Pennsylvania has in place the foundation for a good policy on solar energy development, but as a state has not yet thrown its full support behind the movement to adopt greener, more renewable sources of energy, like some other states have. Still, Pennsylvania has committed itself to a mandate which requires 18% of all energy generated in the state to be from renewable sources by 2021, according to principles set forth in its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). That bodes well for residents, and when some stronger support is forthcoming, the state may still take a place among the leaders in the switch to solar power.
Incentives for going solar in Pennsylvania
The state formerly offered significant rebates for going solar through its Pennsylvania Sunshine Program, and that was such a huge success that the funding for it ran dry in 2013. Fortunately, the state recognized that the movement to greener and more renewable energy was still worth supporting, and enacted new legislation called the High-Performance Buildings Program, which now offers grants and loans to small businesses and homeowners who want to go solar.
Pennsylvania has a system of Solar Renewable Energy Credits, or SRECs, which are credits earned by homeowners and small businesses who have installed solar panels which generate at least 1 MW-hours of solar power annually. A typical solar panel system can generate about 6 SREC credits each year, and at current market prices, these SRECs earn between $20 and $55 per credit. This money is paid directly to the homeowner, just for producing solar energy and using it.
Methods for going solar in Pennsylvania
If you don’t have a lot of cash to put down on installation of a new system, leasing can be a very viable way for you to make the transition to solar energy. In this scenario, you contract with a utility company or other third party to install a system on your rooftop, free of charge, and you would then pay a monthly utility bill which includes an installment payment each month for the cost of equipment and installation. This will invariably be a monthly bill less than market prices for electricity from the grid.
The best option, if you can afford it, for going solar in Pennsylvania is to purchase a solar panel system outright. There will be a relatively high initial cost for the equipment and setup, but over the life of the system, you will definitely realize a huge savings over traditional electricity from the grid, because you won’t be paying any monthly utility bills for your electricity. The savings are so substantial that it is even worth your while to take out a home equity loan to pay for the solar panel system, because the cost of the loan will be offset by the money you save on utility bills.