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How to Go Solar. Solar roof panels grants

How to Go Solar. Solar roof panels grants

    solar, roof, panels, grants

    Going Solar in Fairfax County

    Fairfax County encourages residents to invest in solar energy. By using renewable energy like solar instead of fossil fuels, you help reduce pollution and planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. And solar power can pay for itself in 10 to 20 years, so you’ll enjoy reduced energy bills, tax credits and other incentives, including extra protection from power loss during extreme weather when you invest in storage solutions.

    This webpage provides resources for residents interested in installing solar panels in Fairfax County. For more information about the basics of solar energy, your solar options, and questions to ask solar professionals, refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar.

    Solar Benefits

    Fairfax County residents are opting to install solar panels on their homes. Press play to hear from them how they made the switch and how it changed their lives for the better!

    Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun! In addition to reducing your electricity bill, using solar energy reduces your environmental impact and Fairfax County’s carbon footprint. You will also help reduce demand on the electricity grid during peak, sunny hours. Plus, installing solar panels can increase the value of your home. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, every dollar that a solar panel saves you on your electrical bills increases the value of your home by 20.

    Solar Potential

    The first step in getting solar is assessing whether your home or building is a good candidate. A few questions to ask when considering going solar:

    • Is your roof shaded by trees or other obstacles? Direct sunlight for six or more hours a day is ideal.
    • Is your roof relatively new? Solar installations can last 20-25 years, so your roof should be less than five years old.
    • What direction does your roof primarily face? Solar arrays can be configured in many different ways to allow for maximum exposure to sunlight throughout the day but ideally your roof should face south or west for the most exposure.

    You can investigate your property’s solar potential by visiting the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s NOVA Solar Map. You can also estimate the performance of potential solar projects using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator.

    solar, roof, panels, grants

    Finding a Contractor

    Certified solar installers can be found through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners®. Visit the county’s Consumer Services webpage for general tips about hiring a contractor.

    By going through a solar co-op purchasing program, homeowners are granted access to a pre-qualified solar installer for a no-cost evaluation of their property and can take advantage of cost savings should they decide to pursue a solar installation. information on solar co-op purchasing programs can be found below.


    Fairfax County residents should be aware of their rights and the regulations surrounding door-to-door solicitation in the county. If a salesperson comes to your door with information about solar panels or installation, please ask to see their county-issued license before engaging with them. Never provide your personal information (birthdate, social security number, etc.) to a solicitor.

    If you encounter an unlicensed solicitor, please contact the Fairfax County Police non-emergency line at 703-691-2131. information on door-to-door solicitation can be found here.

    Cost and Financing

    Your electricity bill is based on how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity you use. Most homes use between 800 kWh and 1,500 kWh each month depending on weather, home size, energy efficiency and how many electric appliances are used.

    The price of solar electricity is typically expressed in terms of dollars per watt of installed power. Typical pricing for residential systems is in the range of 2.50 to 4.00 per watt, depending on the size and market economics. A 5 kilowatt (5 kW) solar system will produce about 8,000 kWh of electricity per year. At 3 per watt, that system would cost about 15,000 to install.

    By reducing electricity costs and taking advantage of tax incentives, the 15,000 investment can pay for itself in about 10-15 years.

    Residential solar panels can be purchased outright or financed with a loan from a solar installer, bank, or other financial institution.

    Solar Co-Op Purchasing Programs

    Solar group purchasing programs make getting solar easier and less expensive by providing information and benefits to participants. These programs typically offer:

    • A free assessment to find out whether your home is a good candidate for solar installation
    • Bulk discounts on solar systems, ranging from 10 to 15 percent off
    • Access to a qualified solar installer
    • Discounted opportunities to bundle your solar system with electric vehicle charging stations and solar battery storage

    Additionally, some programs offer participants a complimentary, virtual home energy assessment to help improve their home energy performance holistically. Those who decide to pursue solar through a co-op purchasing program typically receive a 10 to 15 percent discount off current consumer rates for solar arrays and systems.


    County Incentives

    Fairfax County offers a number of incentives to encourage residents and businesses to install solar panels. The county’s Land Development Services waives the permit fee for solar permit applications, and the county’s Department of Tax Administration provides a 5-year solar energy equipment tax exemption. To learn about the permitting and inspection process, refer to Land Development Services’ page about Residential Solar Permits.

    Federal Tax Credits

    The federal government currently offers a tax credit for solar PV system installation, to include the costs of the solar panels, contractor labor costs, balance-of-system equipment, and energy storage devices. Systems installed between 2022 and 2032 are eligible for a 30 percent tax credit. The credit will decrease to 26 percent for systems installed in 2033, to 22 percent for systems installed in 2034, and the credit will expire in 2035 unless renewed by Congress. The installation of the system must be complete during the tax year, and there is no maximum amount that can be claimed.

    Solar Rights

    Under Virginia state law (§56-594), residential customers may install systems up to 20 kilowatts and non-residential customers may install systems up to 500 kilowatts. Electric utilities must credit solar panel owners for excess electricity generated through something called net metering. Your solar contractor should coordinate with your electric utility to replace your standard meter with a net meter after your panels are installed. The net meter is bi-directional, tracking electrons flowing both out of and into the grid.

    Under Virginia state law (§67-701), homeowner associations (HOAs) typically cannot prohibit solar installations. However, the law allows reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place, and manner of placement. For more information refer to this Solarize webpage or talk to your solar installer.

    solar, roof, panels, grants

    Under Virginia state law (§55-353), property owners can form solar easements with their neighbors. A solar easement enables you and a neighbor to voluntarily form an agreement under which the neighbor will not shade your property. The easement then applies to later owners of the neighboring property.

    County Solar Policies and Processes

    Solar panels are permitted accessory structures on all developed properties in Fairfax County provided that they serve the property and are subordinate in purpose, area and extent to the building or use served. For more information, refer to the last entry on the Department of Planning and Zoning’s FAQ page.

    How to Go Solar

    There are many options to choose from to power your home with renewables.

    Choosing to go solar is a great way to help solve the climate crisis. There are lots of options for you to consider.

    Which Type of Solar is Right for Me?

    Ground-Mount and Rooftop Systems

    Traditional rooftop and ground-mounted solar systems are best for residents open to purchasing and owning solar panels. These systems can have higher upfront costs, and maintenance usually is up to the owners.

    Former Mayor Suzanne Jones Checks out a rooftop solar installation in Boulder

    Shares in a Solar Garden

    In Colorado, Xcel Energy customers have access to community solar gardens. These often provide similar bill credits to roof-top or ground-mount systems, but don’t require roof space on your home. This is a great option for people who rent, live in multi-family buildings or who don’t want to own solar.

    A team of residents install a solar garden north of Boulder

    Solar Panels in Ohio: Best Companies, Costs and Incentives

    Looking to cut your energy costs in the Buckeye State? Here’s what to know before you buy solar panels.

    Faith Foushee is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication, covering energy-efficient products, renewables and other energy topics. She enjoys learning about new energy technology and helping others save money. Faith graduated from High Point University with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication.

    Electricity rates in the US have increased significantly in the past year. Meanwhile, the cost of residential solar panels has decreased by 52% in the last 10 years, and there are more available incentives to offset solar costs.

    While solar power provided one-fifth of Ohio’s renewable energy generation in 2021, renewables only accounted for 4% of the state’s electricity generation. That doesn’t mean your home has to run on natural gas or coal.

    You can lower your carbon footprint and save on energy costs by switching to solar on your rooftop. Residents who choose to go solar can also access incentives. such as net metering programs.

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    Here’s a look at the cost of going solar in Ohio and some of the top solar installers operating in the state.

