Cost of Solar Panels in NJ
How Much do Solar Panels Cost in New Jersey?
Solar panels in New Jersey cost somewhere between $2.68 and $2.88 per watt. Most solar panels are 250 watts, meaning an average solar panel will cost between $670 and $720. If a home is to be self-sufficient (meaning they draw no power from the “grid” and rely solely on solar panels), it will need something between 20 and 30 solar panels, putting your total cost of solar panels between $13,400 and $21,600. And yes, that’s a lot of money, but before you write off solar panels as being too expensive, lets take a look at some of the rebates, incentives and writeoffs that are available that can take literally thousands and thousands of dollars off your upfront cost, and that’s before your panels begin saving you hundreds every month on electric bills.
What are the benefits of going solar?
The state of New Jersey wants you to go solar and they prove it by putting their money where their mouth is. There are LOTS of perks related to solar panel installation in the Garden State, so lets take a look at a few.
- New Jersey Renewable Portfolio Standards- New Jerseys’s RPS require all utilities to produce more renewable energy by a specified date or face having to pay fees. Instead of having to pay a fee, most utilities in NJ would rather offer incentives to customers who choose to add solar panels. The state has set a goal of 22.5% of its electric power coming from green energy, so every utility will be looking to add more renewable energy sources soon. The solar energy “carve out” (the percentage of that energy that is supposed to come from solar power systems) is 4.1%, which once again emphasizes the importance of local utilities to encourage customers to add solar panels.
- New Jersey Net Metering- Net metering is the process by which your solar energy system’s output is measured, as well as how much energy is fed back into the “grid”. New Jersey has very strong net metering laws, which is great because that usually means your measurements will be more accurate and you will get more “value” out of your system.
- TRECS (Transition Renewable Energy Certificates)- TRECs are what come out of the good net metering conditions in New Jersey. With every megawatt-hour of solar power generated from your system, you get one TREC. Your TRECs can then be sold to New Jersey utilities to help them get to their renewable portfolio standards. That means that New Jersey is one of the few states where you can actually get paid in cash for the energy that your system produces- potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.
- New Jersey Interconnection Standards- NJ has statewide interconnection standards, which usually leads to easier installation of solar power systems, means less hassle for you and the installer, and probably a cheaper and quicker installation.
- New Jersey Performance Based Incentives (PBIs)- The state of New Jersey has encouraged its people to go for solar and other renewable energy sources by offering SRECs, which correspond to the number of kilowatt hours (KwH) your system produces.
- New Jersey Sales Tax Exemption- State sales tax in New Jersey is 7% and you are completely exempt from it when buying and installing solar equipment and power systems in the state of New Jersey. 7% may sound insignificant, but when you’re dealing with prices that go into the tens of thousands, you are looking at savings of over $1,000.
- New Jersey Property Tax Exemption- In the state of New Jersey it is illegal to reassess the value of property based on the installation of solar panels. This means that your property taxes won’t increase but the value of your property will. Hard to argue with that.
- Federal Solar Tax Credit- Any American homeowner who installs any solar power system in their home is eligible for a 26% federal tax credit. Naturally, this can save you thousands of dollars when dealing with such a big amount of money.
How much will the addition of solar panels increase my home’s value?
Short answer: Only as much as a potential buyer is willing to believe they do.
Longer answer: Solar panels tend to increase the value of a home anywhere from 3-4% to a solid $20,000, depending on the area, size of the home and eagerness of buyers to own a home with solar panels. Studies have shown that homes with solar panels do tend to sell faster than homes without, but that could also stem from the fact that homes with solar panels tend to be better kept than other, since the owners obviously put some money into maintenance and upkeep. Either way, solar panels definitely *do* increase the value of your home, but just how much is somewhat difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, an increase in value of $10,000 is more than reasonable.
What are the Effects of Net Metering on a Solar System?
Net metering is the process of measuring the output of your solar power system. With accurate net metering, your system can feed power back into the grid, allowing you to receive ‘credits’ from your utility company for power you supplied to them, or in some rare cases, actual money. Obviously net metering is a big deal for solar panel owners because ultimately you want your panels to pay for themselves by feeding unused electricity back into the grid. New Jersey has strong net metering laws, so your panels will, in time, do just that.
How much solar power do I need to power my home?
Every home is different, but a general estimate is between 6 and 8 kilowatts of solar panels to be completely self-sufficient. This is a rough estimate of course, and your solar company should be able to look at your electric bills and give you a better idea of how much you’re going to need. This amount varies based on a lot of factors, such as the size of your home, number of people living there, etc.
What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in New Jersey?
Solar panels in New Jersey will pay for themselves shockingly fast, in only about 6-7 years, thanks to the numerous credits, incentives, etc offered by the state and federal government. This is in some cases twice as fast as in other states, which is another great reason to go solar in New Jersey. Once your panels have paid for themselves, you’re essentially getting free electricity (and in some cases, even getting a paycheck) for the rest of your panels’ lives. Given that most panels are warrantied for 20-25 years and most solar companies offer warranties for similar lengths of time, that’s a long, long time you’ll be making money off your initial investment.
