Any reputable solar installer in Virginia will put homeowners’ interests first before trying to make a sale. And that means giving someone who’s interested in getting solar panels the best advice about whether solar will work for their situation.
There are many great reasons to go solar at home around the Old Dominion, especially this year. But sometimes we have to tell a homeowner who has their mind set on solar that it just doesn’t make sense for them right now.
So, let’s start with the pros, with our take on the top five reasons to go solar in Virginia in 2018:
- Save Money on Electricity. For the average homeowner in Virginia, energy is their biggest home expense after their mortgage payment. You can drastically cut or even eliminate your electric bill by installing solar panels on your roof or in your backyard. Even if you don’t cover all your electricity use with solar panels, you can still save hundreds of dollars a month in electricity if you’re a heavy user. And since the main government incentive for solar, the 30% federal tax credit, will start to decline after next year, now is a good time to go solar and lock in this important benefit at its full value.
- Build Your Household Independence. For people who cherish the American tradition of self-reliance, getting solar panels at home is a way to take more control over your life. If you have solar at home, you’ll discover that there are few things more satisfying than watching your electric meter run backwards when you have solar panels that are creating your own power directly from the sun. Tired of being under the control of your local monopoly utility? Then getting solar panels at home is a great way to declare your independence.
- Earn A Strong Return on Your Investment. If you have money in the stock market, bonds or other common investments, you might just find that moving that money into solar panels will get you a higher rate of return. Savings on electricity help the average Virginia homeowner to pay off a home solar system in under ten years and see a return on investment of 20 percent or more according to EnergySage, an ROI that outpaces the stock market.
- Show Leadership in Going Green. Once you’ve started recycling, made your home energy efficient and gotten a high-mileage car, going solar at home is one of the best ways to help the environment. And unlike recycling or blowing insulation into your attic, solar panels can be a tangible sign that you’re serious about going green. That can make a difference for your neighbors. Once the first home in a neighborhood goes solar, other homes are much quicker to follow their example, research shows.
- Increase Your Home’s Resale Value. As demand for solar power continues to grow in Virginia, more buyers are willing to pay a premium for a house that already has solar panels installed. And since a home solar system will continue to produce energy at a high level for 25 years or more, solar panels are a long-lasting home improvement that home appraisers are starting to value at a premium.
Then, let’s talk about a few cons to consider. It may not make sense to go solar now if one of the points below applies to your situation:
- You Don’t Spend Much on Electricity. If you spend less than $50 a month on electricity, it will take longer for your investment in solar to pay back. However, if your primary motivation is to go green or get energy independence, then meeting those goals with solar panels might be worthwhile even if you run a low-energy household.
- You’re Planning to Sell Your Home Soon. Of course solar can increase your home’s resale value, but if you’re planning to put your home on the market within the next 12 months, then you just won’t have much time to enjoy solar panels. If you’re planning to move soon, you can certainly make it a priority to get solar as soon as possible on your new home. Or you can try to buy a home that already has solar. Just don’t be surprised if you have to pay a bit more.
- You Don’t Have the Money to Cover the Upfront Cost. The initial outlay can be $15,000 or higher for the average Virginia home to go solar. If you don’t have the cash available, you may want to consider financing that can help you get solar at home with little or no money down. Many solar installers offer financing at attractive rates. You may be able to do even better with a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
We like to be straightforward with homeowners about whether solar will meet their goals or not. That’s because it’s more important to us to have a satisfied customer than just to make another sale.
We can give you a quick idea of whether solar might be right for you and how much you could save if you ask us for a free quote. And if it looks promising, we’ll come by your place to get a better sense of your solar potential.
— Andrew Brenner, Main Street Solar