It is common knowledge that solar panels offer a source of energy that is clean, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. But do the associated costs make solar energy a realistic choice for everyone? With the rapidly decreasing costs of solar energy, installing a solar-panel system for your home may be cheaper than you think. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, most solar-panel systems in the United States pay for themselves completely within five years. Additionally, adding solar panels to a property can significantly increase the value of a home (energyinformative.org).
Solar energy is the most ample source of energy on the planet, and it has none of the health, safety, or environmental risks associated with other sources like nuclear energy or coal. With all of these benefits, the addition of a solar-powered system may be an attractive option for many Lowcountry homeowners.
At the beginning of January, Sustainable Energy Solutions merged with Solbridge Energy in order to create a new company, Southern Current, whose ultimate goal is to provide the public with renewable energy solution. The merger creates an opportunity for the expertise and resources of two premier solar developers to come together in order to meet a wider range of their clients’ needs. Jon Downey, chief operating officer of Southern Current says, “The combination of our two companies will significantly increase our ability to develop projects of all sizes.” Now, not only is Southern Current able to help residential homes become more environmentally friendly, but they also help corporations with solar paneling. Being able to bring solar paneling to the residents and commercial businesses of the South helps with the environmental qualms of electricity use, as well as promotes sustainability and environmental awareness.
How do you go about installing solar paneling with Southern Current? After setting up an appointment, members of the Southern Current team will come to your home and check to make sure that there aren’t any trees that would hinder the gathering of solar energy. They will also check to see if the roof is facing the right direction and if any of the home’s angles will pose a problem. Unlike many other solar companies, Southern Current has an in-home team to do the inspection, assess the location, and install the panels. They also take special care to blend the solar panels with the overall aesthetic of the home.
Most states offer incentives to encourage the use of solar energy to make the installation more affordable. In South Carolina, a tax credit is available to homeowners who choose to install a solar energy system. The credit covers 25% of the costs of buying and installing a solar energy system with a cap at $3,500 or 50% of the taxpayer’s obligation for that year (whichever is less). If the cap is exceeded, the credits can be carried forward for up to ten years. There is also a Federal 30% tax credit of the total system cost. If the credit exceeds tax liability, then the excess amount may carry to the succeeding taxable year. The homeowner simply has to provide proof of the costs and installation dates, have the installation certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation, and attach a Solar Energy System Credit form to the back of his or her tax return (www.energy.sc.gov).
Solar paneling doesn’t just help the environment; it helps your pocket by paying for itself and lowering energy costs for the lifetime of your home.
Written by: Claire Nellums