3 BIG incentives to go solar in 2021…

Many people have long been reaping the benefits of solar power’s clean, affordable energy. It’s very common to hear the response “I wish I did this sooner” a few months after the system is up and producing power as most people realize government incentives decreasing along with global market constraints time is running out on maximizing your potential savings. 

In 2020, the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for going solar was reduced from 30% to 26% as scheduled (scheduled 4% decrease year after year). In just one year, consumers lost 4% in potential savings by not taking action. Now these homeowners are exposed to the power companies NEW unfair rate increases. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/dominions-nearly-50-monthly-power-bill-hike-in-virginia-is-a-warning-for/577666/


With that, here are 3 BIG incentives to go solar in 2021:
1. 26% Federal Solar ITC extended for two more years! With the approval of the covid relief bill came the extension of the 26% tax credit in lieu of the scheduled 22% for 2021. For a few homeowners it may make sense to wait due to other financial circumstances or projects but the reality is, the benefits of going solar can be explained as simply as “locking in your current power rate and shielding yourself from future rate increases.” 


2. Along with the extension of the 26% Federal Solar ITC, the covid relief bill also included the approval process to establish the SREC’s program in Virginia. More information will be available on this program in April but for right now we understand homeowners with solar will be paid 1 SREC per kW produced fromtheir system yearly from the government. This means, if* 1 SREC = $50, a homeowner with a 10kW solar system would get paid $500 a year from the government for supporting clean energy.  


3. On top of federal incentives for going solar, and securing rate increases protection,  homeowners can now take advantage of industry low 0.99% APR Financing with $0 down! We at Sunlight Solar Virginia have joined forces with Sunlight Financial to offer this amazing program for our customers. Give us a call 804-452-7699 to help you get started! 

We’re always happy to help, 

– Your Sunlight Solar Team

Battery Backup or Generator?

There is a common misconception in the solar power world and that is: “I’ll still have power when the grid goes down.” The reality is, unless you have a backup generator or battery on standby, you will lose power in the event of an outage from severe weather. This of course is a deal breaker for some as having constant dependable power is a worthy goal, it just isn’t financially feasible. In fact, a majority of our customers are interested in going solar for one main reason and that is to gain control of their power rate. By going solar, you can reduce your need to purchase power from the grid, effectively reducing your energy costs overall.

If having power during severe weather or outages is important to you, you may want to explore which backup power options will be right for your family. Your main choices relating to solar power  are Battery or Generator solutions. Lucky for you, the team here at Sunlight Solar is well versed in both of these areas and can outfit either solution to fit your needs. From Tesla Powerwalls to Generac Generators as well as batteries we’ve got you covered.

Let’s take a brief look at both solutions overall.

Pricing

When it comes to either solution the overall price will be dependent on your homes size and usage. Generally speaking prices for a Generator range from $2500-$5500 upfront before the cost of fuel is added for usage. This is an important point to remember as some diesel generators can burn as much as $60 of fuel per day and may also require a concrete pad for support. Batteries on the other hand start around $7000 and generally require multiple batteries to provide whole home power. Also keep in mind, in most cases you will also need to install a Solar PV system.

Size/Load Requirements

The most important aspect of this project is calculating how much storage you will need and this is dependent on what you need running when the power goes out. Most batteries can handle “critical loads” like power outlets, lights, and small appliances but not all batteries are capable of discharging enough electricity for more energy intensive equipment like well pumps or AC units.

Conventional generators wont have any problems with loads as long as the system in sized properly by your installer and will be able to keep your home or business running smoothly as long as you have enough fuel on site. Of course, this is where the benefit of solar would come in, with a properly sized backup battery, you can continuously generate and store your own power on site from the sun!

Operation and Maintenance  

One thing to consider when comparing batteries to generators is the fact that, on top of generators being noisy when they’re running, they also emit exhaust fumes. This can make for some unfriendly conditions in crowded neighborhoods. Gas generators also have higher maintenance, requiring monthly start up tests on top of the cost of fuel. Both will have comparable warranties provided you go with a reputable brand.

Overall, diesel, propane and natural gas powered generators are relatively simple to size and install at a much lower cost than battery backup systems. However there are other benefits to battery backup power when paired with solar. Over time, especially with rising energy rates, you can see a savings in energy bills while enjoying peace of mind, having clean, quiet, backup energy on hand. In some cases where applicable, its actually cheaper to pull power from your backup batteries during peak demand hours, rather than pay a higher price for power from the utility company. Every home is unique, requiring a custom tailored solution. It’s best to have a team of professionals evaluate your home and lifestyle needs to ensure your families specific goals are met. Your team here at Sunlight Solar can do just that, give us a call 804-452-7699

Do you really need an energy efficiency package?

Energy efficiency packages or “EEP’s” are a great way for you to reduce your homes energy consumption. Often times you will hear your solar provider mention or insist on installing some or all components of an EEP. It is important to understand what makes up an EEP and whether or not you need one installed along with your solar PV system. Unfortunately, not every solar company will take the time to properly evaluate your home to ensure an EEP is beneficial. This is why it is important for the homeowner to understand their homes potential energy loss and areas for improvement. For a general rule of thumb, most homes built after 2010 should not need a full energy efficiency package as the insulation is of higher R value than older homes and less heat or cool air is loss with tighter construction. Add to that energy star rated appliances and LED lighting, most newer homes could see a decrease in usage of about 15% max. Lifestyle changes within the home would have to occur to achieve anything higher than 15%, like having children move off to college.

For homes 10 years older or more, energy efficiency packages can have a huge impact on overall consumption. One of the biggest “power bandits” in any home is the A/C unit. Heating and cooling make up for about 50% of a homes total energy bill. For a home that is not sealed tightly, the A/C unit will continually run. Not only does this lead to higher power bills, it also leads to these A/C units having shorter life spans. Other than the environment the unit is trying to control, the unit itself can be inefficient as well. Now it is recommended to go with at-least a 13 seer unit or in some areas 14 seer which can reduce usage by as much as 30%.

Inside the home, steps should be taken to seal up any penetrations or cracks around doors, windows, attic entrances, eves etc. At the attic door in the ceiling, you may notice in the summer the door is much hotter than the surrounding ceiling. This is because heat is trapped inside the attic and radiating back down into the home. The attic door will be the biggest culprit and with a thermal camera a professional can show you exactly where the air is coming from and going. Without proper ventilation and a heat barrier, the whole attic can act as an oven on top of the home, keeping the A/C unit running constantly and that power bill going up!

Now this article isn’t meant to deter you from Energy Efficiency Packages by telling you to go out and upgrade your whole homes appliances and A/C unit. This article is meant to provide insight into what an “EEP” is and educate homeowners on ways they can take steps to reduce electrical usage themselves while potentially avoiding paying for unnecessary components that may have little to no effect.

When an “EEP’ is included in your Solar PV solution, it is imperative to have correct information regarding the property and its detailed usage. In cases where an energy audit was not properly performed a Solar PV system’s offset can be severely impacted since the system size will be based off incorrect reduction from the EEP. Instead of building a system to 90% offset, some may suggest a smaller system size 60% with an EEP to reduce consumption by 30%, still resulting in a total offset of 90%*. This of course will reduce the overall cost of the solar solution because you aren’t paying for the 30% bigger system, you are only paying for the energy efficiency package but if the EEP does not effectively reduce usage then your offset will be wrong and your power bill will be higher than proposed.

Overall, EEP’s are essential when applied appropriately but not everyone needs it. Consider having a professional energy audit performed along with your Solar PV consultation, we work with one of the best in the area and are always happy to help set up a non-biased professional site visit. Reach out to our office 804-452-7699