Grants & Loans
There are even a few loans and grants specifically for New Jersey residents interested in installed solar panels. Here’s links to a few:
Edison Innovation Clean Energy Manufacturing Fund- http://www.energy-grants.net/new-jersey-energy-grants-rebates-loans-incentives/
Utility Solar Financing Programs-
Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) Solar Loan Program
Clean Energy Solutions ARRA CHP State Grant Program
Home Performance with Energy Star Program
Things to look for in a solar company:
So what do you need to look for in a solar company? This can be a daunting question when considering who to go with, but here are a few pointers that may help you on your way:
Time in industry: Just like in anything else, experience matters. The longer in the industry the better, not just because they probably know what they’re doing but for the fact that a company that’s been in the business longer probably treats their customers right.
Types of panels: There’s different kinds of solar panels out there- some more expensive, some more efficient, some bigger, some smaller. Some companies only work with certain kinds of panels, so you need to know before going too far with a company that they have the kind that you need or want.
Payment options: Very few people have the money to pay for the solar panels out of pocket in one lump sum, so make sure that your solar company offers some form of payment option if that’s important to you. Most of them do in some way, so the real trick is just making sure it’s something you can live with- A good payment schedule, interest rate, etc.
Warranties: Most companies offer a warranty of some kind, but not all warranties are created equal. Make sure you check it out- you don’t want to be on the hook for a $200 service charge every time a squirrel chews through something. Because they’ll do it. My goodness they’ll do it.
Reviews: Maybe the most important thing to look for is reviews- Does a company have them at all? If so, are they good or bad? Are all their good reviews coming from their own website or facebook or are they coming from independent sources? These are all key things to look for when you’re checking out solar companies.
How do I get solar panels installed in New Jersey?
As you can probably guess, there are a TON of solar companies in New Jersey, because there are a TON of people looking to go solar. This is called supply and demand, for those keeping score at home. Here’s a few of the top reviewed companies we found:
Company: Exact Solar
Address: 1655 Fairfield Rd, Yardley, PA 19067
Years in Business: 2
Reviews: 4.5 / 5 Facebook (20 reviews), 4.9 / 5 Angi (88 reviews), 4.8 / 5 Birdseye (59 reviews), 5 / 5 Buildzoom (2 reviews), 5 / 5 Judsbook (5 reviews)
Business Quote: Why Go Solar with Exact Solar in PA and NJ? Power your Home and Free your Wallet!
The Good: LOTS of good reviews, great web presence
The Bad: 2 years in business
Summary: Experience isn’t everything right? This company looks like they’ve only been at it for a couple of years, but they have a ton of good reviews and look like they’ve done a lot of good work in that short time. Don’t let those two years scare you off, this company looks like a winner. Give them a try.
Company: NJ Solar Power LLC
Address: 90 Atlantic City Blvd, Bayville, NJ 08721
Years in Business: 18
Reviews: 4.5 / 5 Facebook (9 reviews), 4.5 / 5 Solar Reviews (18 reviews), 5 / 5 Yelp (1 review), 4.8 / 5 Birdseye (59 reviews), 5 / 5 Energy Sage (14 reviews)
Business Quote: “Industry dominance, NJ-Focused expertise makes us the best choice for solar in the tri-state area”
The Good: 18 years in the business, lots of web presence and mostly really good reviews
The Bad: 4 complaints with the BBB in the last 3 years
Summary: This company has a lot going for them- They appear to do a lot of good work, they have a lot of good web presence and almost all their reviews are very positive. They do have a few complaints lodged against them with the BBB, but with 18 years in the business that’s to be expected. Overall, this one looks very promising.
Company: Amped on Solar LLC
Address: 220 E Front St, Florence, NJ 08518
Years in Business: Unclear
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (31 reviews), 5 / 5 Angi (3 reviews), 5 / 5 Yelp (1 review)
Business Quote: The only way to true energy independence is solar ownership…. Amped On Solar makes owning easy!
The Good: Every review I could find is positive
The Bad: Website is copyright 2015, it looks older than that
Summary: This company seems a little inconsistent. It looks like they do good enough work and I can’t find anything super negative about them, but their facebook looks as though it hasn’t been posted on since last July, and their website looks outdated. I’m guessing this is a good company that just has a love/hate thing with technology. They have one of the coolest logos I’ve ever seen, so I’m gonna give them a thumbs up. Check em out.
Company: Reliable Solar Power
Address: 1085 US Highway 9, Howell, NJ 07731
Years in Business: More than 10 (as per their website)
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (3 reviews), 5 / 5 Home Advisor (10 reviews), 4.5 / 5 SolarReviews (18 reviews)
Business Quote: Reliable Power & Solar is a licensed electrical contractor based in Howell, NJ. We install, repair, and service both commercial and residential markets.
The Good: Website makes it sound like the business puts a heavy premium on being accessible and trying to appeal to a wide array of customers
The Bad: Sparse web presence
Summary: Another company that isn’t taking full advantage of the internet- Most of what I can find about them is positive, but there just isn’t as much about them out there as you would like. The name of the company makes it really hard to zero in on them in web searches. Can’t find them on the BBB website, probably for that reason, so Im going to give this review an incomplete. Check them out, just do your research, as always.
So here’s what I know: NJ has some of the best incentives to go solar I’ve seen heretofore, and there are an absolute pile of solar companies, many of them apparently good ones. New Jersey gets my highest recommendation on the “going solar” front for all those reasons, so if you’re on the bubble out there, don’t hesitate, make it happen.