    Average cost of solar panels in Ohio

    Here’s a look at the average cash price for a 5-kilowatt system before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    How to pay for solar panels in Ohio

    As with any major purchase, you will want to think about where the money for the panels will come from. And the money from the tax credit won’t be yours until after you’ve filed your taxes for the year the panels are installed.

    Here are some ways to pay for solar panels:

    • Solar loan: Your solar installer likely has a relationship with a bank or other financial institution to offer a loan designed for solar panels. This can be a great deal, but you’ll want to get multiple offers to ensure the rates and terms are the best.
    • Cash: This is the simplest approach, but it works only if you happen to have tens of thousands of dollars sitting around in a bank account. If you don’t have that yet, but you want solar panels in the future, consider saving money in a high-yield savings account. Interest rates are high right now, and this can help you save faster.
    • Personal loan: You can also borrow the money through a personal loan. The main difference between a personal loan and a home equity loan is that a personal loan is typically unsecured. That means your house isn’t at risk. The downside is they tend to have shorter terms and higher interest rates than home equity products.
    • Home equity: You don’t have to use a loan from your solar company. Financial institutions offer home equity loans and lines of credit, aka HELOCs, that are commonly used for home improvement projects. These loans can be used for basically any purpose, and they may be a good fit for your solar project. Shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal.

    Ohio solar panel incentives and rebates

    Adding solar panels to your home is a considerable investment, even with decreased solar prices. Solar tax credits and incentives make choosing green energy more affordable in Ohio. The federal solar tax credit, known as the Residential Clean Energy Credit. offers 30% of the cost of a solar system as a credit when you file your taxes. The credit applies to solar systems purchased from the beginning of 2022 through 2032.

    solar, roof, panels, grants

    Ohio offers additional incentives from the state and local governments. The following are a few you should know.

    Ohio solar incentives

    ProgramDescriptionA 3% interest rate reduction on loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy home upgrades, including solar systems.A program where excess energy generated from your solar system is sold back to the utility company for credits on your next electricity bill. Check with your local utility company for net metering details.Owners or lessees of renewable clean energy projects, like solar systems, may qualify for property tax exemptions. Qualified Energy Projects are exempt from taxation if the project meets exemption requirements.Apply through the IRS for a 30% federal tax credit for solar systems installed from the beginning of 2022 through 2032. The credit decreases to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034. Unless it’s renewed, the credit expires in 2035.

    The best solar panel companies in Ohio

    According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, Ohioans have 56 solar installers. Some solar companies hire installers, while others keep the entire process in-house. Ask your selected solar company about its process, so you know who to contact from start to finish. We narrowed down the best solar companies in Ohio based on industry trends and customer reviews.

    ADT Solar

    Founded in 2011, ADT Solar installs solar panels and batteries in 24 US states. The solar company prioritizes customer satisfaction with a 25-year manufacturer warranty and a 25-year production guarantee. Additionally, ADT Solar provides a price-match guarantee to ensure you get the best market price.

    ADT Solar installs quality name-brand products like the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase microinverters. The company offers solar systems for cash purchases or solar loans. ADT does not offer solar leases or PPAs.

    Palmetto Solar

    As one of the largest solar companies in the US, Palmetto Solar also installs solar systems in Ohio. The company is committed to making green energy accessible to homeowners and businesses by offering many financing options, including cash purchases, solar leases and PPAs. Choose from top solar panel manufacturers like Q Cells and REC Alpha, which include a 25-year performance warranty.

    Palmetto’s digital experience differentiates the company by providing online access to your solar system’s information. Utilize the Palmetto Solar account to track your performance, receive insights and request support.

    SunPower Solar

    Founded in 1985, SunPower is CNET’s pick for best overall solar company. You can view potential money savings with a free online solar system estimate and consultation.

    Financing options from SunPower include cash purchase, solar lease or solar loan. Solar system products come from top manufacturers, including Maxeon and Enphase, with a 25-year system warranty.

