a guide

Our simple 4-Step Guide to Going Solar

There are many reasons to install solar panels in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. After all, the benefits are clear and it's never been easier or smarter. 

Here is our simple 4-Step Guide to Going Solar - plus some helpful resources.

 

Step Numbers (1) Learn about solar incentives in Virginia and the DC Metro Area

Step Numbers (2) Contact a local solar installer near you

Step Numbers (3) Choose a way to pay for your solar system (cash, loan etc)

Step Numbers (4)  Get it done

Resources

 

 

Step Numbers (1) Learn about solar incentives in your state

Solar-panels-in-the-snow-1Researching the solar incentives in Virginia - or any of the states we serve - isn't time-consuming. There are five points you need to know:

  1. Federal Incentives:
    • There is a Federal Tax Credit of 30%: This means you can deduct 30% of the solar cost of your solar project from your tax liability. This is a federal incentive and applicable to every solar system small or large in the entire country. The tax credit will disappear for residential customers in 2020. Read more on the IRS website about the 30% tax credit.  Owners of new solar energy systems could not claim a tax credit unless their system was operational. Now, the legislation allows you to claim it as soon as the construction of the system is complete, as long as it is operational by December 31, 2023. Overview of the Federal Tax Credit changes over time:
      1. 2018 – 2019: The tax credit remains at 30 percent of the cost of the system. This means that in 2019, you can still get a major discounted price for your solar panel system.
      2. 2020: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
      3. 2021: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
      4. 2022 and after: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.
    • U.S. Agency Incentives: There are Grants and other opportunities for very specific situations. Reach out to your solar installer for more detailed information to see if you qualify and how to apply for the grants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has Grants for example.
  2. State Incentives: While there are no SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) or state tax credits in Virginia, utility incentives are very advantageous! Read on.
  3. County Incentives: Every county is different, and some have property tax exemptions or other solar policies. Fairfax County has several incentives for example that are different from Arlington County.Reach out to your local solar installer for more information. 
  4. City Incentives: Some Cities have their own incentives unrelated to County incentives.
  5. Utility Incentives: Depending on which utility you will interconnect your solar panels with, you will get access to different incentives and solar programs. Dominion Energy has different solar incentives and programs than NOVEC and Rappahannock, which are member-owned electric cooperatives. Some utility companies are very formal in their approach to solar, others are more difficult to navigate and less formal. 

Step Numbers (2) Contact a local solar installer near you

 

  1. hillwood falls church solar home ipsun power (2)Choose a company licensed and insured for solar photovoltaic system installations.
  2. Read reviews of the solar installers you’re considering. A solar installer has to be good if many reviews all point towards the same dedication to quality work with attention to detail and a fair price. Read reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook and other similar websites and platforms.
  3. Ask questions. Every solar installer does things slightly differently. Voice all your questions! It's fine to say to your solar representative: “What else should I ask you” when you don’t know what to ask. A good company will explain their warranty policy, standard equipment used (solar panels, inverters, racking, monitoring, etc) and whether their installation and engineering teams are in-house.
  4. Financial Benefits. Most people go solar at least in part for financial reasons. Make sure to have a clear view of your financial benefits of having solar installed - reputable installers will provide a detailed proposal, modeling your solar savings after examining your utility bills and speaking with you at some length. 
  5. Get a detailed price and contract. Watch out for installers that present you with a loose, vague contract with a price that is not set in stone. You're better off with a starting, fixed price for a solar installation with change orders in case the project changes.
  6. Compare apples to apples: Make sure you compare solar installers and solar panels for the same type of solar projects.
  7. Maintenance: Ask your installer about their warranty and Maintenance plan.

Step Numbers (3) Choose a way to pay for your solar system (cash, loan, line of credit)

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There are many ways to pay for your solar panels.The simplest is to write a check to your solar installer. Another option is to ask your solar installer for an introduction to one of their loan providers. Usually, a solar installer has partnerships with several loan providers specializing in solar and roof work.

A bank loan is another option. The cheapest way for you to go solar with a financial institution is through a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) as the fees will always be the lowest.

Step Numbers (4)  Get it done

Why delay your solar project? You pay for power from your utility company every minute you don’t act. Homeowners are kicking off new solar projects every day that will add to home value and provide lasting benefits.

Now that the price of a solar system has come down, it’s finally a real financial option to switch from a centralized utility company that you pay every month. Partner with Ipsun Solar to generate your power yourself with solar panels on your own home.

Request a solar energy consultation