Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Solar Electric Systems

Solar Electric Systems – Shopping For a New Solar Home

With high energy prices, concern over global warming and a growing desire for energy independence, more and more home builders are integrating solar electric systems into their new homes because buyers are asking for it. This trend is likely to make solar a new home feature just like energy-efficient windows or insulation.
Even with the near-total collapse of the U.S. housing market, home builder adoption of solar has ticked up significantly. Home buyers continue to focus on energy-efficient homes and cost savings.. As a result, more home developers are offering solar energy systems as either an option or standard feature in their communities.
Homeowners can take advantage of rolling the cost of solar electric systems into low-interest mortgages. They also benefit from rebates, tax credits and tax deductions to realize a net cost savings within their first month of ownership.
Finally, a robust solar home market benefits society by creating greater energy independence, reducing air pollution and, over time, providing a more stable, affordable energy supply.
Advantages of Solar in New Home Purchases
When you select a new solar home, you’re typically getting the most efficiently installed solar electric systems for the lowest upfront cost. With proper planning and control by the home builder and their solar contracting partner, you’ll get a high-performance and complete solar energy solution. And, you’ll get the peace-of-mind knowing your solar modules are backed by a long-term warranty that’s usually 25 years.
In fact, home builder surveys continually show home buyer satisfaction with solar-ready and solar-equipped new homes. Word-of-mouth and referrals play a big role in promoting sales of new solar homes. One home builder survey has shown over 90 percent of new solar home buyers would recommend solar electric systems in new homes to a friend.
Given the aesthetic options, lower energy costs and environmental impact of new home solar electric systems, solar homeowners are very likely to encourage others to follow their lead. These benefits are outlined in greater detail below.
Integrated Aesthetics
Today’s solar systems come in a range of configurations. PV systems with modules mounted on an existing rooftop are still the most common. However, new home construction can benefit from integration methods such as “tile inset.”
With a tile inset system, the modules are mounted in-line with the roof tile and present an attractive option for the home buyer.
Financial Incentives and Cost Savings
Buying a new home that integrates solar hot water, solar electric or both and rolling the cost into the mortgage increases your monthly payment only slightly. By including the price of new solar electric systems in a mortgage, with today’s extremely low interest rates, there has never been a better time to install solar on your new home.
Plus, the solar investment often results in an immediate positive cash flow for the home buyer. In other words, the higher mortgage payment is offset by lower utility bills from the very beginning.
Some mortgage lenders even credit a home’s energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. In this scenario, borrowers may be able to stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans to qualify for a larger mortgage.
In addition to the above financing perks, solar electric systems on new homes can offer significant incentives and energy savings. Currently, government incentives include the following:
Homebuyers can receive a one-time federal tax credit equal to 30% of the system price.
Arizona offers a one-time tax credit of $1,000 on a residential solar system.
In terms of energy cost savings, new home buyers can expect the following:
Combined with energy-efficiency, solar is typically cash flow positive for most homebuyers in first month.
Many homeowners see a 25 to 75 percent, or more, decrease in monthly utility costs.
Most new solar home communities also install other energy efficiency features that complement the performance of solar electric systems and further reduce utility bills.
Solar electric systems can protect against rising energy costs, lower monthly electric bills and help predict monthly expenses.
And, in terms of home value:
A residential solar system may increase the resale value of a home by helping it appreciate faster.
An energy-efficient, solar home has a perception of higher quality.
Purchasing a new solar home saves you money. But, it also provides an added environmental benefit. Helping the environment by using clean, renewable energy becomes a special by-product of the sale for many buyers. In fact, home buyers who primarily bought a new solar home to save money, often cite the environmental benefits after the fact.
For example, many homeowners feel they become part of the solution and are doing their part for the environmental movement. At the same time they’re reducing their electric bills by one-third or more and they’re reducing their carbon footprint. That’s a powerful combination of “feel-good” benefits.
In addition, numerous homeowners have acknowledged they feel “different” in a solar community because they’re making a difference. There’s already a common thread through the neighborhood and neighbors start experiencing a greater sense of community.
These intangible benefits prove to be important to many buyers. They help the buyer have a positive impression of the builder. Plus, many buyers believe they would have had a missed opportunity if they did not purchase their solar home. For example, studies show solar homeowners are more satisfied and tend to recommend their builder to others.