The 2018 Solar Tariff: Everything You Need to Know
On January 22, President Donald Trump signed off on a solar tariff on solar panels being imported into the United States. The tariff is 30% and will be applied to all solar panels made outside of the United States. We have received a lot of questions regarding how this solar tariff will affect Shine Solar and how it will affect our customers. Here are some of the questions that we have received this week.
How will the solar tariff affect current customers who have already had solar installed?
Great news! All of our customers who already have solar panels on their roof and are producing their own energy right now, will not be affected at all. This tariff is only on imported solar panels once the tariff comes into effect (read below).
When will the tariff come into effect?
The tariff will come into effect after 2.5 gigawatts have been imported. We believe this could take at least a couple months as 2.5 gigawatts is A LOT of energy. To put that into perspective, one gigawatt is equal to 4.6 million solar panels (with an average panel size being 295 watts). Or 2 gigawatts is equal to 200 million LED lightbulbs. Because the tariff takes effect after 2.5 gigawatts have been imported, we have some time before we will see the effects of this tariff. Additionally, consider the fact that there is already existing inventory sitting in warehouses all across the United States that needs to be exhausted before new inventory orders are processed.
After the first 2.5 gigawatts have been imported, the tariff will go down 5% for the next four years, until it will be at 15% in 2021.
How will the solar tariff affect prices for residential solar?
The solar tariff will be absorbed little by little at each stage along the solar lifecycle, from the manufacturer to resellers us at Shine Solar to you, the customer. This breaks up the 30% to make it more manageable for each organization. With the tariff being eaten up bit by bit, this leaves our customers with an estimated 3-4% increase in price on their solar panels.
This may sound scary at first. But when you compare that small increase with how much solar prices have gone down in the last five years (or even just in the last year), solar is still more affordable than it was a year ago, even with the solar tariff. In the last five years, solar prices have gone down by 55% as technology has developed and become more efficient. This is one of the reasons why the solar industry is booming right now. This is also why we aren’t too concerned about this new solar tariff.
Are there companies in the United States that manufacture solar panels?
Yes, there are domestic companies that manufacture solar panels. However, we have found that the products are not up to standard or as efficient as the imported solar panels. This tariff can be a great opportunity for those domestic companies to work to further improve their products. This will also be a great opportunity for more solar panel manufactures to get started here in the United States. Despite the challenges that will come from this tariff, we are excited to see the changes that will happen in our industry because of it.
If you have more questions about the solar tariff, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to answer your questions.
When you start researching about going solar, there can be a lot of terms that don’t make sense. Don’t worry, this is why we are here. We are here to help you understand all of the phrases involved with going solar, so you can make a fully informed decision about making the switch. Today the phrase that we are going to be looking at is Grid Parity.
What is Grid Parity?
Grid parity is when the cost of an alternative source of energy (solar and wind) cost the same or less than obtaining energy through the grid (coal and natural gas, etc). Analysts determine when a state or country has reached grid parity by comparing their levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). This measurement looks at the lifetime cost and amount of energy generated from a certain form of energy, for example solar. This means when finding the LCOE, you would look at everything from the first watt your solar panels produced when you turned them on, to the very last watt.
You may be wondering, when will solar reach grid parity or have we already reached it? The important thing to understand regarding grid parity is that it’s not a single event that happens, but a process that is ongoing as utility prices change and as the cost to go solar continues to drop. That said, according to GTM, there are already 20 states in the U.S. that have reached grid parity and the rest are on their way to reaching it. This means that in 20 states on average it either costs the same or less to go solar than to use the grid. That is incredible news for the solar industry!
Here is an animation video about wind and solar spreading across the globe.
We love seeing our customers save money and as solar technology continues to develop and the costs continue to go down, the more people will be able to save by switching over to solar.
Why does Grid Parity matter?
One of the false beliefs that people have regarding grid parity is that as soon as we reach grid parity, that everyone will immediately start buying solar. While the popularity of solar will definitely rise as we reach grid parity, this is a bit of an exaggeration. Remember, grid parity is more of a process than a onetime event.