    Local Ohio solar installers

    You don’t have to go with a major national company to install your solar panels. Many smaller, local companies offer solar panel installation and other services. Here are a couple we found.

    Ohio Power Solutions

    Ohio Power Solutions is a family-owned local solar installer headquartered in London, Ohio. The company serves cities such as Columbus, Dayton and surrounding areas. Its goal is to provide accessible and affordable solar products to meet customers’ needs.

    Ohio Power Solutions installs Silfab and Q Cell solar panels, which both come with at least a 25-year warranty on the products. Solar battery options include SolarEdge and Enphase. The company includes a 15-year quality-of-work warranty for proper installation and service. The main benefit of choosing a local, family-owned installer is that the entire solar installation process is completed in-house, from sale to activating your system, instead of having subcontractors or other companies involved.


    Since 2009, Yellowlite has provided solar energy systems to residential and commercial customers in Ohio. Start with a free consultation and evaluation detailing recommended products, system size and 30-year potential savings.

    Yellowlite’s certified professionals install name-brand products from companies like LG, SunPower and Tesla. The company offers a 10-year quality-of-work warranty in addition to the solar products manufacturer warranty.

    Installation factors to consider

    Here are five things to consider when deciding if installing a solar system is right for you.

    Homeowners have more decision-making power than renters when it comes to making changes to the property. Solar options for renters include community solar programs, which are subscription-style services from companies like Arcadia.Solar panels work best when they absorb direct sunlight for at least four hours daily. The panels will generate less energy if your home is shaded most of the day.Installers should inspect your roof before you move forward to determine any required maintenance and repairs.HOAs are allowed to restrict or prohibit solar panels in Ohio. Review your HOA or other neighborhood association rules regarding solar devices before installation.Check if your homeowner’s insurance policy includes solar panels. If not, contact your agency.

    Ohio solar panels FAQs

    Are solar panels worth it in Ohio?

    Yes. Due to rising electricity rates, solar systems can save money over time on electricity costs. The upfront cost of a solar system may be high, depending on your method of financing, but loans, leases or community solar may be suitable for just about any budget.

    Solar roof panels grants

    A business in Washington may benefit from adding a solar system in many of the same ways that a home-owner benefits, plus there are additional federal tax benefits for a business.

    The primary difference between home solar and solar for a business is size and scale. In general, a business uses more electricity and has more roof space available thus the solar system is larger.

    When planning for solar, the first question is how much electricity is needed? A business should first reduce its usage of electricity by making cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council is an excellent resource for finding ways to reduce electrical consumption through efficiency as is your local utility.

    UW Seattle Mercer Dormitory Solar Project

    The next question is how much electricity can your site produce? The online calculator PVWatts can be used to begin to answer this and the solar site evaluation from a solar design and installation company will yield a more site specific calculation. How much electricity your rooftop can generate is affected by the direction it faces, the pitch, and the amount of sunny space available.

    The price of going solar presented to you by the solar design and installation company will be based upon the solar equipment and the complexity of the installation. Racking for solar on a flat roof is usually higher than it would be for a roof that is tilted.

    Federal Income Tax Credit

    In August 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act which includes an extension to the federal income tax credit (ITC) and raises it back to 30% for installations under 1 Megawatt done between 2022-2032. A business that has a tax liability upon filing can deduct 30% of the cost of solar energy system from its business taxes. The installation of the system must be complete during the tax year.

    It also includes a stand-alone ITC for batteries. This is expected to be a great incentive for solar storage and will likely be a boost for microgrids.

    If the system is over 1 MG, it can still qualify for 30% for projects meeting prevailing wages registered apprenticeship requirements.

