rooftops and/or large swaths of land would host an array of solar panels. Panels that produce cheap, clean electricity meeting the power demands of our country.