Solar power is gaining popularity in Rockland County as people realize they can generate clean electricity by harnessing the power of the sun. You have many different ways to finance a solar installation, but whether you pay upfront with cash, lease your solar panels or take out a loan, you can expect to see the same factors on a solar power quote in Rockland County. Here’s what your quote will consist of.
Of course, the single biggest factor in determining your solar power quote in Rockland County is the system size. To determine what size system you need, follow these steps:
- Determine how much electricity your home consumes each month. To calculate a yearly average, add up the last 12 months of electricity bills (in kilowatt-hours, or kWh) and divide the total by 12.
- If you think you can cut back on energy consumption, take the necessary steps before investing in solar. By decreasing your home’s electrical demand, a smaller (and therefore cheaper) solar array will offset a greater percentage of your bills.
- Decide how much electricity you want to offset each month. Larger systems cost more, but their higher electricity production allows them to pay for themselves faster.
- Account for the amount of sun we receive here in Rockland County.
To help you get an idea of the system size your might need, keep in mind that a typical residential array is 5 kW. With our climate, this is enough to offset about 550 to 600 kWh per month.
Solar Panel Manufacturer
If you’re just starting your research, you might not know about different solar panel manufacturers. Some cost more than others, but a higher upfront investment usually amounts to better performance.
SunPower solar panels are one example. The American-based manufacturer boasts panels with no grid lines on the front of the cell, a solid copper backing and thick connectors to promote strength. These and other factors combine to make SunPower solar panels the most efficient on the market. Choosing a high-quality manufacturer like this means you generate more electricity with every square foot of roof space.
Number of Solar Panels
Once you know what size you want your system to be and the electricity-producing power of the brand you choose, you can combine this information to determine the number of panels you need. A 5 kW array typically consists of about 25 panels.
The power inverter’s job is to convert direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. It also links your solar array with the grid, assuming you’re installing a grid-tied system.
As with solar panels, you can choose from several different inverter manufacturers. Since efficiencies and ratings differ slightly, individual models may be better suited for some installations than others. That’s why you should let your experienced installer decide which inverter manufacturer and model to choose.
Number of Inverters
Larger solar arrays may need multiple power inverters. If this is true for your situation, you must take this into account when determining your solar power quote in Rockland County.
Most solar installations require a mounting system. The hardware tilts the panels to the ideal angle and lifts it off the roof so rain water can drain naturally. The size of your solar array is the single biggest factor in determining the amount of racking you need and how it will affect your installation quote.
Labor is a “soft cost” you can’t forget to include. It takes a specialized skill to install a solar array, so it’s not recommended for you to attempt it yourself. Relying on a professional provides you with a workmanship warranty, which you don’t want to pass up.
Sometimes, a few miscellaneous tasks need to be performed before the solar installation can take place. These include roof repair and tree removal.
The roof must be strong enough to support the solar panels, so damaged shingles or old roofs may need to be repaired or replaced. Tree trimming and removal may be necessary to maximize sun exposure on the roof so your solar panels can perform more efficiently. Of course, both of these tasks increase your solar power quote in Rockland County.
Incentives and Rebates
Finally, here’s a factor in your solar quote that brings the cost down. Depending on how you finance your solar installation, you may be eligible for these incentives and rebates:
- Federal tax credits cover 30% of the cost with no upper limit.
- New York State offers a 25% income tax credit up to $5,000.
- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers cash incentives for qualified installations.
Work with your solar installer to figure out all the costs and incentives you qualify for so your solar power quote in Rockland County is as affordable as possible.