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The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money with Solar Panels in New Hampshire

As a digital technology expert passionate about renewable energy, I‘ve witnessed firsthand the incredible advancements in solar technology over the past decade. Solar panels are more efficient, affordable, and accessible than ever before, making them a smart investment for savvy homeowners looking to slash their electricity costs. And there‘s no better place to go solar than New Hampshire, where generous incentives and high electricity rates make solar a financial no-brainer.

In this ultimate guide, I‘ll dive into all the ways you can save money with solar panels in New Hampshire. From upfront incentives to long-term savings, we‘ll cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision about going solar. Whether you‘re a tech enthusiast or a total newbie, by the end of this article, you‘ll have the knowledge and resources to confidently take the leap into clean, renewable energy.

Breaking Down the Costs and Benefits of Solar Panels in NH

Before we get into the specific incentives and savings opportunities, let‘s talk big picture. How much do solar panels actually cost in New Hampshire, and how much can you expect to save over time? The answers might surprise you.

According to the most recent data from EnergySage, the average cost of solar panels in New Hampshire is $2.83 per watt. For a typical 6-kilowatt system, that translates to a total cost of around $17,000 before incentives. Now, that might sound like a hefty upfront investment, but hear me out.

First, the federal solar tax credit immediately knocks 30% off that price tag. That‘s a savings of over $5,000 right off the bat. Add in the New Hampshire state rebate of $1,000 or 30% of the total cost (whichever is less), and your upfront investment is down to around $10,900.

But the savings don‘t stop there. Over the 25+ year lifespan of your solar panels, you‘ll continue to save money on your electricity bills thanks to net metering (more on that later). The average New Hampshire household spends about $1,560 per year on electricity. With solar panels generating most of your power needs, you could reduce or even eliminate that cost entirely.

Let‘s crunch some numbers. Here‘s a breakdown of the estimated solar savings for a 6kW system in New Hampshire over 25 years:

System Size Estimated Annual Production Year 1 Savings 25 Year Savings
6 kW 8,100 kWh $1,300 $40,800

As you can see, the long-term savings are substantial. Even with a conservative estimate that doesn‘t account for electricity rate increases, you could save over $40,000 on your energy costs over the lifespan of your system. That‘s a return on investment that‘s hard to beat.

But wait, what if you need a smaller or larger system? Here‘s a handy table breaking down the costs and savings for different common system sizes in New Hampshire:

System Size Average Cost (Before Incentives) Average Cost (After Incentives) 25 Year Savings
4 kW $11,320 $7,260 $27,200
6 kW $16,980 $10,890 $40,800
8 kW $22,640 $14,520 $54,400
10 kW $28,300 $18,150 $68,000

As you can see, the upfront costs and long-term savings scale proportionally with system size. A smaller 4kW system could still save you over $27,000 over 25 years, while a larger 10kW system could provide a whopping $68,000 in savings. No matter your energy needs or budget, there‘s a solar solution that can work for you.

Of course, these are just estimates based on average costs and production. Your specific savings will depend on factors like your home‘s energy efficiency, shading, and the actual performance of your panels. But one thing is clear: solar panels are a smart financial investment for New Hampshire homeowners.

How Solar Panels and Net Metering Work in New Hampshire

Now that we‘ve covered the impressive cost savings of solar panels in New Hampshire, let‘s dive into the technical side. How exactly do solar panels work, and what‘s this "net metering" thing all about?

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. When photons from the sun hit the cells, they knock electrons loose from their atoms, creating an electric current. The PV cells are connected together in a panel, and multiple panels are wired together into an array to generate usable amounts of electricity.

Here‘s a basic diagram of how solar panels work:

How Solar Panels Work

But what happens when your panels generate more electricity than your home needs? That‘s where net metering comes in. Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows you to send excess solar energy back to the grid and receive credits on your electricity bill.

Here‘s how it works: when your solar panels are producing more electricity than you‘re using (like on a sunny afternoon), that excess energy flows back into the power grid. Your utility company tracks this excess production and credits you for it at the full retail rate. Then, at night or on cloudy days when your panels aren‘t generating enough power, you can draw energy from the grid and use those credits to offset the cost.

In essence, net metering allows you to use the grid like a giant battery, storing your excess solar energy for later use. And in New Hampshire, there‘s no cap on how many credits you can rack up or how long they can roll over. That means you could potentially generate enough credits in the sunny summer months to completely offset your winter electricity costs.

Here‘s a visual representation of how net metering works:

Net Metering Diagram

Pretty neat, right? Net metering is a crucial component of making solar financially viable for homeowners. Without it, you‘d have no way to recoup the value of your excess solar production. Fortunately, New Hampshire has one of the strongest net metering policies in the country, ensuring that solar owners get fairly compensated for the clean energy they contribute to the grid.

Maximizing Your Solar Savings with Battery Storage

If you really want to take your solar savings to the next level, consider adding battery storage to your system. Solar batteries allow you to store excess solar energy produced during the day for use at night or during power outages, reducing your reliance on the grid even further.

With a solar battery, you can avoid drawing power from the grid during peak evening hours when electricity rates are highest. Instead, you can draw from your stored solar energy, potentially saving even more on your electricity bills.

Battery storage also provides an added layer of energy security. In the event of a power outage, your solar panels alone will shut off for safety reasons. But if you have a battery backup, you can continue to power your essential appliances and devices until the grid comes back online.

New Hampshire doesn‘t currently offer any state-level incentives for solar batteries, but they are eligible for the federal solar tax credit. That means you can deduct 30% of the cost of your battery storage system from your taxes, just like with your solar panels.

The cost of solar batteries has dropped significantly in recent years, making them a more accessible option for homeowners. The most popular home battery on the market, the Tesla Powerwall, costs around $8,500 before incentives for a 13.5 kWh unit. When you factor in the federal tax credit, the price drops to around $6,000.

As battery technology continues to improve and costs continue to fall, more and more solar owners are adding storage to their systems. If you want to maximize your energy independence and potential savings, a solar-plus-storage system is definitely worth considering.

The Power of Energy Efficiency

While solar panels are a fantastic way to save money on your electricity bills, they work even better when paired with energy efficiency improvements. The more efficient your home is, the less energy you‘ll need to power it – which means you can get by with a smaller, less expensive solar array.

Before going solar, I always recommend that homeowners get an energy audit to identify opportunities for efficiency upgrades. An energy auditor will inspect your home from top to bottom, looking for areas of air leakage, insufficient insulation, inefficient appliances, and more. They‘ll then provide a detailed report with recommendations for improvements, ranked by cost and energy savings potential.

Some common efficiency upgrades that can help maximize your solar savings include:

  • Upgrading to LED light bulbs
  • Installing a programmable or smart thermostat
  • Adding insulation to your attic and walls
  • Sealing air leaks around windows, doors, and electrical outlets
  • Replacing old, inefficient appliances with Energy Star models

By making your home as efficient as possible before installing solar, you can significantly reduce your energy needs and potentially save thousands on your solar installation costs. