Pennsylvania Homeowners Guide to Solar Energy

Technological advancement has led to many great inventions and general improvements to human life. One of these miracle inventions is solar energy, the ability to harness the sun’s power to supply electricity for our homes and businesses. It seems like such a wild idea. How does it even happen? Although we won’t cover that in this blog (click here to read more about how solar panels work), we will cover many of the benefits and details of using solar energy in Pennsylvania. It turns out that PA is a great state to go solar in!

Is Pennsylvania A Good State For Solar Energy?

Pennsylvania is actually a really good state to transition to solar. Thanks to things like Net Metering and the availability of PA Solar Renewable Energy Credits.

Although Pennsylvania only sees 179 sunny days a year, which is below the average in the US of 205, it should not interfere with your energy production. Don’t think that a homeowner in Arizona, Texas, or even New Mexico is getting a better value than you because of the amount of sunlight they get. Many of our clients install solar energy systems that completely eliminate their monthly electricity costs. We have even installed solar systems that more than eliminate monthly energy costs and supply power to other homes around them. 

Will My Panels Generate Solar Energy In PA’s Winter Months?

Solar panels are actually more optimized for use in cooler temperatures. This seems bizarre because our brains put sunlight and heat together so we assume that no heat means no energy but the solar panels really absorb the sunlight, not the heat. In excess heat, solar panels actually decrease production.

Wondering whether or not your panels will produce solar energy in the winter months in Pennsylvania is an understandable concern. In winter months, although solar panels do produce lower amounts of electricity, they will still produce solar energy while the sun is hitting them each day. And taking into account the net metering that you will be experiencing over the course of the year should offset the lower production of solar energy. 

solar panels in pa

How Much Does Solar Energy In Pennsylvania Cost?

In Pennsylvania, solar panels are a great investment. The average cost of a residential solar panel system in the state is $15,250. The average solar panel cost in Pennsylvania is $3.05/watt. The average payback period is eleven years. So, as soon as your solar panel system is installed you begin to generate your own solar energy, the payments you make on the system are now moving you towards a level of financial freedom that otherwise would be out of your grasp. 

So, once your solar panel system is paid off all that extra money is going right into your pocket! And on top of that, you get your Net Metering kickback and because you’re generating solar energy in PA you’re getting paid for every SREC (1,000-kilowatt hours) your system produces throughout the year. 

All these numbers can be very overwhelming especially if you’re just beginning to venture into the solar scene. That’s why we’re here to help. You can fill out a contact form to get a free consultation or go over to our learning center to have your questions answered or check out more of our solar blog posts to better understand the possibilities of solar.

roofs for solar panels

How Does Net Metering Make Solar Energy In PA More Beneficial?

What is Net Metering? This is a policy in the Pennsylvania Code Chapter 75.11, which basically allows homeowners like you to bank and reserve excess Kilowatt Hours (kWhs) during the sunnier seasons (spring, summer, and fall) and apply them during the winter months. An easy analogy to compare this to would be rollover minutes with phones.

Any solar energy that your system produces but you don’t use is recorded and on days when you need to borrow power from the utility grid instead of being charged directly for that energy the amount you use is subtracted from the “rollover solar energy” your system has produced throughout the year on high-performance days. 

pa srecs

What Are The Top Benefits Of Solar Energy In PA?

Solar energy is a renewable resource that can be used to generate electricity and heat. In Pennsylvania, you can join the rising number of homeowners that use solar energy to offset the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs. Solar energy is a clean, emissions-free source of electricity that can be used to power homes and even your businesses.

Other than pure electricity, solar panels can also be used to heat water for domestic use and swimming pools. In terms of planning for the future, solar power is also a growing industry in Pennsylvania, and the state has set a goal of generating 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Solar power is an important part of Pennsylvania’s clean energy future.

solar installers in pa

Do I Get Any Tax Breaks For Using Solar Energy In PA?

Pennsylvania is considered one of the more solar-friendly states due to the access of tax breaks and other incentives provided to homeowners who decide to go solar. One of the bigger incentives that you can expect is the federal solar tax credit otherwise known as ITC. So what is an ITC? It’s a 30% credit to your federal income taxes for installing solar systems on your property.  The standard ITC in PA is $6,503

Another amazing benefit that we briefly discussed earlier in this article is SRECs. These are energy credits that you can earn for every 1,000 kWh your panels produce. The current price for 1 SREC in PA is $43. You can sell these credits on the SREC market for additional profit. But how much energy do you use? And how many SRECs can you expect? 

Well, the average American household produces about 886 kWh of electricity with an annual average of 10,632 kWh. So based on the average, you can expect to pocket $430 dollars per year by just generating electricity from solar! 

renewable solar energy

Will Using Solar Energy In PA Decrease The Value Of My Home? 

Solar panels also increase the value of your home. Studies have shown that homes with solar panels sell for an average of 4.1% more than homes without solar panels. So, not only will you save money on your energy bills, but you will also make money if you decide to sell your home. 

In fact, according to research done by Zillow, Pennsylvania ranks second on the list of states where solar increases home value. Being a solar energy user in PA has its benefits. As more and more conversations are being had regarding energy sources, energy independence is becoming increasingly popular in America. Comparing homes with similar square footage, property, and location, the one that is independent and does not require the help of a local utility company is more attractive to buyers! 

solar energy powered home in pa

Is My Roof Compatible With Solar Energy Panels?

One of the main factors to consider when looking at your roof is its condition. Position and the type of roof are also important factors to evaluate. The most popular roofing material is asphalt shingles. This material, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), lasts about 20 years. 

Although age does not necessarily correlate with the condition, you should still get your roof inspected to ensure that it is in good enough shape to support solar panels for a long time. Most solar panels last 25-30 years so having them installed on a roof that needs to be replaced before they do would be a hassle. 

What Roofing Material Is Not Compatible With Solar Panels?

Luckily, most people won’t have to worry about this problem as solar advancements have made most roofs compatible. The only roofing materials that are not ideal for solar energy are wood and slate roofs. These materials are hard for installers to walk on and wooden roofs specifically present a fire hazard.

Is My Roof Positioned Correctly For Solar Panels?

The ideal angle for a solar panel is 30 degrees. Your roof pitch does not have a large effect on the production of solar panels. For example, a roof that is 40 degrees will only decrease energy production by 1%. However, anything over 40 degrees will probably be too steep.

Efficiency aside, the installers might just have a hard time. And if your roof is flat, no worries, you can still get solar panels, you just need to have brackets installed to angle the panels which can cost a little extra. 

solar power kit

What Direction Should My Solar Panels Face For Best Results?

The best-case scenario is for your roof/solar panels to face south. In almost all cases, homeowners save the most on their electric bills and receive the quickest payback period by facing their solar panels south compared to east, west, or north. 

The worst direction for your solar panels to be facing is North. Panels that are on a standard pitch roof facing north, or in other words away from the sun, will produce 30% less than panels facing south.

How Long Will My Panels Generate Solar Power Once Installed?

The lifespan of a solar panel is anywhere from 25 to 30 years. Now, this does not mean that they will just spontaneously combust and stop working after all those years. What ends up happening is that they will drop in performance after 25-30 years. Nothing dramatic, solar panels will simply drop in energy production by 0.5% per year after 25 years.