If you’re a homeowner in New Jersey, did you know about all the incredible incentives available to you if you decide to invest in solar power? Beyond the fantastic energy savings, there’s a lot of potential for tax savings and more.

If you’re new to renewable energy or don’t know much about the solar incentives in NJ, we’re sharing all the ins and outs below in this detailed guide. By the time you get through this guide, you’ll know what benefits you qualify for and how to get started.

What Are Solar Incentives, and How Do They Work?

What Are Solar Incentives & How Do They Work?

Solar incentives are strategies the government uses to convince more people to start using renewable energy through solar panels on their homes or businesses. These incentives could be tax credits, rebates, and more.

The purpose of solar incentives in NJ is to reduce the financial impact of the high up-front investment cost for solar panels. Most systems wind up in the $15,000-$20,000 range. These programs lessen the burden for homeowners to pay these up-front costs through incentives.

A Note About Solar Incentives in NJ

A Note About Solar Incentives in NJ

One thing that’s important to note about green energy incentives is that by design, they won’t last forever. The goal is to incentivize more people to start participating in renewable, clean energy.

As more and more people install solar systems, incentives will begin to go down until they run out eventually. At this point, enough people will be using solar power in New Jersey that the government won’t need to incentivize anymore, and it will phase out the programs.

Currently, New Jersey is in the first phase of solar incentives in NJ, called the Transition Incentive Program. Plans are still underway for moving into the next phase for the Successor Program.

It’s essential to consider this, as the quicker you decide to invest, the more benefit you’ll get. If you are hesitant and wait a year or two before you finally make a move, the incentives may not be as high as they are now.

State Programs

Now that you understand how incentives work, let’s explore the details of solar incentives in NJ.

New Jersey Net Metering

With a net metering program, your utility will track how much power your solar panel system generates and how much of that energy you use each year. Anything leftover is net energy and becomes available to sell back at the full retail rate.

New Jersey’s Net Metering program lets homeowners sell their excess energy back to the power grid at the retail rate, which is much higher than the wholesale rate that power plants typically receive. The state’s rules dictate that the utility company must credit your next bill with that energy at the retail rate, but if you run a surplus over the entire year, they’ll cut you a check for anything leftover.

This monetization is a great way to make some money back on your already low energy bill. It is also a great way to prevent excess energy from going to waste.

New Jersey runs its main net metering programs through Jersey Central Power & Light and PSE&G.

TREC Program

For every megawatt-hour of solar power energy that your system produces, you’re also generating a TREC. The 2018 NJ Clean Energy Act made TRECs available to sell back to utilities.

The price you can get for each TREC will vary based on the system that you installed. A residential rooftop system, for example, can earn you around $90 per TREC. Let’s say your system produces 7 MWh of energy per year. All in all, your TRECs could make you $630 back per year, just for doing the work you installed them to do.

This TREC program recently replaced the state’s former SREC program, which was similar. However, this is a perfect example of an incentive program reaching its goal and end. The SREC program ended earlier than initially intended because so many New Jersey residents switched to solar power quicker than expected.

Solar Investment Property Tax Exemption

Installing a solar-powered system on your property will make your property taxes go up, right? Wrong!

While adding a solar panel system to your home will increase the value when it comes time to sell, it won’t hurt you while you’re still living in it through property taxes. You are legally exempt from any higher property taxes due to your highly valuable solar system.

Solar Panel Sales Tax Exemption

Unlike home upgrades such as a new oven, garage door, or bathtub, you won’t have to pay any sales tax on your home solar system.

Sales tax is a small amount when buying small consumer items, but that percentage can turn into quite a few dollars when you’re purchasing something as expensive as solar panels. Luckily you get to pocket that 7% that you would otherwise be paying for something of that cost.

Low-Income Solar Programs

Back in 2019, the state of New Jersey developed a new type of solar incentives in NJ for low-income residents. This 3-year community pilot program aimed at low- and moderate-income households who would like to invest in renewable energy but are facing financial difficulties.

With this program, program applicants (AKA the developers) can propose solar integration plans to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and 51% of the chosen projects must benefit these moderate- to low-income families.

NJ Clean Energy Program

The NJ Clean Energy Program is a statewide plan. Its goal is to help New Jersey residents, local governments, and business owners preserve energy. In the process, these beneficiaries save the environment and put some money back into their pockets.

While there aren’t solar rebates directly available through NJ Clean Energy Program, you can find a number of renewable energy resources. There are also a number of rebates for other energy efficiency purchases available to both New Jersey residents and businesses.

Federal Programs

There are additional benefits to investing in green energy outside solar incentives in NJ. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit is the big one. Here’s what to know about this substantial advantage:

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit

The most significant impact you’ll see after investing in green energy will come from the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit. Known as the ITC for short, this is a major perk if you decide to install photovoltaic panels on your property. The tax credit will cover 26% of the upfront cost of your solar panel, saving you thousands of dollars the year you install it.

For example, if your system costs you $20k, then your solar credit would be 26% of that, which is a whopping $5,200.

One thing to note is that the federal tax credit will fall from 26% to 22% by the end of 2022. If green energy has been on your mind, there’s never been a better time to make a move!

Getting the Most Out of Solar in NJ

Getting the Most Out of Solar in NJ

Investing in solar panels for your home is a great move. Not only will you cut back your energy costs drastically for years to come, but there are also several perks available to you up-front. However, not everyone is aware of the solar incentives in NJ, however, deterring them from pulling the trigger and making the investment.

There’s an opportunity for enormous savings through the federal solar investment tax credit paired with the various state incentive programs. You can sell back your unused energy, earn TRECs for every MWh of energy your system produces, and get great sales and property tax exemptions to sweeten the pot.

If you’re still on the fence about investing in renewable energy, what are you waiting for? As incentive programs dwindle over time, your best bet is to act as soon as you can.

While it might seem like it, solar power isn’t new technology. The use of solar power has a long history, spanning from the 7th Century B.C. to today. The Greeks, Romans, and Chinese all started out harnessing the sun’s heat with glass and mirrors to light fires.

The history of photovoltaic energy (aka. solar cells) started back in 1876.

William Adams discovered that selenium, a chemical element, produced electricity when it was exposed to light. The selenium cells were not efficient, but they proved that light, without heat or moving parts, can be converted into electricity.

In 1953, the first silicon solar cell was discovered.

This cell actually produced enough electricity and was efficient enough to run small electrical devices! The New York Times stated that this discovery was “The beginning of a new era.”

The problem was that nobody in that era could afford solar – the cost of solar was too high.

The first solar cells were made available commercially in 1956, but were way too expensive! A one watt solar cell, was far beyond anyone’s means, and cost up to $300!

In the early 1970’s a way to lower the cost of solar cells was finally discovered.

This research was led by Exxon and helped bring the price down from $100 per watt to around $20 per watt. And the prices continued to drop…

A generation ago, the cost of solar panels was so great that it cost roughly 100 times more to produce one kilowatt of energy from solar power than it does today.

Question: If the cost of solar is dropping, shouldn’t we wait to install?

While equipment costs and soft costs (installation, permitting, operations, maintenance) will continue to fall, favorable rebates and tax incentives are set to expire soon. This means today may be your chance to get the best deal on solar panels for your home.

Other notable solar milestones…

  • 1977 – President Jimmy Carter installs solar panels on the White House.
  • 1983 – World PV production reaches 21.3 megawatts.
  • 1994 – The National Renewable Energy Laboratory creates a solar cell that was more than 30% efficient.
  • 1999 – World PV production reaches 1000 megawatts.
  • 2004 – New Jersey adopts a program promoting the use of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC).
  • 2005 – The Energy Policy Act is passed, including the 26% investment tax credit for installing new solar systems.
  • 2016 – The U.S. solar market is on pace to nearly double in size in 2016.

Update: August 29th, 2016

The U.S. installed 1,665 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in Q1 2016 to reach 29.3 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 5.7 million American homes.

There are now more than 1 million operating solar PV installations in the U.S. (90% of these projects came on-line during this decade alone). Source: SEIA

Stop searching for solar companies in NJ. Let us do the hard work for you.

We work as your solar and green energy advocate to determine if your home qualifies for solar and find the absolute best program and technology for MAXIMUM savings. To see if your home qualifies for solar, call 856-809-2744.

This article will take approximately 4 minutes to read. By the end of this article, you will learn how to improve the comfort of your home, save money, protect your home, reduce your carbon footprint, and make your home safer.

All year long in the Delaware Valley, your roof is absorbing heat from the sun. That energy can do a lot more for your home than heat up your shingles — if you know how to use it.

With the right tools, homeowners can create cost savings and a comfier home. One of the best tools to implement is a solar attic fan. Solar attic fans revamp your attic’s temperature control and ventilation processes, saving energy and ultimately costs down the road.

