The Home Depot, in 55 stores throughout Arizona are offering residential solar panels and installation to customers. This is a clear sign that solar energy is finally coming of age. Home Depot is also offering residential solar in most stores throughout California as well. New York and New Jersey markets are expected to follow.
The systems, manufactured by BP Solar cost anywhere from $14,000 to $50,000, but also come with steep incentives to homeowners. For instance, one customer paid $45,000 for a 6-kilowatt system, but after rebates and credits, the photovoltaic configuration cost only $25,000.
What attracts most people to creating solar homes is the lessening of environmental impact plus long term savings on the utility bills. A study by Arizona State University students projected that it will take 18 years for an average size home with a 3 kilowatt photovoltaic system to pay for itself.
After this time, it is all money in the bank, depending upon where you live. Many states have net metering laws that are more favorable to the power companies than they are to the consumers. In Germany and Spain consumers can actually make money selling solar energy back to the grid at a favorable rate.
In some of the U. S. states such as Arizona, utilities such as APS and SRP cancel out their customer’s leftover credits at the end of the year. Utilities in other states will use net metering, but on top of this consumers may also receive renewable-energy credits when selling power back to the grid, which can mean cash in your pockets.
So, it’s important to check the laws in your state before you buy to determine what kinds of state and federal credits you will receive plus incentives for selling solar electricity back to the grid. In some states, your home will be simply sustainable, while in others you may have a little money-maker on your hands.