The following text was sent out via email on July 25, 2023. Sign up for PEC email alerts →
If you’ve been curious about going solar, now’s an optimal time. This year, the federal tax credit will cover 30% of the cost to install residential solar panels, and it also applies to electric vehicle car chargers and backup batteries. Plus, our Solarize campaign simplifies the process of going solar by connecting you with local, pre-vetted installers who offer pricing that’s been negotiated by LEAP in advance.
The benefits of solar
There are many good reasons to go solar – from saving money to reducing air pollution and combating climate change to moving us toward energy independence, both individually and on a national level.
In 2019, my family and I decided to get solar panels for a new home we had recently moved into. Considering the environment and the rising cost of energy, and available tax credits and Solar Renewable Energy Credit incentives (ask your installers about these), it felt like a smart financial decision.
The installers looked at our past year’s usage history to build out the most accurate system for our situation, and we gave the go ahead. Install only took a day – it was exciting, and, like any home improvement process, at times stressful. Holding my newborn and watching the crew put the panel racks in place was particularly moving and hopeful.
In the four or so years since, between energy savings and the incentives, we have saved over $4,000 by powering our home functions with the sun (and we’ve also inspired our neighbors to do the same!) In retrospect, I do wish we had built the system larger to accommodate the increased demand of EV charging and at least considered battery backup to run the home in the case of a long or short term power outage to create full energy independence. Like any technology, future-proofing your system is a cost benefit balancing act. However, the great thing about the 30% federal tax credit is that we can potentially use it on an independent battery added to the system or on additional panels.
How to get started with Solarize
First, you’ll want to find out if your property is a good fit. South-facing rooftops that get plenty of sunlight are best suited for rooftop solar, but satellite imaging will determine the optimal setup for your home. LEAP will perform a free satellite assessment on your property, taking into account rooftop direction, roof quality and your home’s overall energy efficiency. Ground-mounted systems are also an option if your rooftop isn’t well suited for solar.
The Solarize campaign is available in over 30 localities in the Piedmont, Richmond area, Shenandoah Valley, Tidewater and Northern Virginia. The deadline to sign up for this year’s Solarize Piedmont campaign is Thursday, August 31, 2023.
What happens next?
- Within a week of filling out our interest form at pecva.org/solarize, LEAP will conduct a satellite assessment to see if your property has solar potential (you can also opt to get a free 90-minute home energy assessment geared at improving your home’s overall energy efficiency).
- If you have good solar potential, you’ll be asked to provide prior electric usage info (i.e. past bills). This step helps the installer to determine the optimal size system for your home.
- Next, one of the 2023 Solarize Piedmont pre-vetted installers will get in touch with you to schedule a site visit.
- The installer will then create a proposal tailored for you and walk you through the financing options.
- If you decide to move forward, the installer obtains all the necessary permits, orders the materials and equipment, and takes care of the installation and interconnection process with your utility.
- Congrats, you’re now one of over 1,015 households that have taken advantage of Solarize, generating more than 9.2 MW of solar capacity!
Please let me know if you have any solar questions I might be able to answer!
Senior Energy and Climate Policy Analyst
540-347-2334 ext. 7054