You may think your attic’s insulation is enough to keep the heat out of your home, but the insulation only slows the process down rather than stopping it completely. According to HGTV, your attic’s temperature could rise up to 150°F if not properly ventilated. That heat works its way into your home where it forces the air conditioner to work harder, and as a result, your energy bills will go through the roof (no pun intended). Here’s where the solar attic fan comes into play.

So a solar attic fan helps make a home energy efficient, healthier, and stronger. That sounds great on paper — but how does it actually work?

At Attics And More, we know homeowners want the hard facts. So we’re here to give it to you.

Solar attic fan basics

How attic ventilation works

The Building Science Corporation explains the importance of year-round ventilation. In cool climates, ventilation allows the moisture from the living space to escape through the attic. In warm climates, ventilation is necessary to push out the hot air that becomes trapped in the attic. It is imperative for homeowners in the Delaware Valley to reap the benefits of ventilation throughout the year, especially with the common occurrence of experiencing all four seasons in the course of a week.

Ventilation allows a home to breathe and improves the quality of life of your loved ones inside the home. Along with controlling heating and cooling costs, proper ventilation also ensures homeowners get the maximum amount of life out of their roofing materials.

The importance of attic ventilation has been studied since the 1930s, and research architect William B. Rose quickly discovered that an attic with proper ventilation has little to no ‘trouble’ compared to an attic that is not ventilated. Ventilation is one of the three components that contribute to an energy efficient attic.

Why your attic needs ventilation

What happens to an attic that is not properly ventilated? William B. Rose lists potential problems in his research ranging from failure of roofing, buckling of roofing, rotting of wood materials, and moisture accumulation in insulation.

A poorly ventilated attic could also allow for the growth of mildew and rot. Mildew and rot not only impact the air quality in the attic but could also decrease the air quality of the home’s living spaces.

The benefit of having a well-ventilated attic is further proven by research from the University of Florida where it was found that “conditions in a ventilated attic are stable through seasonal changes and promotes cost-effective, energy efficient climate control of unconditioned spaces in hot, humid regions.”

How to properly ventilate your attic

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. A solar attic fan works to lower the temperature of your home, keeps your attic dry and ventilated, and helps to maintain the structure of your roof. The main function of a solar attic fan, explained by Energy Star, is to cool down a hot attic by pushing hot air from the attic outside and drawing in cooler air from outside. By providing steady and constant airflow into the attic, a solar attic fan causes warm and moist air to be vented out.

One of our solar attic fan installations on a home in southern New Jersey.

Why you should choose a solar attic fan

Solar attic fans improve the comfort of your home

By moving hot, stuffy air out of the attic and improving ventilation, solar attic fans work to decrease the attic’s temperature. Regulating the temperature of the attic helps the lower level rooms and occupants in your home feel cooler and more comfortable.

Solar attic fans help you save money

After installation, solar attic fans are free to operate since they use the power of the sun for efficient operation. Homeowners in New Jersey are eligible for a 26% federal tax credit through December 31, 2019, for solar attic fan installation. A solar attic fan also eliminates the need for your air conditioner to overcompensate for heat entering the home — leading to lower energy bills.

Solar attic fans protect your home

Solar attic fans prevent moisture-related damage from damaging the roof. Having a solar attic fan expels moist, warm air from the attic year-round and prevents the growth of mold and mildew, and significantly reduces the chance of rotting roofing materials.

Solar attic fans help you save energy

Solar fans reduce your carbon footprint as well as your consumption of fossil fuel. Energy Star acknowledges that installing an attic fan helps to save energy by preventing your air conditioner from working overtime — as previously mentioned, this saves you money on your energy bills, but it also makes a big difference in your energy use.

Solar attic fans are safe

It is important to note that a conventional electric fan has the potential to pull carbon monoxide and dangerous fumes from the basement or ground-level gas appliances through your home. Solar attic fans move air gently, keep your attic pressure at a safe level, and provide effective airflow without endangering your loved ones.

Feeling intrigued?

We offer a free in-home attic inspection and assessment.

To find out if a solar attic fan is right for your home, contact Michele DuCoin at 856-809-2744 or send an email directly to Michele by clicking here. We like saving homeowners in the Delaware Valley a pretty penny without sales gimmicks or pressure.

 

Written by Samantha Brumbaugh and Michele DuCoin