2019 Utah Solar Panels Facts
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Utah is a great place to have solar panels, especially in 2019 (before the ITC will be prorated in 2020). This is because there are also several other Utah factors that make solar a good option.
What Makes Utah Solar Desirable in 2019
When you look across the valley, solar is popping up everywhere. Many are installing solar panels in Utah. Here are some of the reasons why so many have decided this product is worth the investment.
Utah Solar Policies
The solar policy can make or break the solar market in a city or state. Quality solar policies allow for easy grid access and fair solar generation compensation. Rocky Mountain Power, Utah’s largest utility, credits solar customers 90 percent of the retail rate for unused solar power exported back onto the grid.
This is pretty close to the rate for electricity pulled from the grid. Because Rocky Mountain Power credits solar close to their rate, not as much solar is needed to offset grid use.
However, this isn’t the only reason why solar is such a great investment. Utah also has many incentives in place that reduce the price immensely.
Utah Solar Incentives
There are two main incentives used for Utah solar installations. These include both federal and state incentives.
The federal solar incentive, also known as the ITC, is a solar tax credit. In 2019, this credit covers 30 percent of solar costs. Claiming this credit now is ideal because after 2019 it will decrease to 26 percent.
The state solar incentive is also a tax credit. It credits Utahan’s $1,600 toward state taxes that would have been owed.
This tax credit was extended in 2018; it will start to decrease in 2021. Utah’s solar credit will decrease by $400 increments until it phases out entirely in 2023. Between these two incentives, solar ends up being cheaper than traditional electricity.
The Cost of Utah Solar Panels
Solar grants people the choice of a cheaper cleaner energy source. When you purchase electricity through your utility, it is mostly generated by non-renewables. Although the national electric rate is only 13.19 cents per kilowatt-hour, it adds up fast.
When you look at solar costs you have to take into account the cost savings. This tells you how much solar is saving you over the life of the system.
Cost savings are going to vary from one solar company to the next, but the basics are similar. Savings calculators are based on local utility rates, predicted rate increases, local solar incentives, and your solar payment plan. Another factor that plays a large role in the cost of solar is the solar capacity of your state.
Utah’s Solar Capacity
Solar capacity has several different definitions. It can be how much energy a solar array generates. Then there is the capacity a region has to produce solar power.
No matter which definition you are using, one of the major determinants of solar capacity is the sun. In the United States, the average home gets about four hours of direct normal radiance per day.
Direct normal radiance is the amount of radiation that hits a panel directly from the sun when the panel is stationary. Most of Utah has between 4.8 and 7.5 hours of direct normal radiance.
This is pretty good for a state that has snow several months of the year. In fact, this is good in general, which is why it is such a good option to install solar on your Utah home.
Solar Company Competition in Utah
Even if you live in a great spot, a bad solar company can ruin your solar experience. Thankfully, Utah has a plethora of solar installers to choose from, and most of them have been around long enough to know what they’re doing.
The Benefit of Competition for the Consumer
Although good for the customer, too many choices can be a bit daunting and at times frustrating. The good news is that when customers take the time to compare bids, they are rewarded.
Solar customers that compare bids get the most satisfaction from their purchase. This is because they have looked at all their options instead of feeling pressured into a sale. It also allows the customer to see the difference in product quality and price.
What To Look For in a Utah Solar Company
It is tough to make a choice when you don’t know what you are looking for. Although ultimately it comes down to what is important to you, there are some basic things to look for.
Quality of Solar Products
Often people see an extremely low bid for solar and are ready to jump on board. This could, however, mean that the product quality is subpar.
Quality makes a huge difference in product longevity, efficiency and maintenance needs. The best way to compare prices is by measuring products of the same caliber.
Utah Solar Business Ratings
Business ratings of the company are another way to determine if a company is worth it. There are several different places that will help you decide if a business is legit.
These include, but are not limited to, the Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews and Facebook reviews. All three of these places allow customers to file complaints and rate the business.
When looking at business reviews, the number of complaints isn’t the only factor to look at. What type of complaints and whether the company took care of them is also important. No one is perfect; sometimes people drop the ball, but if restitution is made, you have nothing to fear.
What payment plan you choose plays a large role in how much your solar array will end up costing you. There are three main financing options offered. These include leasing, loan and cash purchase.
The best option is to purchase the solar array in cash. When you do this, you don’t have to pay interest for the array and you own it — allowing you to move to a new home with ease. Some companies even offer a discount for cash purchases.
Most people, however, can’t afford to purchase solar outright. Loans provide the benefits of owning the system without having to put down a bundle of cash all at once. Finding a loan with a low-interest rate will be in your best interest.
The least beneficial financing option is leasing. Those that choose this route are often stuck in a 20-year contract. During this time, the solar company becomes your electric provider.
Customer service is key to determining which solar company you want to use. The best solar companies are those that offer full-service.
These are companies that install and service the systems that they sell. If your solar company doesn’t install their systems, you could run into problems later.
Full-service companies also take care of all the paperwork. You won’t have to worry about getting the permits or filling out the tax credit forms, which can be complicated for nonspecialists. However, you may still have to file the tax credit after it is filled out.
One thing customer service can’t control is installation timing. Even if the solar company is extremely prompt, installation could take several months. This is because not everything is within the company’s control.
Solar Panel Installation Process in Utah
Once you have decided on a solar company, it is time to start the installation process. The installation steps vary depending on the area you live in and the solar company you choose. However, there are some installation steps that are pretty universal.
After you have confirmed your solar plans, they go through an approval process. All solar companies need to get permits and permissions from the city and utility. If you live in an HOA, they may also have a say in your installation.
Steps During the Solar Installation
Once your solar plans have been approved, the solar company can install your array. How long this will take depends on the type of install. However, after the installation is scheduled, it normally takes between one to three days to complete an installation.
Once you have your solar array installed, it still needs to pass two inspections before it can be turned on. After your installation has passed these inspections, you can start generating solar power.
Utah is a great place for solar. If your Utah home qualifies, there is no reason to hesitate on your installation.