Rather, as our states and country reach grid parity, solar will becomes more financially competitive with the conventional energy sources. Then solar will become available to more people than before. There will definitely be more and more people making the switch. However, it will likely be a process over a space of time, versus an immediate change. As solar becomes more financially competitive, it is likely that there will be more solar developments and financial opportunities.
At Shine Solar, we meet so many people who find that solar is a better option for their energy needs. Every day, we hear about our customers who are saving on their utility bills. They have already reached grid parity in their home. As Arkansas and Missouri reach grid parity as a state, solar will simply become available to more people. Contact us today to learn about your household achieving grid parity.
Kansas is where we get a lot of our resources here in the United States. From food that is grown in the state to the energy that the wind turbines produce, there are a lot of valuable resources in the state.
While solar is still working to get a foothold in the market in Kansas, there is a lot of room for growth in the solar industry. Where there are parts of the state receiving the same amount of sunlight as southern California! So today we are going to give you the rundown of going solar in Kansas.
Wide Open Plains
There is a reason that Kansas has so many crops there, the state gets a lot of sun! On average Kansas will receive 2,922 hours of sunlight in a year with 128 clear days. That is a lot of hours that your solar panels could be making energy to power your home!
Throughout the day, Kansas receives 65% of the sunlight from sunrise to sunset. That is a little more than the nation’s average. It is time for the homeowners of Kansas to take advantage of all this sunshine.
The price to going solar has been dropping around the world as technology has developed making solar panels more effective and less expensive. In Kansas, the price for going solar has gone down 55% in the last five years! This is great news for homeowners who are looking to get solar panels. As the prices have dropped, more financial opportunities have become available to help everyone afford solar.
Shine Solar homeowners can receive a loan with $0 down and you don’t have to start paying back your loan for the first 12-18 months! This makes going solar possible for just about everyone in the state. Contact us today to get a free solar analysis to you can learn more about your financial opportunities.
A benefit that all homeowners who go solar receive right now is the 30% Federal tax credit. Through this Federal credit you can receive a tax credit that is equal to approximately 30% of your total solar investment. You can then put that extra money toward your solar loan to help pay that off sooner.
Currently, there is a lot of debate regarding solar incentives and legislation to support solar homeowners in Kansas right now. As it seems that some policies may be changing, we will keep you up to date on the topic.
However, one great incentive that Kansas offers is a property tax exemption for homeowners with solar panels! When you install solar panels, the value of your home will increase dramatically, but thanks to this tax exemption, you won’t have to pay more taxes despite the increase in your equity.
On top of that, Kansas also offers net metering, where utility companies track how much energy you produce and how much of that you actually use. Your utility company will then give you credit on next month’s bill for the excess energy that you send back into the grid. You can learn more about net metering by reading here.
We love servicing our homeowners in Kansas and are so excited about our new office in Kansas City, MO. Contact us today to learn more about going solar in the Sunflower State.
How to Find the Best Solar Panel Installer in Kansas City MO
Are you looking for a power resource that is affordable and environment-friendly? Tired of paying increasingly high electric utility bills each month?
Solar energy is the perfect solution. Installation might seem a little high, but solar power pays for itself in the long run. It’s a clean, safe, and renewable energy source.
The question is: which Kansas City solar provider is the best one? Which one should you invest years of your time and money in?
Looking for the best choice can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some of the top tips to find the recommended provider in the city:
Make Sure They’re a Certified Expert
There’s one thing you’ll know for sure when scouting Kansas City solar providers: they all claim they’re the best. It’s a marketing ploy to attract more customers.
How can you tell if they’re indeed the best solar provider in the area?
First off, look for a business permit. Right after that, you need to look for a safety and sanitation certificate. You should then ask for certificates that prove they’ve had the training in this industry, such as a NABCEP certificate.
