Step #4:  Information to keep in mind when considering a solar system to increase your return on investment.

  • Up to 30% of the total cost of installation can be used as a federal tax incentive.  Previous versions of this incentive had a cap of $2,000; there is no longer a cap.
  • The most productive system is located on a South- or West-facing roof (or area) that is shade-free from 9 am – 3 pm every day of the year.
  • Generally speaking, you will need ~ 1 square foot of space for every 20 watts.  So a 3 kW system would take ~150 square feet; a 4 kW system would take ~ 200 square feet.
  • You do not need to size a system to meet all your energy needs.  You will remain a customer of your electric company, so you can use more (or less) power as needed.
  • When considering “payback” time, think about the price of electricity per kWh.  Has it increased in the past?  Will it increase in the future?  By how much?  We do not know the answer either, but the question should be factored in to your decision-making.
  • All energy providers are obligated to allow “net-metering” which means that the electric meter must be able to run backwards (i.e. when you are generating electricity).  However, they are not obligated to pay you a set $ amount, or anything at all, if you generate more energy than you use in a month.  Check with your energy provider to find out their particular “Tariff Agreement”.
  • Be sure to check with your Homeowners’ Association before committing to a solar PV installation.  For some odd reason that we simply cannot imagine, some are opposed to the “look” of solar. However, in the State of Texas is now illegal for HOA's to discriminate against owners putting in a solar system.