Is Solar Energy in Your Future?


On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, our Town Board adopted RESOLUTION 2016 #532 – Standardized Residential Solar Permit Process for the Town of Evans.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is offering financial incentives to municipalities that adopt a uniform New York State solar permit process.

Our Town Code Enforcement Officer, has advised the Town Board that the New York State uniform process of solar panel installation is consistent and compatible with the Town of Evans Zoning Code and permitting practices. As the Town Board supports the use of solar energy as a renewable energy source, the resolution was passed unchallenged.

What this means for us is that the Town of Evans hereby fully and formally adopts the
New York State Unified Solar Permit process for New York – Sun Solar Powering New York – and establishes the permit fee of $ 100.00.

So how, exactly does solar energy work? And why is it important that the Town of Evans adopt Resolution 2016#532? In November of 2016, shareholders giving overwhelming approval to the $2.1 billion merger between SolarCity and Tesla Motors, the company’s massive solar panel factory in South Buffalo promises to be the biggest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere. This not only means there will be more jobs available in Western NY, but there may be financial assistance, as well as loans, available to NY residents interest in installing a solar energy system.

Here’s how a Solar Energy System works – whether via Solar Panels or Solar Roofing

  • Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity.
    anatomy
  • An inverter converts DC into alternating current (AC) electricity.
  • The electrical panel sends power to your lights and appliances.
  • The utility meter measures both the energy you draw and feed back to the grid.

    Simplified schematic of the components of a home solar energy system.

    Simplified schematic of the components of a home solar energy system.

As the sun rises, your system begins producing power. During the day, your home is powered by energy produced from solar panels which saves you money on your utility bill. At night during an outage, your home is powered by excess energy produced during the day and stored in your Powerwal, which is continuously being charged by electricity generated from your solar panels, so it can be used whenever you choose. That way you can rely less on the grid and save more on your electric bill. When you’re consuming more power than your solar is producing, you may still draw power from a power grid, such as NYSEG.

Home solar energy systems can be installed with solar panels or as a complete roofing systems with solar shingles. Along with a PowerWall to store the energy you collect via you solar energy systems, both of these alternative energy designs will be made at the Solar City plant.

roof-solar-shingles1solar_panels

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

As of early 2016, most U.S homeowners are paying $3 to $4 per watt to install a solar panel system, and the average cost per watt in the U.S. is $3.57 per watt. Using the national average for PV system size at 5 kW (or 5000 watts), the average cost of solar: $12,500 (after the Federal ITC discount).

That’s 12 percent lower than it was a year ago, and solar panel system costs are continuing to fall. However, to really understand what a single solar panel will cost and what a complete solar system will cost, it’s important to compare prices quoted to homeowners in your area – total costs can vary depending on the state that you live in.

Average cost of solar panels based on system size

Knowing the average cost per watt is helpful, but what does $3.57/watt actually mean for you? The cost of installing solar on your home or business depends on how much electricity you want to generate – a bigger system will cost more, because you’ll need to buy more equipment and more labor will be needed to install it.

According to www.energysage.com, the average solar energy system size in the U.S is approximately 5 kilowatts (kW). Based on the average price of $3.57/watt, a 5kW system would cost $12,500 after tax credits. Below are some average 2015 quotes for other solar energy systems by size:

  • 6kW solar energy system cost: $15,000
  • 8kW solar energy system cost: $20,000
  • 10kW solar energy system cost: $25,000

These prices reflect the cost of a solar energy system after deducting the federal solar tax credit, which reduces your solar system cost by 30 percent. Some states, local governments, and utilities also offer rebates and other tax incentives that can further reduce the solar system costs in your quotes from solar installers.

As you can see from the prices above, it is essential that we as a town, pursue every possibility for financial resources for those residents who want to install a solar energy system on their home. You can CLICK HERE for an application to NYS to see if you are qualified for assistance. The application can also be filled out online at THIS LINK.

Data courtesy www.solarpowerauthority.com