/ by Joe Cunningham
5 Things to Know Before Going Solar Nothing shines brighter than the sun in the Valley, especially this time of year. Welcome to pool and patio season, which is also sadly the season of sky-high electric bills. Many folks have turned to solar in an effort to help the environment as well as to keep energy bills at bay. But, change is scary. And those panels seem daunting, right? Or do they… Here are some things to evaluate when weighing whether or not to consider solar this summer – or down the line. 1. Bills. Bills. Bills. No, this is not just a classic Destiny’s Child song; it is the reality of life. We all have bills. And anyone who has lived here a few summers knows that summer electric bills make up a large portion of one’s budget all year long. So, the first consideration in thinking about solar is knowing it means long-term savings – eventually in the thousands – when it comes to the bottom line. 2. Credit Due In addition to the impact on one’s short-term bills, qualified local residents who install solar are eligible for both state and federal incentives. Currently, the state of Arizona provides a 10% tax credit, up to $1,000, in order to offset the cost of installation. Additionally, home-
owners can take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit through the end of 2019.
ally. And let’s not even get started on the negative health effects of carbon emissions!
3. Farewell Fossil Fuels Don’t care about the bottom line when it comes to the bank account or incentives? Then how about this: Unlike conventional energy, which relies on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, solar energy does not emit any harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.
5. You Aren’t Alone in Asking Questions Phoenix averages 3,872 hours of sunshine per year, thus making the Valley of the Sun a prime choice when it comes to maximizing the use of solar energy. You are in the majority considering this option, and weighing the pros and cons. After all, more direct sunlight equals more energy. However, there are other several factors that could affect energy production including the location of the panels, condition of the roof, orientation of the sun, quality of equipment, excessive shading and outdoor temperatures.
4. Carbon Emission Evaporated Know the facts, even beyond the above; a typical residential solar panel system will eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year — the equivalent of planting more than 100 trees annu-
Joe Cunningham is co-founder and director of operations for Sunny Energy. He is also president of the Distributed Energy Resource Alliance (DERA). For more, visit www.sunnyenergy.solar.