Even if the Kansas City solar provider shows some certificates, take the time to scrutinize them further. Make sure that those permits and licenses are all valid and not yet expired.
What about Kansas City Solar Incentives?
You move out of the electric grid when you turn to solar resources. This means you’re helping the city cut down on dependence on coal and other expenses. You might qualify for tax incentives like the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
If you do qualify, will the company handle the paperwork for you? Do they honor these tax incentives in the first place?
With that in mind, will the company also handle all of the legal paperwork for you?
Installing solar panels and the electric system requires permits, zoning regulation approval, and inspection approval.
What Kind of Warranty Do They Offer?
One important incentive to take into consideration is a warranty. This is your fail-safe in case anything ever happens to your solar panels and electric system.
Don’t ever sign up for a Kansas City solar provider if they don’t offer a warranty.
The first factor to know is how long the warranty remains valid.
The goal is for a warranty that lasts at least ten years and more. A new installation is less likely to fail so a short warranty isn’t going to be useful.
Even if the company does offer a long-term warranty, what would happen if they go out of business while the warranty is still valid?
What if 10 years from now they shut down and that’s when your panels break down. Who honors the warranty?
Also, make it a point to check what kind of coverage you get.
Does the warranty include everything or is only for the equipment like the panels and generators? Does the warranty include coverage during installation and maintenance fees?
Is there some kind of warranty if the system doesn’t generate the amount of power promised? Will they refund your cash or repair the system if it doesn’t give you what they advertised?
Read Online Reviews
People form an opinion about a company after reading an average of seven online reviews. This means you shouldn’t trust or reject a solar provider until you’ve read a few reviews that help form a solid idea of how they are.
Reading reviews will give you a better impression of the solar company you intend to work with. They can give you an insight into the good and bad things about the company. This lets you prepare in advance.
Keep in mind that not all reviews are honest. Some might come from competitors trying to discredit the company, or employees aiming to boost the company’s reputation.
Fake reviews are relatively easy to spot, but to make sure, don’t rely on only one review. Make it a habit to read six or more reviews before making a decision.
Talk to Previous Customers
Online reviews might not be enough. You will also want to get factual testimonies from previous clients. They can tell you firsthand how the experience was hiring the company.
If possible, try to visit and see the level of work and polish the company did. You can see for yourself if this company meets your expectations and passes your standards. You’ll figure out if they are worth the price they demand.
Even the best companies with the best reputation can have a few bad spots. They might have arduous procedures and paperwork to fill up. Others might be picky in regards to payment options and insurances.
Previous clients can tell you about these important details that an online review might not.
Check Their Customer Service
Another good way to test a Kansas City solar provider is to call their customer service hotline.
Try to gauge how friendly the company is and how well they know their work by talking to a representative. See if they’re indeed an authority in the industry.
If the customer service agent gets irate or lacks the knowledge to answer your questions, then the company might not be the best choice. If they fail with customer service, think how much worse it could get with the main job.
One of the first things you should ask is for a price quote. You’ll want to know how much a solar installation can cost you.
Hire Only the Best
Found a provider that passes all of these tests? Are you still unsure about the cost of installation or what kind of panels you should use?
Don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll get you back on track. We’re the top solar provider in Kansas City, and that’s a claim we’re proud to standby. We’ve grown over the years and our services are also available in Missouri and Arkansas.
With our help, you can move away from the grid and start living with clean, affordable, and renewable energy.
Top 6 Reasons to Install Solar Panels in Your Home
In 2008, solar installations in the U.S. produced a total of 1.2 gigawatts. A decade later, we’re talking about 30GW, enough to power just over 5 million households in the country.
Clearly, the number of people embracing solar energy is increasing by the day. By 2022, solar is forecast to make up 5 percent of total electricity generation in the U.S.
If you’re among the people debating whether or not to go solar, we’re here to settle your doubts. Here in this article, we’re revealing a couple of reasons to make the switch to solar power.
Let’s shine some light, shall we?
