A solar energy consultant shares not only how using solar energy can cut your electricity costs, but how it actually might make you money.
JACKSONVILLE, Florida--Harold Schroeder had enough of paying $200 to $300 a month for his electric bill.
The Northeast Florida retiree decided it was time to take matters into his own hands. He hired a solar company. Jacksonville, Florida's A1A Solar Contracting Inc., to install solar panels on his house, and his monthly bills disappeared.
"This month, I paid $4 for electric," he said when he stopped by at the A1A Solar booth at the Jacksonville Home + Patio Show Thursday.
Solar Consultant Arthur McCoy said that's typical for the company's clients, and that's just one of the ways they save - and even make - money by using solar panels. Here are 5 ways McCoy said you can save money by adding solar power to your rural home:
1) Save on your electric bill
Just like Harold, you will see a dramatic drop in electricity costs when you use solar panels. The panels are installed on the roof of your home and harvest energy from the sun, serving as your own, personal mini power plant.
Sound a little "out there?" It's not. McCoy shared photos of a solar farm JEA (the Jacksonville Electric Authority) itself uses to generate energy. And he said Florida Power and Light is in the process of converting Daytona International Speedway's power to solar.
In a Florida Times-Union article McCoy displayed at the booth, the City of Neptune Beach saw its monthly electric bill drop from $491 to $6.15 when it hired A1A Solar to install the panels.
2) Sell the power you don't use back to the power company
Harold, the A1A Solar customer, pulled out his cell phone to show off his solar power numbers. A1A Solar's online monitoring system showed that he was using only half of the power his solar panels were bringing in. The rest of that power would go back to the power company, which will cut him a check once a year to pay him for the power.
3) Solar power Increases your home value
"When you have solar panels, the value of your home increases because buyers know they will have a reduced electric bill," McCoy said.
According to A1A Solar's data, the average solar panel investment increases home resale value by about 3.5 percent. The valuation increase is exempt from taxes in most states, including Florida
4) Receive a 30% federal tax credit
In the hopes of encouraging Americans to take on renewable energy in their residences, the federal government created the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. The federal government will give you a tax credit for a whopping 30% of your costs for the system, including site preparation and the labor to install it, if it is installed on or before Dec. 31, 2018. Read more about it at this Energy.gov link.
McCoy said customers who are looking to save money use solar power in concert with a utility company. He said the average buyer sees a full return on the investment within 7 years.
Those who want to go "off the grid" completely can do it, but the cost of the backup battery system that it takes to go off-grid will not be as cost effective. Nevertheless, it is absolutely possible to go completely off grid using the solar panel system, which would charge the backup batteries in order to supply power at nighttime.
If you want to learn more about using solar power, you can reach McCoy directly at arthur.mccoy@A1Asolar.com or call him at 904-382-0084.