How much does solar energy cost?
An average residential solar system can cost between $15,000-$29,000 for average sized systems sized between 4kW and 8kW. Considering that you could possible spend up to $41,973.00 in electrical bills over the next 25 years, this can be a small price to pay for solar in Maryland1. However, for too many people, that still represents too large of an upfront payment. The good news is that many of the solar providers we work with offer a variety of great solar financing and leasing options to help offset some of initial solar installation costs. In addition, low interest rates may be available for a solar home financing and installing solar panels can increase the value of your home as well.
The exact cost of your solar system will depend on the applicable home solar rebates and incentives available in your area that you qualify for and the type of solar installation you chose. Using a qualified solar energy installer who is familiar with the local incentives and permitting process will ensure that you get the most from your investment.
Are there any government tax incentives or rebates?
One of the great elements of solar power in the U.S. is that there are large number of tax incentives and rebate programs that exist to make it easier to afford solar power for your home. The solar installer that you select will be up to date on all the applicable incentives based on where you live but below are some of the basics:
- Solar Investment Tax Credit: Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows individuals to deduct 30% of the cost of a solar system from individual federal income taxes and has helped grow residential and commercial annual solar installations by 1,600 percent since its implementation in 20062.
- Individual State Rebates: Many states offer cash rebates that are either flat amount or are based on the size of your solar power system – check out the U.S. government’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for more information on the rebates in your area;
- Property Tax Exemptions for Residential Solar: Many state and local governments also specifically exclude the added value of a home solar energy system from your annual property taxes. There are currently 38 states offering property tax exemptions for renewable energy, reducing the financial burden on the taxpayer for installing a solar power system.3
- Municipal and Utility Rebates: In addition to the federal and state incentives, many local municipalities and utilities may also offer incentive programs for home solar. Please check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for any qualifying solar incentives in your specific area.
What are the current Maryland solar incentives and how do they work?
One of the great facts about solar in Maryland is that there are a number of Maryland solar rebate and incentive programs, such as the Residential Clean Energy Grant Program and the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, that exist to make it easier to afford solar power for your home. The solar provider that you select will be up to date on all the solar incentives and lease/finance options that may be available to you to help you save as much money as possible.
The primary state sponsored Maryland solar incentive program is the Residential Clean Energy Grant Program: With the help of the Maryland Energy Administration, this program provides financial incentives to those installing solar water-heating or Photovoltaic systems in their primary residence. For those installing solar PV there is a $1,000 flat incentive for systems with a capacity of up to 20 kW. These grants are either provided after the installation, or are subtracted from the individual’s adjusted gross income, thus enabling the receiver to avoid paying state taxes on the amount of the grant received.6
Established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit states that a taxpayer may claim “a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer.”7 Expenditures related to equipment are made at the time of installation and include onsite preparation, system assembly, and connecting the system to the home for labor.7
Does Maryland have any other tax incentives for solar?
Many state and local governments also specifically exclude the added value of a home solar energy system in the form of Property Tax Exemptions for Residential Solar. There are currently 38 states offering property tax exemptions for renewable energy, reducing the financial burden on the taxpayer for installing a solar power system.3 For example, the state of New Jersey enacted legislation exempting solar systems from local property taxes if the system is used to meet on-site electricity, heating, cooling, or general energy needs.3
Is Maryland a Net Metering state?
Maryland allows owners of home solar systems to net-meter, which means that you can connect your solar panel system to the utility grid and if your system produces excess electricity during daylight hours. This applies to applies to all utilities — investor-owned utilities (IOUs), electric cooperatives and municipal utilities.8 If a home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use.9
Furthermore, homeowners with solar installed can “bank” the excess electricity their solar system generates and receive credit up to 100% of their electric use bill at the full retail electricity price that they can use later. The only negative to Maryland net metering is that if at the end of a 12-month billing cycle, you have still generated electricity more than you use, you grant any credit to your power company.8
If I cannot afford an upfront payment for a solar power system, are there financing options to help me?
Yes, many solar installers offer a variety of excellent solar financing options to help offset some of the initial installation costs. If you decide to go solar, a solar professional will have details on the available solar financing options, but make sure you ask about the following:
- Home Equity Loans: borrowing against the equity of your home. This type of financing requires that you already have significant equity in your home and a good credit score4;
- Solar Lease: leasing the solar panels for a fee over a set length of time; and
- Power Purchase Agreement: an arrangement similar to a lease arrangement where the solar provider/installer secures funding on their own for the solar project, installs the solar system in your home/office building and then sells the electricity from the solar system to the home/building owner at a fixed contractual price for a set length of time. In a PPA, the solar company remains responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system for the duration of the agreement.5
Solar-Maryland.org is a no-cost, no-obligation, risk-free service dedicated to providing solar estimates to anyone interested in lowering their electricity bill and going green. Start now with free solar quotes from our qualified solar providers near you by filling out our short solar quotes request form here. Get connected to the best solar companies in your area and go solar today!