If you’re looking for a way to do your part for the environment and save on energy bills at the same time, solar energy could be the right solution for you. Maybe you’re excited about the prospect of going solar, but there’s one thing holding you back: the upfront cost.
Solar should be available for everyone, not just the wealthy. That’s why many solar companies offer the opportunity to get started with $0 down. You heard right – you can have solar panels installed in your New Jersey home for free! Then you simply pay off your solar panels with affordable monthly payments, which are typically lower than what you currently pay on your utility bills.
Here’s your chance to learn more about getting free solar panels in NJ and options for lowering the amount you owe on your solar panels as you pay them off in the coming years.
How to Get Free Solar Panels in NJ
Solar installers are opening the door to customers in New Jersey and across the country by offering $0 down financing. You have two options: lease solar panels or take out a solar loan.
If you’re looking for a no-hassle way to help the environment, a solar lease is the way to go. At the same time, going solar lets you replace your costly, fluctuating energy bills with an affordable, fixed monthly lease payment. Your rate remains the same, regardless of how productive your solar panels are.
With a solar lease, you essentially borrow your solar panels for the length of the contract, which is typically 20 years. During this time, you get full access to the energy produced by your solar panels, but you relinquish all ownership responsibilities to the solar installer. This means you never have to foot repair bills or mess with maintenance yourself.
The second way to get started with $0 down is to take out a solar loan. This is the best option if you want to own your solar panels. The main benefit of a loan is that once you pay it off in five to 20 years, you can continue enjoying free electricity from the sun for next couple of decades. In this way, ownership with a solar loan makes your panels a more permanent fixture in your home.
Solar Incentives in New Jersey
Another benefit of owning your panels is that you can apply for solar incentives to bring your total investment amount down. You have the opportunity to apply for the most incentives if you purchase your panels upfront or take out a loan. Here are the most lucrative options for deferring the upfront and continuing costs of solar.
Federal Tax Credits
Any qualifying solar installation in the United States is eligible for a federal tax credit amounting in 30% of the total cost with no upper limit. Originally set to expire at the end of this year, this incentive has been extended to 2021. You can get the full 30% tax credit through 2019. Then the rate drops to 26% for 2020, and 22% for 2021 before expiring at the end of the year.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates
New Jersey utility companies are required to produce a certain amount of electricity from clean sources. One way to fill their quota is to purchase power from you, a solar panel owner.
Every time your solar panels generate 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, you get a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC), which you can sell for cash! An average 5kW residential solar array generates just under 6,000kWh – or six SRECs worth of energy – per year.
The value of an SREC fluctuates, but as of 2016, prices hover around $180 to $240 per SREC. This means you could easily earn $1,000 per year by selling power to your utility company through this program.
The first tax exemption your solar panels qualify for is sales tax. Your purchase is 100% exempt, which saves you 7% from the get-go.
You also save over time with a property tax exemption. Normally, when you make an improvement to your home, its value goes up, as do your property taxes. With this incentive, you’re exempt from paying higher property taxes for the next 15 years.