1. Cut Your Energy Bills
Is saving money on bills one of your most elusive resolutions?
Well, you now have an ideal strategy that can help you lower your energy bills. All you have to do is go solar!
Let’s start here. Every month, Americans spend at least $112 on electricity. Spread this across an entire year, and you’re looking at least $1,344. Over a decade you would have spent well over $10,000 on electricity.
On the other side, apart from the installation and periodic maintenance costs of solar panels, you’ll have no energy bills to worry about.
What’s more, the cost of solar installation keeps going down, and today you can power up your home with as little as $10,000. It all depends on the amount of solar your local area receives, as well as your energy consumption needs. But in the long run, the pay off will be worth it.
Even if you opt to connect your home to a utility solar power grid (requires fewer in-home equipment installations), you’ll still have lower energy bills (about $70 for the average consumer).
2. Consistent Energy Bills
Let’s say you choose to go on-grid. You’ll still be receiving energy bills, because a utility company will be supplying your solar power. Consequently, you’ll also receive monthly bills!
However, you certainly won’t be frowning the same way you do when you receive other energy bills. Besides expecting a lower amount every month, you can also expect a consistent amount. No more drastic shifts that make you question the sincerity of your power your supplier!
With a consistent energy bill, it’s easier to draw and stick to a domestic budget.
3. Earn Tax Credits
Still on money, how often do you find yourself researching the personal tax credits you’re entitled to, especially when tax season hits?
Tax credits are a means to save money. They reduce the amount of tax you owe.
The good news is when you go solar, you earn yourself a tax credit. You can deduct up to 30 percent of the cost of the installation from your federal taxes. The Solar Investment Tax Credit is designed to motivate both individuals and businesses to embrace renewable sources of energy.
In addition to the federal tax credit, states also offer various credits, rebates, and savings.
4. Play a Big Role in Protecting the Environment
Are you among the 58 percent of Americans who believe climate change is caused by human activities? If you’re, switching to solar power will help you play a role in saving the planet.
But how exactly will solar power adoption help save the planet?
For starters, buildings account for about 39 percent of all carbon emissions. When you go solar, your property’s carbon emissions will reduce drastically, since solar is a clean, recyclable source of energy.
Also, you’ll no longer be relying on power from plants that use non-renewable sources of electricity (fossil fuels and crude oil-based petroleum).
Picture this: the more solar-powered homes and businesses we have, the fewer the customers these power plants will have, right? So, if tens of millions of homes are connected solar power, the demand for non-renewable energy will decline, meaning these plants will gradually have to produce less power.
The net effect? Reduced power plant emissions!
5. Increased Property Value
Even if you don’t plan to sell your property, it’s in your best interest to ensure its value keeps increasing. Who knows, perhaps you’ll want to cash in on a home equity loan during your retirement years!
Anyway, there are a couple of things you can do to increase your property’s value. Even though the value-adding powers of kitchen and bathroom remodels are well-documented, newer measures, like smart and green technologies, are taking over.
The modern, environmental-conscious buyer wants a “green” property. In fact, 72 percent of millennials – the largest generation in the States – consider the sustainability of a product/property when shopping!
Making your property solar powered is a sure way to increase its value and make it a hot property when you decide to sell.
6. Easy to Get Your Home Powered
Some of the top reasons that hold back potential solar consumers from going solar include having an existing connection to another power source, and the thought that solar installation takes time.
If you think that it will take several days for you to go solar fully, we’re here to tell you that’s not correct. As long as you have the funds ready, installing the entire system will take one to two days!
In fact, the only thing you need to do is to find a reputable solar installation company to address your concerns and do the job right.
Go Solar and Live the Future, Now!
Inevitably, the world will run out of coal and other sources of non-renewable energy. When this time comes – and it’s sooner than you think – you will have no choice but to go solar or adopt other forms of renewable energy.
Why not make the leap today as start reaping the benefits as soon as tomorrow?
