S

olar energy is more than just a trending buzzword. It's an exciting pathway to renewable energy that is growing rapidly across the United States.

Introduction: Embracing Solar in Pennsylvania

When it comes to solar in Pennsylvania, the landscape is particularly interesting. Despite being a northeastern state with relatively less sunlight compared to the southern states, Pennsylvania is embracing solar in a big way. As of 2023, the state's solar capacity reached over 1,125 MW, representing a significant growth of solar in PA over the past few years. While currently ranked 25th nationally, SEIA envisions the state climbing to 18th, anticipating an impressive 2,806 MW increase over the next 5 years.

With increased concern about climate change, Pennsylvanians are showing more interest in exploring solar power. This article seeks to shed light on the viability of solar in Pennsylvania, especially for homeowners considering this green energy alternative.

Reality vs. Fiction: The Viability of Solar in Pennsylvania

The very mention of solar in Pennsylvania might seem strange to some, especially considering the state's reputation for cold, snowy winters. But the reality is more optimistic. Pennsylvania has approximately 179 sunny days a year and receives an average of 3.91 hours of full sunlight per day, which may not seem like a lot but it's enough to make solar energy a feasible option. When compared to Germany – a world leader in photovoltaics that averages just 3.08 hours of sunlight per day – it's evident that solar in Pennsylvania is a promising choice.

In addition, the feasibility of going solar in Pennsylvania is expanding due to the improved efficiency of modern solar panels. Today’s panels can harness sunlight even on cloudy days, turning those gray Pennsylvania skies into a power source. Furthermore, cold temperatures can actually improve panel efficiency. Thus, chilly winters don’t diminish the potential for solar energy capture; in fact, they might enhance it!

And finally, considering the average electricity rate of 18.26 cents per kWh in Pennsylvania (13% higher than the national average), homeowners are grappling with soaring bills. To tackle this, more and more Pennsylvanians are eying solar options. Creating their electricity empowers homeowners to significantly shrink their reliance on conventional power grids.

Wallet-Friendly or Not? Analyzing Costs

The initial costs of adopting solar in Pennsylvania energy might seem like a roadblock, but let's shed some light on the matter. At first, the setup costs for solar panels might pinch your wallet a bit, but no worries. There are federal and state incentives that help cut down those initial expenses.

And here's the exciting part: Once your system is operational, it can actually become a source of income. Through net metering, any excess power generated by your panels is sent back to the grid - think of it as your panels putting in some part-time work that pays off in savings.

Now, let's crunch some numbers. The cost of embracing solar in Pennsylvania varies depending on your unique needs and location. Presently, the average cost per panel here is roughly $3.02 per watt. With a 6-kilowatt solar system, the total installation expense ranges from $15,400 to $20,800, averaging around $18,120. But with an 8 to 10-year payback and panels lasting 25+ years, you'll be soaking up free electricity for a long while.

Solar in Denver is rapidly growing, with numerous companies offering installation services and incentives available through local and state programs.

Maximizing Savings: Incentives for Solar in Pennsylvania

Federal Tax Credit: Nationwide, homeowners stepping into the solar space can tap into a federal tax credit covering 30% of their installation costs. Unlike a rebate that puts money in your hand, this credit is a little more strategic. It reduces or even eliminates your federal income tax liability, with any leftover credit rolling over into the next tax period.

Net Metering: Produce more energy than you need? No problem! That extra energy is credited to your next electric bill. It's mandatory for energy providers to offer this, although the exact details might vary with your utility company.

SRECs: Pennsylvania stands out by offering its homeowners Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), which are akin to earning badges of honor for using clean energy. For every 1,000 kilowatt-hours produced by your setup, you receive an energy credit which you can convert to money by selling. Just note, the cash you make from this is taxable.

Philadelphia Solar Rebate Program: Philadelphia residents get an added bonus through the Solar Rebate Program. When your setup gets the green light and starts running with PECO Energy Company's approval, you're eligible for a rebate of 20 cents per watt. But, there's a catch – you need to keep the system up and running for 36 months and hit at least 80% of the energy target for three years.

In Conclusion: The Prospects of Solar in Pennsylvania

The prospects of solar in Pennsylvania are shining brightly, and the landscape is ripe for homeowners to tap into this renewable energy source. From the state's surprisingly favorable sunlit conditions to a range of attractive incentives, the path to solar is illuminated with possibilities.

While initial costs might seem daunting, the long-term savings, coupled with environmental stewardship, make solar in Pennsylvania not just a viable but a compelling choice. The sun seems to be rising on a new era of energy, one that's greener and brighter for all.

Sources:

https://www.seia.org/state-solar-policy/pennsylvania-solar

https://www.turbinegenerator.org/solar/pennsylvania/

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/

https://www.energysage.com/local-data/solar-panel-cost/pa/#:~:text=As%20of%20August%202023%2C%20the,Pennsylvania%20coming%20in%20at%20%2415%2C100

Posted 
Aug 22, 2023
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