In the consumer world “free” isn’t a word often heard. But with today’s technology, modern solar panels offer customers free electricity.
“A few years ago solar energy was not an affordable option,” said Dave Boalt, sales manager for Solar Hut in Placerville. “It was just way too expensive. As technology is changing, however, going solar is becoming much more affordable. The cost for solar panels has come way down, and it’s worth the return on investment. When it’s all said and done, owning your own solar panels is like owning your own power plant.”
Adding solar adds equity; when it’s time to sell the added value of a solar panel powered system generally surpasses the initial installation costs, Boalt added.
In addition to being good for the pocket-book, solar panels are good for the environment; they produce no pollution.
“One million homes using solar electricity would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4.3 million tons per year,” states the Air Sun website. “That’s the equivalent of removing 850,000 cars from the road. And by using more solar electricity, fewer power plants that produce greenhouse gases would need to be built.”
“There’s a big misconception out there that going solar is strictly something for liberal environmentalists,” said Boalt. “The green aspect is wonderful, but the people who benefit most are those who have big expensive houses with big electric bills.”
Installing solar is relatively simple. When Boalt and his team come out to customers’ homes for an on-site evaluation, they look for two things: how much electricity customers are currently using and how many panels they can fit on a roof or ground mount site. Most solar owners will use solar to cover the more expensive portions of their electric bill. By looking at a 12-month history of power usage, the Solar Hut team designs a system that makes the most sense for each customer.
“Installation usually only takes a couple of days,” said Boalt. “Our crew is just one or two guys and all we have to do is install the racking on the roof or ground mount, install the panels and then run wiring either through the attic or underground to the inverter. The inverter converts the DC energy created by the panels into AC energy that can be used by the house.”
As technology improves and costs fall lower, Boalt predicts solar energy will gain even more popularity.
“I really think people will start using even solar-powered electric cars more and more as time goes one,” he said. “If someone’s bill is $200 per month or more, they should look into solar. People with bigger bills are throwing their money away if they don’t. You shouldn’t allow the power companies to keep burning up your money.”
The time is now
“From now until 2016, homeowners with solar panels can get a 30 percent federal tax credit,” Boalt said. “That’s why it’s worth it to do it now before tax season as opposed to waiting a year.”
The Energy Policy Act of 2005, extended through Dec. 31, 2016, offers a federal tax credit for property owners who install solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems, fuel cells, small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps. A taxpayer may claim the credit on qualified expenditures for a system that serves the taxpayer’s residence in the United States.
Upcoming fire safety regulation changes in El Dorado County will also affect those wanting to go solar. New rules will limit the number of solar panels that can be placed on a roof.
Want to know more?
Stop by Solar Hut at 1374 Broadway in Placerville. For more information call 530-651-5111 or visit solarhut.org.