If you live in Kansas City and are ready to make the switch, come to us at Shine Solar and we’ll connect your home to the power source of the future.
Here at Shine Solar, education is our number one goal as solar is still so new in the Midwest. This is why we often share what savings some of our clients are receiving so you can learn the truth regarding solar savings. For example, one of our favorite videos is this one, which shows a customer’s utility bill over three months.
Our customer sent us his 3 recent electric bills, and each one was for about $15/month. That's right… after GOING SOLAR, the total amount he pays the electric company every month is only $15! Hundreds of homeowners in Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri have gone solar and are experiencing similar results. I explain it all in this video!
The questions we always get with this video is, “How is their utility bill the same price of $15 for three months in a row? That can’t be the truth.”
This $15 charge isn’t from the electricity this customer is using, but is actually the connection fee the utility company charges each month.
What is the connection fee?
The connection fee is the amount your utility company charges each month for you to be connected to their grid. When people install solar panels onto their homes, they often stay connected to their utility company. Their utility company then acts as a backup for their home if they ever use more energy than they are producing. This also allows customers to take advantage of net metering, where you receive credit for any excess energy that you send back into the grid. You can read more about net metering here.
Thanks to net metering, when you receive your electricity bill at the end of the month it is likely that you will only see your connection fee.
The current debate regarding the connection fee is that some utility companies are raising their connection fees to make up for the money they are losing from residents going solar. This has been a huge debate in states like California and Arizona. However, since solar is still so new to the Midwest, there hasn’t been too much of this happening here.
And it is this very price uncertainty that has led millions of people to choose solar power. The sun continues to provide a free source of energy. Solar panels continue to drop in price (80% since 2008!). And, the best news of all, solar payments don’t randomly increase. Solar payments remain the same price.
Why do we have it?
You may be wondering, “Why do we stay connected to the grid if they will charge us these connection fees?”. Right now, the technology for solar battery backup is not cost-effective. So staying on the grid and paying these connection fees is actually the better and cheaper option right now.
But don’t worry, as solar battery technology develops, there will always be the opportunity to go off the grid.
Receive a free solar analysis today to learn about your future savings from going solar.
Increasing Your Home Equity: Another Benefit of Going Solar
How Solar Increases Your Home Equity
One benefit to going solar that we haven’t discussed a lot here is that when you install a solar system on your home, your home equity increases. Now this isn’t just a little increase in your home value. This is an increase that can be equal to the amount you pay for your solar system. So let’s look at how going solar increases the value of your home.
How much your home value increases
A recent study has found that homes with solar increase in value by about $3 per watt. So if a home has a 5kW system, that is 5,000 watts, then the home value will sell for $15,000 more than the original price of the home. (This is the national average and will depend on each home and solar system.) Often times, this will be almost equal to the amount you invest in solar in the first place.
Another study said when you invest in solar you will receive a 97% return on that investment when you sell your home. This is a great return for an investment in your home and will make your investment worth it if you sell your home in the future.
How buyers benefit from purchasing a home with solar
If you are looking at buying a home with solar, you may be wondering if it is worth it.
Here are some reasons why it will be a great investment for you as you purchase your new home:
As electricity prices increase, you will be immune to the rate hikes
You will see savings from the first day in your new home
There will be savings throughout the years you own the home
How sellers benefit from investing in solar
Going solar is a big investment and knowing that you could someday move, can make it a tough decision. You want to see the benefits of your investment. Well, no fear, because when you go solar, even if you are planning on selling sometime in the future, you will see huge benefits.
When you go solar, you will start seeing savings from day one.
You will be saving money on your electricity bill and avoiding increases in utility rates.
A study has found that on average, homes with solar sell 20x faster than other homes.
You will also have the added premium, that is on average $15,000, added to the original selling price of your home.
When you sell, you can potentially receive a full return of your solar investment.
There are a lot of reasons to go solar and this is just another benefit that comes from investing in your own system. If you would like to learn how solar will benefit you, contact us here.