Residential solar power in Utah has been popular among homeowners as evidenced by the number of installations, which is the third biggest in the U.S. based on an analysis.
Almost 30% of houses in the state, or more than 319,000 homes, have solar energy installations. This trend stems from the availability of a $1,600 state tax credit, aside from a 30% credit from the federal government. Utah plans to reduce the tax rebate to $1,200 by 2021, so now is a good time to take advantage of the incentive.
What are Solar Tax Incentives?
The Solar Investment Tax Credit allows you to recover 30% of the total amount you spent on a solar energy system. You could use the refund as an additional amount to your tax return for next year. If you bought a system for $10,000, the federal tax incentive will deduct $3,000 from the cost. Add the state’s rebate of $1,600 and you would have only spent roughly half of the original price. Basic systems last for more than 10 years if well maintained and properly installed, which is another reason to hire a professional.
A licensed contractor is necessary regardless of where you plan to install solar panels in the state. Request for at least three quotes from different contractors to compare the best rates. Remember that you cannot be eligible for any type of incentives when you lease a system instead of owning one. You also need to consider the amount of sunlight in your area to determine if it’s a worthwhile investment.
Is Solar Power a Good Fit for Your Energy Needs?
Homes with solar panels normally require at least four hours of peak sunlight or 4,000 watts of photovoltaic power per square meter. If you live in Southern Utah, it’s possible to have more than five hours of peak sunlight each day. Otherwise, you may have to use solar energy as a back-up source particularly if you live in Illinois, Washington and West Virginia where peak sunlight is shorter than in Arizona, California and Utah.
Remember that the slant of your roof, home elevation, and other things like tall trees affect the actual output of your system. If you plan to install one to avail of the tax credits, you should consider asking for financial advice on how to incorporate these incentives in a timely and proper way. You could also use the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts calculator to find out how much you need to spend based on where you live in the country. It can also provide an estimate for energy production.
Solar energy is more suitable for homeowners in states near the equator, although this shouldn’t be the sole reason for installing solar panels. The federal government still offers a 30% tax incentive until December 31, 2019, for those who equip their houses with this renewable energy source. Consult a licensed electrician about the best way to harness the energy from the sun before making a decision.