he idea of solar energy in Wisconsin might not be your immediate association, but it's increasingly becoming a hotbed for renewable energy adoption. Currently ranked 23rd in the nation for photovoltaic (PV) installations, the state has a total photovoltaic capacity of 1,217 MW. However, don't let these middle-of-the-road stats fool you. The state has big plans to shift toward 100% carbon-free energy by 2050, and solar is a cornerstone of that vision.
Is Going Solar in the Badger State a Bright Idea?
What's more, although electricity bills have historically been on the lower end here, the scenario is fast-changing. State utilities are consistently requesting rate hikes from the government to fund their new projects and investments. This almost guarantees that electricity costs are likely to rise.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) projects that WI will install an impressive 4,630 MW over the next five years, potentially moving up to 11th in the U.S. rankings. So, all things considered, going solar here looks like a pretty brilliant idea.
The Cost of Solar Energy: What to Expect
Let's talk numbers. As of August 2023, a Wisconsinite can expect to shell out an average of $3.34 per watt for solar installation. Considering a typical PV panel system size of 6 kW, this translates to an estimated expense bracket of $17,000 to $23,000. With the average gross price for a solar setup hovering around $20,000, it might sound steep initially. But there's more to the story.
Homeowners need to look at this not just as an expenditure, but as a long-term energy investment. Over a 20-year span, a photovoltaic system is poised to bring savings of around $20,000 or more, hinging on variables such as system size and the unique features of a property. Essentially, not only do homeowners offset their initial investment, but they also stand to save a significant amount in the long run.
Perks & Benefits: Exploring Solar Energy Incentives
- Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC): The first and most impactful way to shave off a good chunk of your initial investment is through the federal investment tax credit. This allows residents to knock off 30% of the system cost from their tax liability. So, if you're looking at an average gross cost of $20,000 for your installation, you could get a $6,000 tax credit.
- State Tax Benefits: On top of federal incentives, the state offers some local tax breaks. You're exempt from 100% of the property taxes that you'd normally incur due to the increased home value from installing a solar energy system. Also, a sales tax exemption for solar systems provides an immediate 5-5.6% saving.
- Net Metering: Net metering makes your investment even more appealing. Essentially, if your panels produce more energy than you use, that extra energy goes back into the grid. As a result, you get credits on your next electric bill. Investor-owned and municipal utilities are mandated by state law to offer net metering, with each utility setting its own rates.
- Local Programs and Rebates: Several local programs can help bring the cost down even further. For instance, the Milwaukee Shines Solar Program offers low-APR loans of up to $20,000. Also, Focus on Energy, a utility-based program, provides a $500 rebate to offset the initial setup costs.
Top Solar Installation Experts
When you're considering going green, one of the first steps is choosing the right installer. So let's break down some of the best options you have in the Badger State.
Sun Badger Solar
A newcomer with a strong presence, Sun Badger has swiftly garnered attention since its establishment in 2018. What makes them a standout option is their competitive pricing coupled with flexible financing options like $0-down loans. Moreover, they serve as a valuable resource for navigating federal solar tax credits, ensuring you make the most of potential savings.
Sun Badger boasts a versatile selection of top-tier brands like LG and SolarEdge. Solidifying their appeal, they go the extra mile by providing an impressive 25-year warranty that covers both products and workmanship—way above the industry standard.
Operating since 2014 and serving 31 states, LGCY Power offers personalized consultations tailored to your specific energy needs. They don't just install solar panels; they guide you through the whole process.
They’re also a Sunrun-certified partner, ensuring you access premium PV panels and batteries. To top it off, LGCY Power extends a 25-year performance warranty along with variable manufacturer’s warranties.
Arch Solar has considerable know-how when it comes to PV energy, bringing almost two decades of experience. Local to the core, they have offices in Plymouth, Milwaukee, and Madison, ready to service both residential and commercial clients.
Arch's experience translates into stellar service and robust know-how in photovoltaic technology. Their pricing is competitive, and they offer a mix of financing options like solar loans. Their panels are also quality assured, backed by a 25-year manufacturer warranty and a 5-year workmanship warranty.
All Energy Solar
All Energy Solar has made waves with their high customer reviews. They go the extra mile, providing not just solar panel installations but also EV chargers, batteries, and even roofing services. This ensures your home is all set, top to bottom, for your solar journey.
Their financial plans are pretty flexible, offering various payment options, including loans and leases. They also provide product warranties that range from 10 to 25 years and add a five-year workmanship warranty on installations.
Solar energy in Ohio is rapidly growing, with abundant sunlight and supportive policies driving adoption. Residents benefit from solar incentives and low-cost solar installations.
Final Thoughts: The Future of Solar Energy for Wisconsinites
To sum it all up, if you're contemplating adopting solar energy in Wisconsin, the future's looking pretty sunny. Sure, you've got an initial expense, but let's call it what it is — a solid, long-term investment. With electricity costs on the rise and an array of incentives making solar more pocket-friendly, now's the time to act. Solar energy isn't just the future; it's a bright, greener present that's well within reach.