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Do Your Research on Residential Solar Power

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We are living in a time when our reliance upon electricity is growing at an unprecedented rate. The proliferation of computers, phones, personal trackers, electric vehicles, tools, appliances, entertainment systems, and toys of every capacity are becoming incorporated into every facet of our lives. Unfortunately, this new level of convenience and technological wonder brings with it an ever-increasing strain on our electrical grid and an increase in the cost of electricity.

It is a simple case of supply and demand. In the face of increasing demand, if supply remains constant, prices will rise. This is exactly why the cost of electricity from utility companies is soaring. Of course the solution to meeting these new levels of energy demand while keeping prices low, would be to increase the energy supply. But utility companies are simply not capable of doing this quickly. And why would they want to? The ability to charge more money for the same amount of power equals more profit for the utility, whereas the development of energy production facilities at utility scale is difficult and expensive.

So, your utility rates are on the rise. As long as you are at the mercy of your electric provider… you are powerless. But you don’t have to be powerless. You don’t have to be at the mercy of your utility company. You can take control of your electricity supply and guarantee yourself lower energy rates now and well into the future.

How can you do this? By installing a residential solar power system.

Most homeowners think of residential solar power systems as an investment. Investments cost money. That is why the number one reason homeowners haven’t already put solar panels on their roof is because they think they can’t afford it. But the fact is, this is one investment that can actually reduce your monthly budget immediately.

The real problem is that most homeowners simply don’t know where to start. That’s why we, at Baker Electric Home Energy, are offering this buyer’s guide to going solar.

The Buyer’s Guide to Going Solar

Solar energy has emerged as the intelligent choice to help people slash their electric bill, gain long-term energy independence, and make our planet a better place to live for everyone.

The Baker family of companies has been providing smart energy solutions for over 75 years. We want to help consumers, like you, make an informed decision on how to best manage your energy needs and we’re confident that the information provided here will assist you in your quest.

About the Federal Solar Tax Credit

One of the reasons many consumers choose to go solar now is because of a significant solar tax credit offered by the federal government. What’s commonly known as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is perhaps the most important federal initiative supporting the development of solar energy in the United States.

Originally part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Investment Tax Credit is a 30% federal tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. Essentially, this is a dollar-for‐dollar reduction of your income taxes when you purchase a solar power system (either through outright purchase or financing). So, for example, if you spend $30,000 on a solar system you could be able to claim a $9,000 credit on your federal income taxes.

The Investment Tax Credit has provided homeowners with a very strong motivation to install solar panels. However, this program will not last forever. Indeed, we may soon be living in a world where solar panels become a standard feature of every home. But when the Investment Tax Credit does expire, those who have not taken advantage of the savings this program offers will be stuck paying 100% of the bill.

This is one of those rare opportunities to make a decision that is good for you, good for the environment, and will save you a lot of money.

What Is the California Solar Initiative?

Along with the federal government, the state of California also has a history of incentivizing homeowners to install solar panels on their property. The California Solar Initiative (CSI) was a popular solar rebate program designed for Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers.

Part of the Go Solar California campaign—a joint effort of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission, it offered rebates for a variety of different solar systems and installations.

Unfortunately, the California Solar Initiative is now closed. You can no longer take advantage of the big savings that this program provided. We at Baker recommend that consumers hurry to take advantage of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) before it expires as well.

Solar Panels Increase Home Value

Installing a solar energy system on your home is a big decision. Fortunately, numerous studies have shown that, like any major home improvement, installing photovoltaic (or PV) solar panels increase home value significantly.

In fact, a 2015 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported that across eight states buyers are willing to pay more for homes with rooftop solar systems. Furthermore, the study found that solar panels add about $4 per watt, or roughly $15,000 to the value of a home based on an average-­sized 3.6-­kilowatt system. Another extensive study showed that every kilowatt increase in an installed solar system adds an estimated $5,911 to  a home’s value.

Numbers like these demonstrate that going solar offers an attractive return on investment.

The State of Solar Panel Technology: The Time Is Right

Solar panel technology has come a long way since its beginnings during the energy crisis of the 1970s. While there are three major types of solar arrays in wide use today, most modern solar cells for residential use are made from either crystalline silicon or thin‐film semiconductor material. Advancements in technology and production methods have made solar panels today more affordable than ever. In fact, the average price of a finished solar system has dropped 33% since the beginning of 2011. However, it is widely believed that solar panel prices have stabilized and will not change significantly in the foreseeable future. Ultimately, this has created an environment where the time is right to go solar.

Just as falling prices have made solar panels very affordable today for the average household, design improvements have enhanced the efficiency and appearance of these panels as well. Still, there are significant differences between high-end and low-end solar panels. These differences include efficiency, durability, aesthetics and price.

For this reason, Baker Electric Home Energy carries SunPower® solar panels. SunPower solar panels are regarded as the highest quality solar panels on the market today. Highly coveted for their superior performance, reliability and aesthetics, SunPower solar panels are truly in a class by themselves. At Baker Electric Home Energy, we have earned the designation of SunPower® Elite Dealer.

In addition to SunPower, at Baker Electric Home Energy we also work with LG and Q-cells solar panels to offer our customers a variety of options capable of suiting any needs.

Environmental Benefits of Solar Panels

Like any renewable energy solution, a residential solar system goes a long way toward helping the environment, allowing you to produce electricity cleanly, without noise or air pollution.

How cleanly? Over 25 years, a 5kW solar system will reduce your carbon footprint significantly by producing clean energy equivalent to offsetting almost 300,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas; 840 pounds of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain; and 57 pounds of particulates that cause asthma.

Without a doubt, the benefits of solar panels prove that going solar is just as good for the planet as it is your pocketbook.

A Word About Net Energy Metering

Depending on the time of day and your energy usage, a solar system may produce more electricity than is needed for your home. Excess energy automatically flows back onto your utility’s electrical grid, running your meter backwards.

This Net Energy Metering, or NEM, provides credit to customers for the full retail value of the electricity their solar system generates. With NEM, you pay only for the net amount of electricity you use over the course of a year beyond that generated by your solar system (in addition to monthly transmission, distribution, and meter service charges).

As you consider switching to solar energy, you should know that California’s Governor Brown has signed AB 327, a law requiring state regulators to set new NEM rules by July 2017. Experts believe these new rules are likely to reduce the amount per kilowatt hour consumers receive when they “sell” electricity back to their utility.

For this reason, we at Baker Electric Home Energy recommend consumers consider expediting their decision to go solar in order to take advantage of the preferable kWh rates utilities are currently offering.
Baker Electric Home Energy: Your Trusted Solar Resource

Installing a residential solar system is an important decision with an opportunity for a huge return on investment for homeowners, especially considering incentives like the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). There are a number of things that you should take into consideration when evaluating whether a residential solar panel system is right for your home. The energy consultants at Baker Electric Home Energy can help you consider all the important factors and arrive at a conclusion that will make your decision an easy one.

Solar isn’t right for everyone and the numbers don’t lie. If you are interested in seeing how residential solar panels would impact your budget, your taxes, and the value of your home, contact Baker Solar Electric at (760) 546-­6091. Or visit our Contact Us page.

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