f you're a Kentuckian considering installing a photovoltaic (PV) system on your property, you may have a lot of questions about the benefits, drawbacks, and what to expect. Solar systems harness the power of the sun to generate electricity, and they can be an excellent investment for homeowners who want to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint. However, there are a few key things that Kentuckians need to know before deciding to invest in a photovoltaic installation. In this article, we'll cover the pros and cons of going solar in the state and the solar incentives available. Hopefully, this information will help you make an informed decision about whether a PV system is right for you.
Weighing the pros and cons of solar energy adoption in Bluegrass State
In Bluegrass State, where the sun shines brightly for much of the year, solar energy can be a perfect option. But it's important for homeowners to think about the pros and cons before making a decision. This section will look at the benefits and drawbacks of solar energy for Kentuckians, so you can decide if it's right for you.
The benefits of going solar
First, let’s explore the benefits of going solar in the state and discuss why installing a photovoltaic system is worth considering.
High solar potential due to abundant sunshine in the state
The state has a high solar potential due to its abundant sunshine. According to Google's Project Sunroof, 87% of buildings in Kentucky are solar-viable. The average number of sunny days per year in the state is 189. While this is somewhat lower than the national average of 205 sunny days in the United States, it is still a sufficient amount to allow for the effective production of solar power.
In terms of the number of peak sun hours, Kentucky ranks 14th among all states in the United States, with an average of approximately five hours of peak sunshine per day. To be cost-effective, it is recommended that solar installations receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight daily.
One of the lowest costs per watt of solar
Kentuckians are fortunate to have access to some of the lowest PV equipment prices in the entire country. According to recent data, the average cost of solar panels Kentucky is just $2.34 per watt. This is significantly lower than the national average of $2.94 per watt, making it an attractive option for homeowners looking to save on energy costs.
Increase in the market value of a home
One of the added benefits of installing solar panels is that they can increase a home’s market value. Studies have shown that homes with photovoltaic arrays tend to sell faster and for higher prices in comparison to homes without them. This is because buyers are willing to pay a premium for a home with a renewable energy source, as it can save them money on energy costs in the long run.
In addition, a solar system can also make a home more attractive to potential buyers due to its durability and low maintenance. Solar panels have a lifespan of around 25-30 years and require very little maintenance, making them a cost-effective and long-term investment. When a home is equipped with solar, it can be seen as a modern, energy-efficient property that is more attractive to buyers in the real estate market.
The drawbacks of going solar in Kentucky
Naturally, transitioning to solar energy is not without its challenges. In this section, we will explore some of the drawbacks of going solar in the state and consider whether they outweigh the benefits.
A limited number of solar incentives
One of the major disadvantages is the limited number of solar incentives available compared to other states. These incentives are often crucial for homeowners and businesses to make the switch to solar energy, as they help offset the initial costs and make it more financially feasible. Without these incentives, it can be much harder for individuals to justify their investment in photovoltaic panels.
Still, as a Kentuckian, you have the opportunity to take advantage of some federal and state incentives that can reduce the cost of installing solar panels on your home. This can make it more affordable for you to transition to renewable energy.
Smaller savings due to comparatively low electricity costs in the state
The Bluegrass State is known for its relatively low electricity costs compared to other states in the U.S. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2021, the average electricity price in the state ranked 12th lowest among all states, and it had the second lowest price among states east of the Mississippi River. This is due to various factors, including the abundance of coal in the state and the low cost of extracting and burning it for electricity.
While this may be good news for residents and businesses looking to keep their energy costs low, it also means that the potential for solar energy savings is lower in Kentucky compared to states with higher electricity costs.
Solar incentives available
You may be wondering what incentives are available in order to help make the switch to solar more affordable. Below, we will explore the various solar incentives available for Kentuckians.
Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC)
The US government offers a tax credit called the Federal Solar Tax Credit (also known as the Investment Tax Credit or ITC) to encourage people to switch to solar energy. It basically lets you claim money back on your taxes for part of the cost of getting PV panels installed. The ITC has been in place since 2006 and has been extended a few times. Right now, homeowners can claim a credit for 30% of the cost of installing the system.
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for solar
PACE stands for Property-Assessed Clean Energy, and it's a financing program that allows homeowners to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes and pay for them through their property taxes. This means that instead of paying for these upgrades upfront, you can spread the cost out over a period of time and pay it off gradually through your property taxes.
One of the biggest benefits of PACE financing is that it allows homeowners to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes without having to come up with a large amount of cash upfront. This can be especially helpful for those who don't have a lot of disposable income or are on a fixed budget. PACE financing is also a good option for those who may not qualify for traditional loans or who don't want to take on additional debt. So if you're interested in making energy-efficient improvements to your home but are worried about the cost, PACE financing could be a great option to consider.
Net metering is a tool available to all customers of investor-owned utilities and electric cooperatives, except those in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This program allows homeowners with solar systems to sell excess electricity generated by their modules back to the grid. Essentially, if you generate more electricity than you use, you can offset the cost of your energy bills by selling the surplus back to the utility company. This is a great way to save money on your energy costs.
To participate in net metering, you'll need a special bi-directional meter installed to track your energy usage and generation. You'll also need to be connected to the grid to sell your excess electricity back to the utility company.
How much can a homeowner save by installing PV panels in Kentucky?
If you install a solar system that is appropriately sized for your needs, it is estimated that you will save an average of $20,250 on your utility bills over its lifespan. This calculation does not take into account the fact that electricity prices in Kentucky are still increasing, meaning it is likely that you will actually save even more in the long run.
The best way to determine how much you can reduce your electricity costs by installing photovoltaics is to consult with a solar company or energy professional. They can provide a detailed analysis of your energy usage and recommend the best PV system for your needs. Doing this gives you a more accurate idea of how much you can save by going solar.