If you’ve seen a neighbor with solar, you’ve probably asked “Are solar panels worth it?” And it’s a valid question.
Adding a solar energy system has mystique and uncertainty tied to it. Is it expensive? Does it work on cloudy days?
In all reality using solar to power your home is cheaper and easier than ever. The cost of solar panels has come down, there are technological improvements, and tax rebates that have caused a huge uptick in Maryland homeowners adding solar to their homes.
Not to mention the rise of electric vehicles and home charging stations can use solar electricity to help keep the car on the road. Solar has provided homeowners with a versatile, eco-friendly tool that can impact lives in a multitude of ways.
In this blog post, the team at Shanco will review if going solar is worth it in Maryland.
Facts About Maryland Solar Panels
One common misconception about solar panels is that they require non-stop sun to be worth considering. That is entirely false. Granted, homes in Arizona, Florida, and other southern states do have a natural advantage for energy production. States like Maryland do receive ample sunlight to generate electricity.
The state of Maryland receives 202 days (about 6 and a half months) of sun per year. The national average is 205. From March through October, Maryland residents average at least 6.8 hours of unobstructed sunlight per day with June spiking at nearly 10 hours on average of unobstructed sunlight.
Yes, off peak season will likely require payments to the electric company due to lessened production. However, it is important to realize that late fall and winter months will require heating and depends on if you use electric heat pump, natural gas, or propane to heat your home. If using natural gas or propane, your wintertime electric expenditures will see a dip in conjunction with lessened production.
One major change that has happened in the solar industry is the Solar Tax Credit. This is a refund that homeowners receive after installing solar panels on their home. The tax credit is geared to help homeowners with the installation costs of new solar panels. Talk to a tax professional about the tax credit and what you need to know.
Guide to Net Metering in Maryland
Net metering occurs when your solar panels produce excess energy that you do not use. The excess is sent back to the power grid and the homeowner receives credit from the electric company to use it at a later date. Homeowners will receive their credits when they use more electricity than what is generated.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Solar Battery System in Maryland
Do you need a solar battery system to run your solar panels? Absolutely not. However, there is merit to discussing the use of a battery system.
First, if you do not have a battery system and the power goes out, solar panels WILL NOT keep the electricity on. That’s where a battery system can be useful. The battery system will store extra electricity (in lieu of net metering). With the amount of electricity stored, you may be able to power your home during cloudy days or low production time of year.
One important question that’s extremely relevant for Maryland homeowners is how do you heat your home? If you have natural gas or propane, wintertime marks higher gas bills and lower electric bills.
However, if you heat with an electric heat pump, you may see higher electric bills in the winter, which coincides with lower solar production. It may be worth using stored electricity to save a little on winter heating costs.
A heat pump system may require additional solar panels due to energy usage, but a reputable solar company will keep wintertime consumption in mind when creating the perfect solar system for your home.
While there are many pros for a battery storage system, there are a few cons associated with the storage systems.
First, they take up space that you may not have. If you have a larger solar system, you may want a large battery storage system that isn’t cost effective to own.
Second, they’re expensive. Technology is always changing so there may be better options in the near future.
Third, they have a limited lifespan. Some of the battery systems lose storage capacity after a short amount of time making replacement an eventuality.
How Much Direct Sunlight Should My Solar Panels Receive?
In short, the more direct sun your solar panels receive, the more solar electricity you will generate. It’s preferred that your solar panels receive 4-5 hours of direct sunlight a day especially during the hours of 10 am to 3 pm. There are days where this is not achievable, but there are days where solar can be in direct sunlight all day (depending on the positioning). It all evens out by the end of the month.
Will Installing Solar Panels Add Value to My Maryland Home?
Like any home projects, homeowners should be aware if their expenditures will result in an increase in home value. There are plenty of projects that provide a negligible return on investment but adding solar panels is not one of them.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that for every $1 saved using solar energy adds $20 in home value. If you saved $600 using solar energy in a given year, your home value will increase by $12,000.
Furthermore, homes with solar panels are in demand on the realtor market. Selling a home with solar, according to Zillow adds 4% to the sales price compared to homes without.
Finally, homes with solar panels sell 20% faster than homes without, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
In a nutshell, modern homebuyers are looking for eco-friendly and energy-efficient homes. Adding solar doesn’t only benefit the environment, but it adds value to your home while generating green energy.
Solar Panel Options in Maryland
Solar panels have undergone technological updates in the past years. No longer are rack mounted systems the only choice for homeowners. Rack mount is still the most popular option available, but the technology has made solar cheaper, versatile, and innovative.
Rack Mount Rooftop Solar- Utilizing a rack system for your solar panels is the most commonly found solar installation in Maryland. The system involves attaching a racking system to the roof of your home. The major caveat is that your roof needs to be in good condition as the rack needs a solid, non-compromised, structure to attach to.
Solar Shingles- If your roof needs to be replaced, do not worry as there is a solar solution for homeowners in need of a new roof. GAF unveiled their solar shingle which acts as a solar panel and a shingle. They are low profile and attach directly to the roof decking and do not require a racking system. Additionally, they are nailed down much like any other shingle which greatly reduces installation time.
Ground Mount Solar- If attaching solar to your roof is problematic, building a ground array is a suitable option. Ground mount solar is erected using a pole mounted system and pointed in the direction of the sun. There is little to no maintenance involved with a ground mount system other than mowing the grass underneath the panels.
Benefits of Rooftop Solar
There are many advantages of solar panels for your Maryland home.
Renewable Energy Source- You can effectively reduce reliance on fossil fuels and generate clean energy using your roof.
Energy Savings- Electric rates have risen year over year. Solar gives you an opportunity to own solar production. If you take out a solar loan, you may have solar payments that remain the same throughout the course of the loan.
Solar Panels Have a Shelf Life of 25 Years- That's 25 years of sunny days. Multiply that by 202 sunny days in MD and that’s over 5,000 sunny days of saved money.
Solar Tax Credit- The solar tax credit is built to help homeowners with their system cost.
Home Improvement Project That Increases Maryland Property Value- Adding solar helps increase the value of your property.
Should I Add Solar Panels to My Maryland Home?
With improved technology and lowered barriers to entry, it makes sense to add solar to your Maryland home. The full tax credit expires in 2032 and costs of electricity continually rise. Now is a great opportunity to head off rate increases and start saving using green energy today. Shanco proudly installs solar panels and solar shingles throughout the entire DMV. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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