This year, we decided that it was time to pull the trigger on converting our home to pure solar electricity consumption. It was something Jo had talked about for years….about 7 to be exact. As the years went on, the talks increase in frequency and intensity. But we waited. And this year, the financial benefits from both federal and state government gave us no further excuse to make that just talk. She interviewed about 5 companies, some over the phone from as far as Boston and some in person on site. I had some off feelings about the facts that were delivered to us so I couldn’t feel comfortable, and as a result of my feelings and her own feelings, we never felt quite right. But she made a call to Northeast Solar and opened the talk candidly. Rusty was the man we dealt with because the result was confidence in them. We are both much more comfortable when the company is extremely confident in the answers they provide, the quickness they provide them in, and the ability to actually get back to you on the few they don’t know the answers to. As I said, financially, it was time. Some of the benefits included: Federal: - 30% tax credits (not deductions) MA State: - $1000 tax credit - subsidized loans (as low as 1.49%). Now, you could pay out of pocket, or select this rate as part of your loan. I haven’t seen these rates in MANY years. - SREC program (solar renewable energy credit) - NET metering of 1:1 (100%) as long as the overall system stays at 10kw or less. Combined, these bring the overall system cost down considerably. Keep in mind that the state benefits do vary by state. But there is added benefit to the planet - a reduction in carbon footprint. Granted we are only one home, but one of many. And from what I could tell from my town after being involved heavily in the permit/inspection process, more and more are signing up weekly. NET Metering: It means that anything we generate ABOVE our normal usage during the day, goes back to the company at their rate as paying us and at night when we need it back, we pay exactly what they “paid” us for it. They don’t pay for it per se, but they offer it as credit. This translates to us making extra credit during say, March, April, May, June (high sun during spring) and when December, January, February (low sun, shorter days, winter), we don’t have to pay for electricity because of the credit we’ve accrued during the earlier months. This is as long as you stay at/under the 10kw system. If you go above, then the ratio becomes 60% rather than the 100%. Imagine getting “paid” 60 cents for something only to have to pay a full $1 to get it back. Cost benefit extremely drops off. So we maxed our system to the full allowable size. Tax Credits: They roll over, so what you don’t use, you get to carry over to the next year, and the year after until you’ve exhausted them all. SREC: I’ll keep this as simple as possible tossing out some round numbers. The program continues for 10 years. Essentially 1 SREC = 1000kw. To keep the numbers even, if you can generate 1000kw in a month, then it’s 1 SRECs and that translates to 12 SRECs per year. Investor owned utility suppliers MUST satisfy a certain % of their power to the grid by renewable energy. And this is where the SRECs come into play. This can be looked at as "selling stock” in loose language. These are sold both quarterly and annually. Market prices change. As a utility supplier reviews their % of energy provided by renewables, then they reach out to “buy” these SRECs from customers, which increases their percentage they can report on. Sounds complicated, but it’s perhaps the way I’m wording it. For the sake of argument, each SREC will have a value of say a really low $200. Let’s say a realistic annual count of 10 SRECs per year based on a 10kw system, not 12. Simple math shows this being $2000.00 annually, and over the course of 10 years, $20,000. Quick Cost Savings Breakdown: - $20,000 over life on SREC (varies depending on size of system) - 30% Federal tax credit (calculates against total cost of system) - $1000 one time state credit (regardless of system) Depending on the system you choose, you can calculate your savings. It actually became a difficult decision to NOT go solar this year. The process: Once the company was selected, and the contract signed, this became extremely easy. Northeast Solar handled ALL of the paperwork. I mean everything. They communicated with the state, the solar division, the electric company, the town…..EVERYTHING. Granted, in my case, I had to get somewhat involved with the town because of the town’s staffing to try to keep this on track. But it was pretty much hands off. If we got an e-mail with missing forms from our electric company, Northeast Solar intervened. It was that simple. It’s why I say, it’s actually easy if you select a company you are comfortable with. To get to this point, we decided we better replace the roof now, rather than wait what we thought would be another 3 years or so. But in order to do that, we really needed to rebuild the top stack of our chimney. This became a chain of events type of project. But it did break down to 3 separate projects. All are shown in the photos, but the album below is focused on the solar aspect. Because I frankly am not sure how I'll long term store the images to link, I've created a small album to share here. I'll leave the photos in place there. I will be going through my rough photos and adding good shots to this album. iCloud Photo Sharing Disclaimer: Other than referencing a 10kw system (which we did go with), none of the numbers and dollar amounts represent any factual information about our system. They all used rough and round numbers for the ease of my calculations while writing. Percentages and credits I mention in the benefits are public knowledge in the state of MA. State benefits vary by state.