Legacy Solar Co-op is committed to being a trusted resource for individuals, businesses and not-for-profits who are considering investing in solar energy. Here are 9 of the questions we most frequently hear from our members or residents interested in solar electricity.
How much will it cost to put solar on my roof?
The cost of solar has been in a steady decline for years and should continue to drop.¹ The cost of modules, racking, installation and incidentals have come down drastically in the past 5 years. In fact, the cost of solar modules has gone down over 80% since 2010.
As the cost continues to go down, the quality and efficiency of solar arrays improve. In Wisconsin, we have the benefit of having lower than average price per watt for installations over other states.
The average cost of a solar installation is a very broad range, between $10,000 and $20,000 for a two bedroom home.
The specific cost depends upon a number of factors including your location, type of roof, your trees and shade, and where you get the most sun. Also the amount of electricity you need for your household, so the number of residents is a factor too.
The best way to find out what solar will cost for your situation is to get a solar assessment. We help you narrow it down.
Being unsure of the cost can prevent people from exploring solar more seriously, so at Legacy Solar Co-op we provide free solar reports for our members who request them.
1.Will solar panels get cheaper? (updated for 2021) – The Solar Nerd
Are there any economic incentives for installing solar?
There are both tax credits and incentives available now to offset the cost of installing your solar PV system.
Through the end of 2022, there is a 26% federal tax credit available*. This means that you can claim up to 26% of the cost of your solar installation and reduce your tax bill.
Focus on Energy is the State of Wisconsin program that offers a $500 standard incentive for homeowners, small-business and nonprofits. If you are a larger organization you are in a different category and may qualify for other incentives. Plus they are providing an additional $500 rebate for rural properties and even more for agribusinesses.
In addition, various discounts and rebates available from local utilities or State and Federal programs. Legacy Solar Co-op can help you navigate these options.
*You have to pay taxes to get this credit.
How long will it be before my solar installation pays for itself?
Think of a solar installation in terms of return on investment (ROI). Your utility bill savings starts in the first month. In the long run, installing solar results in the 10s of thousands of dollars of savings. It’s just a matter of how long it takes to pay off your installation cost.
A solar array will pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time, often between 7 and 12 years. Then, as the cost of electricity continues to go up (at an average of 3% per year), your costs will stay relatively the same.
Commercial properties also get depreciation so they tend to get payback even quicker.
Will installing solar panels affect the value or assessment of my property?
Wisconsin property taxes are not allowed to be raised as a result of installing a solar array. Some studies show that solar arrays improve your home’s resale value by 3 to 4%. ²
As far as sellability, we see a potential advantage there as well. If there were two similar houses next to each other and one had solar panels, it would be more appealing because the homeowner would automatically be spending less on electricity as soon as they move in.
Will installing solar panels damage my roof?
Solar installers take extra care to not damage your roof or its shingles. When properly installed, the installation of solar panels should not compromise the warranty or health of your roof.
When will I begin to see savings on my utility bill?
You will have a lower electricity bill from your company from the very first month that you activate your system. How much you save depends on how much energy your system can produce. A solar photovoltaic (PV) system can offset all of your electric use if you have a good, sunny site.
The cost of solar will always be more economical than energy solely provided by your utility, saving you tens of thousands over the lifespan of your system.
Are there enough sunny days in Wisconsin for a solar project to be viable?
Having a south-facing roof and minimal shade is the best situation a homeowner can find themselves in; however, with increases in efficiencies, east or west-facing roofs can also produce enough electricity to supply all the needs of a typical home.
The fact that the sun isn’t always shining can be accommodated with net metering. That means on sunny days when you make more than you need, the extra energy you produce goes back to the grid. Your utility will even pay you a small amount, or allow you to credit that amount on a future bill.
In short, despite cloudy days and snow, you will be able to generate enough energy to offset up to 100% of your energy use in Wisconsin.
I have a shaded lot, can I still install solar?
The short answer is, it depends. When an installer visits your house, they measure the amount of sunlight that reaches your roof with a GPS-enabled device.
These precise measurements are taken in multiple spots to determine the location where your solar array will be placed to maximize the system. The amount of shade present is a crucial factor in the productivity of your system. Solar energy can be produced even in a shaded lot, just less of it.
One way to estimate how productive your lot will be is to request a solar assessment through Legacy Solar Co-op. (A free assessment is available to solar group buy participants and Legacy Solar Co-op members.) After collecting your electrical data, a few photos and asking some questions about your site, we will generate a custom solar report. This report outlines the recommended placement of the array, cost range and financial analysis.
If your lot is determined to be too shaded, don’t despair! You can still invest in solar through our Switch 2 Solar Program, consisting of renewable energy credits through Wisconsin solar projects. You can also become a member and enroll in our solar bond investment program to facilitate projects across the state.
How long will my solar system last?
Solar systems are made up of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. Many solar companies are offering solar PV modules with warranties of 25 years. This is indicative of the trust they have in the durability of their panels.
Oftentimes, systems last past the warranty period and last 30-40 years or even longer.
If you are 30 years old and install panels now they can still be making all your electricity after you retire!
Legacy Solar Cooperative of Wisconsin is committed to assisting the growth of solar electricity in Wisconsin. Membership is open to individuals, non-profits, and commercial organizations.