Thanks to technological improvements, tax incentives and companies like Green Street Solar, the future of solar energy is brighter than ever
There was a time, not so long ago, when solar-powering a home was so cost-prohibitive that it might as well have been some fantasy tale in a science-fiction book. But that’s not true anymore, says Russell Pfaller of Green Street Solar in Selbyville. According to him, going solar has never been so affordable.
“Between federal and state credits and grants, and incentives from companies like ours, installing a solar-energy system in one’s home is actually well within reach of most families here on the Shore,” said Pfaller, who, as installation manager, has been installing the systems in homes all across the region since the company’s inception in 2008. “The technology has improved consistently, making it more efficient than ever, and costs have come down as a result.”
These days, Pfaller says he gets inquiries from those with homes of all shapes and sizes — from 13,000 sq. ft. mansions to modest 1,000 sq. ft. starter homes. It’s not that surprising when one considers that the federal government offers a 30% tax credit to those who install solar-energy systems, and both Maryland and Delaware offer financial incentives on top of that.
“A typical solar-energy system for a Maryland home may run about $20,000 total,” shared Pfaller, who’s been on-site to supervise every one of his company’s hundreds of installations. “When you subtract $6,000 in federal tax credits and the $1,000 Maryland state grant, then factor in about $1,100 in renewable-energy credits and about another $1,200 in annual electricity savings, that means the system will have paid for itself in five-and-a-half to six years. After that, it’s just found money, especially as the annual cost of conventional energy systems continues to rise over the same period.”
According to Pfaller, the news for Delaware residents is even more encouraging. Based on an average installation cost of $18,500, deducting all applicable federal and state tax credits and grants leaves that homeowner with only $5,400 in out-of pocket expenses. At an average of $1,200 in energy savings per year, their solar-energy system has paid for itself in just four-and-a-half to five years. A lot of that savings is because of recent technological improvements to solar panels, which now sees them routinely providing as much as 70% of a home’s energy needs, compared with 30%-50% just five years ago.
“These incentives aren’t just for homeowners, though,” Pfaller advised. “Businesses are not only entitled to the same federal and state incentives as residences but may also be eligible for additional tax relief called accelerated/bonus depreciation, which can save a business as much as $10,000 in taxes a year, even for a small solar system.”
Pfaller added that while the future of solar energy seems brighter than ever, people contemplating such systems are well-advised to act quickly.
“Congress is very unpredictable, especially now, when partisanship is at an all-time high,” he said. “These huge credits, grants and tax breaks are not likely to increase but are quite likely to be reduced or even repealed with the next administration. The federal tax credit, for example, expires in 2016.”
For those who enjoy good credit but aren’t necessarily deep in liquid assets, Green Street Solar offers one-year financing to defer out-of-pocket costs until the homeowner has received their subsidies from federal and state agencies. They also have lease options available for qualified applicants. Their systems have a 10-year warranty on the installation and major components, while solar panels come with a 25-year warranty. Installation usually takes no more than two or three days.
Editor’s note: Green Street Solar is a subsidiary of Alutech United, Inc.
GREEN STREET SOLAR
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