    Thirty percent for solar and batteries can be combined with one or more adders:

    • 10 % adder for meeting certain domestic content requirements for steel, iron, or other manufactured products
    • 10% adder for location in “Energy Community”, for ex. located on a brownfield or a closed mine or power plant, or community with large population depending for employment or taxes from mining or fuel-processing for employment (guidance still needed and likely to be very restrictive)
    • Location in Low or Middle Income (LMI) – limited to 1.8 GW/year for 2023-2024 (additional information will be issued by the Department of the Treasury)
    • 10% for location in low-income community or Tribal land AND
    • 20% for projects that are part of a qualified low-income residential building project or a qualified low-income economic benefit project

    MACRS Accelerated Depreciation on Federal Income Taxes

    Businesses may depreciate 85% of the cost of a solar electric system following the five-year Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). The five-year depreciation schedule can be found in the most recent version of IRS Publication 946.

    Washington State Sales and Use Tax Exemptions

    Beginning January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2029, the purchaser of eligible machinery and equipment for solar energy systems greater than 100 kW but no more than 500 kW may be eligible for a tax exemption, in the form of a remittance, in an amount equal to 50% of the state and local sales and use tax paid, if the Department of Labor and Industries (LI) certifies that the project meets certain labor and procurement standards and the purchaser provides certain documentation.

    Beginning July 1, 2019, through December 31, 2029, the purchaser of eligible machinery and equipment for solar energy systems smaller than 100 kW in size is entitled to an exemption Senate in an amount equal to 100% of the state and local sales and use tax paid if the purchaser meets certain requirements. Click to the bill report as passed during the 2019 legislative session.

    Beginning June 2022, through June, 2032, persons constructing solar canopies of at least 50,000 square feet placed on large-scale commercial parking lots at qualifying commercial centers can apply for sales and use tax deferral. information. Solar Canopies Application for Sales and Use Tax Deferral. RCW 82.90

    Net Metering

    • When more power is generated than the business needs at that moment, the excess power is credited to the business utility account to be used to reduce later bills; account zeroes out once a year on April 30 and a new year starts.
    • Due to the larger scale of commercial solar, it is important to work closely with your utility from the outset as the utility may need to make local improvements such as a new transformer to be able to handle the added local power.

    Utilities Solar Incentive Programs

    A number of utilities have solar incentives for their business or residential customers. Check with your local utility about what support might be available.

    Grants and other opportunities for businesses, public buildings and more

    Check our Grant and Funding Opportunities page for the latest opportunities.

    Washington State Department of Commerce

    Businesses located in rural areas can apply for Commerce’s Rural Clean Energy grants. Solar is an eligible technology but solar without storage will be considered Tier 2

    Community Solar Expansion program

    Business can participate in the Community Solar Expansion program which provides 100 M in solar incentive payments but the benefits of projects must flow to low-income individuals and/or low-income service providers. Learn more.

    United States Department of Energy

    The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds early-stage research and development in three technology areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), and systems integration with the goal of improving the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid. Click to learn more about current and upcoming projects.

    The mission of the Office of Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy (EERE) is to create and sustain American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy. Its vision is a strong and prosperous America powered by clean, affordable, and secure energy. Click to learn more about current and upcoming projects.

    Rural Energy for America Program

    The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development is a federal agency tasked with administering the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP provides grants (25% of project cost) and loan guarantees for renewable energy (a majority of which are solar installations) and energy efficiency projects undertaken by businesses. Next round of applications due on March 31 and October 31, 2023. Click to be taken to the REAP website for more information.

    On January 28, 2023, Solar Washington hosted a webinar with Rural Development’s Mica McLean who explained the REAP application process and grant criteria. Listen to the webinar.

    Additional resources

    • In partnership with the USDA, Spark Northwest works to assist rural communities in Washington with renewable energy development.
    • The Pierce (County) Conservation District also has a REAP assistance program in partnership with Spark Northwest.
    • Along with Pierce Conservation District, the Snohomish Conservation District has developed a free state-wide assistance program for farmers and rural business owners (also in partnership with Spark Northwest).

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