Solar power is becoming an increasingly important part of our nation’s energy production, and Connecticut is no exception. The state has seen impressive increases in both residential and commercial solar installations over the past decade.
But with the large price tag that comes with solar power, you might find yourself asking: Is solar worth it?
In most cases, solar power can save you a lot in electricity costs long-term. Investing in solar can also help reduce your home’s carbon footprint and increase your home’s energy independence. Keep reading to learn more about the cost of solar panels in Connecticut, how to pay for them, and the benefits of solar power.
Cost of solar panels in Connecticut
The cost of a residential solar system in Connecticut can vary by thousands of dollars and depends on many factors, including the size and configuration of your system, the components within it, labor costs, and your local permitting costs.
Solar systems usually cost between $3 and $5 per watt. The average system has a price tag ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. This rate doesn’t take into account tax credits and rebates, which can make your system more affordable.
Solar panel setup
One of the reasons that residential solar systems can be so costly is all of the different components included. Some of the common pieces you can expect to find in a solar system include:
- Solar panels: The most important part of your residential solar system, panels can be either monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film. Each type of panel has a different cost and unique advantages and disadvantages.
- Solar cell: When you install solar panels, you’ll also need a solar cell to convert the sunlight on your solar panels into electricity.
- Inverter: A solar panel inverter is a component that takes direct current (DC) output and converts it into alternating current (AC), which is what your household appliances and outlets use.
- Battery: If you create more electricity than you can use at once, you can store the excess energy in solar batteries to power your home when there’s no sunlight, or even sell it back to the electricity grid.
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Solar incentives and rebates in Connecticut
Solar panels can be expensive, but there are plenty of financial incentives in place to help ease the financial burden. First, the federal government offers a solar panel tax credit for 26 percent of your system cost. This can reduce your out-of-pocket cost significantly, but the credit is set to expire in a few years.
Connecticut also offers a Residential Solar Investment Program, which is a $0.463 rebate per watt of solar installed. Depending on the wattage of your system, your rebate could be thousands of dollars.
Another initiative that Connecticut has in place is its solar loan program, which provides low-interest loans to homeowners who wish to install solar panels on their homes. Interest rates start at 0%, and your loan can be repaid over a period of ten years.
Finally, Connecticut has tax exemptions in place to help reduce your costs from your solar panels. First, the sales and use tax exemption prevents you from having to pay sales and use taxes on your solar panels. There’s also a property tax exemption which means you won’t have to pay additional property taxes for the increased value of your home after you install solar panels. Installing solar panels on your property can increase your home’s value by up to $15,000, so the property tax exemption can mean huge savings over time.
Solar energy in Connecticut may help lower your electric bills
Solar panels can save you considerable amounts of money in the long term. When you power your home with solar power, you aren’t reliant on the traditional energy grid, and therefore don’t have to pay for electricity.
For example, consider if you purchase a solar system for $15,000. First, the federal tax credit allows you to save $3,900 immediately. You’ll get that money in the form of a tax refund. Next, you’ll save money each month on your electricity bill, which could be around $100 per month in savings, depending on your electricity rate. That’s $1,200 per year in energy savings.
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Energy independence in Connecticut can help you
Not only do solar panels allow you to save money on electricity, but they can also help you achieve energy independence, which means you aren’t reliant on the energy grid to power your home. Here’s why energy independence matters in Connecticut.
First, being energy independent means you aren’t vulnerable to electricity price increases. When demand for electricity is high, electricity rates tend to increase. You won’t have to worry about those rate spikes when you power your home with solar because you are powering your home with the solar energy that your panels generate. And not only can you save money, but you can actually sell some of your electricity back to the grid through net metering programs.
Energy independence also protects you from losing power to your home. If there’s a bad storm and the rest of the neighborhood loses power, your stored solar energy can continue to power your home. This is one of the main reasons why solar panel owners often choose to invest in solar batteries, too.
How to buy solar panels in Connecticut
Installing solar panels on your home can be an excellent way to save on energy costs, protect the environment, and achieve energy independence. But before you can get started, there’s a lot to learn. There are plenty of resources available to help you learn more about solar panels. In fact, the state of Connecticut even has a buyer’s guide for interested homeowners.
Before you decide to purchase solar panels, there are plenty of factors you’ll need to consider. First, ask yourself whether your roof is really suitable for solar panels. Solar panels are most effective on south-facing roofs with slopes of 15 to 40 degrees. They’re also best for roofs in good shape that won’t need to be replaced anytime soon.
Another consideration is whether you have an HOA. Some homeowners’ associations may limit the use of solar panels or require approval before installation. Finally, while solar panels can be effective in many areas, they obviously work the best in areas with lots of sunshine. If your home doesn’t get much sunlight, it might not be a good investment.
The future of energy is solar in Connecticut
Like many states, solar power is just starting to hit the mainstream for residential consumers. But in the case of Connecticut, they’re rising in popularity very quickly. The past decade has seen impressive numbers of new solar installations for both residential and commercial customers.
Currently, Connecticut ranks 20th in the nation for solar energy generation. The state gets 2.3 percent of its electricity from solar energy, which is enough to power 130,963 homes. Not only that, but solar power has become an important part of the state’s economy. There are more than 140 solar companies in the state that create more than 2,000 jobs.
Moving forward, there’s a positive outlook for solar power in Connecticut. It’s one of the fastest-growing small states in the solar industry, and new installations are expected to continue growing.
Solar energy FAQs
Do solar panels save you money in Connecticut?
Yes, solar panels can save you more than a thousand dollars per year in electricity costs, and many thousands of dollars over the life of your solar panels.
What is the life expectancy of solar panels in Connecticut?
Solar panels can be expected to last for a period of 25-30 years, but it depends partially on the quality of the panels and the condition they’re kept in. Perform regular maintenance for your panels to ensure they have a long lifespan.
How does solar power help the environment?
Solar power is a form of green energy, which means it doesn’t emit harmful greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is why solar power benefits the environment. Increasing reliance on solar energy can reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
Is it better to buy or lease solar panels?
Both buying and leasing solar panels can be great options. Buying your own panels gives you the best long-term savings. Not only will you save more money, but they also increase the value of your home, which isn’t the case with leased panels. But solar leases can also be a great option for anyone who rents their home or can’t afford the upfront cost of solar panels.
What % of Connecticut energy production is solar?
Connecticut currently gets around 2.37 percent of its electricity from solar power, which is enough to power more than 130,000 homes.