Solar panel installation makes a lot of sense for homeowners in Northern Virginia. Solar energy is more affordable than ever, and prices continue to drop year by year.
As a general rule, homeowners in Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties can expect a solar installation to pay for itself within six to 10 years.
Clean, Renewable Energy for Northern Virginia Residents
The Commonwealth of Virginia made a significant commitment to clean, renewable energy with the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), passed by the legislature in 2020.
The Clean Economy Act sets lofty goals for the energy industry, prioritizing a transition to clean energy and a more efficient grid system. VCEA also raises size limits and removes unreasonable fees for certain solar systems, eliminating fees entirely in certain situations.
By reducing greenhouse gases and air pollutants, Virginians will enjoy a pristine natural environment and an improved quality of life.
Additionally, VCEA levels the playing field for low-income families, who have historically paid higher energy costs than the average household.
What Are The Benefits of Solar Energy for Homeowners in Northern Virginia?
Although price is always a consideration, it’s only one of the many benefits. Solar energy can also:
- save an average of 50 to 100% on your monthly utility bills.
- generate income; homeowners who own their systems can sell their SRECs for hundreds of dollars a year.
- boost your home’s value by up to 4% over similar homes without solar panels. (Homebuyers across the country may pay a premium of $15,000 for average-size homes with a solar array).
- reduce the strain on the grid during peak hours.
- minimize air pollution by reducing the use of fossil fuels.
- support hundreds of solar companies and thousands of jobs in Virginia’s growing solar industry.
How Does Solar Energy Work in Virginia?
Most solar systems you see on home rooftops are photovoltaic (PV) panels consisting of many connected cells. Each small cell is like a sandwich made of two thin wafers of semiconducting material, usually silicon. Several connected panels make up a solar array, and wires and conduits connect the entire setup.
When the sun shines on the cells, photons are absorbed, and light is converted into electrical energy. The flow of electricity generated by the panels is direct current (DC), but it passes through an inverter, which changes it to alternative current (AC) for use in the home.
The amount of electricity (kWh, or kilowatt hours) depends on the size of the array and the amount of sunlight it receives. Sunlight is affected by various factors, including geographic location, shading from buildings or trees, and orientation of the roof.
What Is the Cost of Solar Power in Northern Virginia?
It isn’t easy to pin down an exact cost of solar panels in Virginia, but the cost per watt runs about $2.66, compared to a national average of $2.51 to $3.31 per watt. The cost of an average-size residential VA solar installation is estimated between $11,900 and $16,160.
The price drops significantly when you figure in the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). For instance, a solar array costing $14,000 would drop to about $10,400. A larger system could cost around $28,100, dropping to less than $21,000 after figuring ITC.
Various factors will ultimately influence your solar panels’ final price, including tax credits and incentives that may be available in Northern Virginia. Other factors may include:
- Choice of solar panels
- Type age of your roof
- Available roof space
- Financing costs
- Geographic location
- Your average energy usage (your local utility company can provide this information)
- Labor costs in your area.
Why Solar Panels Make Sense in Northern Virginia?
The amount of sunlight in your area also influences your solar installation costs, since the more sunlight a solar panel receives, the more electricity it can produce.
Homeowners in Northern Virginia enjoy approximately 2,800 hours of sunlight per year — 4.5 peak hours per day during the summer and 3.37 per day during the winter months. Although Virginia is 40th in the nation when it comes to sunlight, peak sun hours are relatively consistent throughout the year.
What Solar Power Incentives Are Available for Virginians?
Virginia solar incentives are a great way to save money on solar panel installation. For a comprehensive review of solar incentives in VA, see our guide Virginia Solar Incentives: Grants, Rebates, and Tax Credits.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
Although the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was initially a phase-down program, expected to disappear by the end of 2021, the legislature has extended the program. The good news for homeowners is, the tax credit will allow you to deduct 26% from your federal taxes in 2021 and 2022, dropping to 22% in 2023, and then expiring at the end of that year. A similar program is available for businesses.
What are Net Metering and Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) in VA?
If you install a solar system, you can enroll in a net metering program with your local utility, and you’ll receive full retail credit for excess energy that flows to the grid.
Your utility will install a two-way meter to track your energy use, and you are charged only for “net” electricity produced by your system. The meter will spin backward when you are pushing power back into the grid.
In other words, if you produce more energy than you can use, your electric bill will show a credit that can be rolled over to the next month’s bill for use during the night or on cloudy days. Credits generated during the summer can offset higher electric bills during the winter months.
Virginia residents also have the option of selling energy – which does not have to be excess energy like with net metering – with solar renewable energy credits (SREC). Residents can earn hundreds of dollars every year when they sell their credits back to their utility. We calculate how much energy you are likely to generate, and we will set up the automatic system to earn and sell your SRECs.
Purchase With Cash/Credit/Traditional Financing
Homeowners who own their solar systems see an average of 50-100% savings on their monthly utility bill.
We also offer $0 down financing options to homeowners who wish to own their system, based on creditworthiness.
Purchasing or leasing a solar panel system in Northern Virginia can also generate income; homeowners can sell their Renewable Energy Certificates for hundreds of dollars a year.
Same Top Service and Quality No Matter Which Option you Choose
Solar panels increase your home’s value and, with Virginia solar panels from Solar Energy World, we guarantee a 20-25 year warranty depending upon panel brand, plus 24/7 live monitoring and diagnostics support. We also offer solar battery backup, which ensures you’ll have power during outages.
If you’re thinking about investing in solar panels for your home in Northern Virginia, give us a shout today. Feel free to call us at 866.856.4580 and speak with one of our local solar experts, or get started right away with our free, customized solar estimate: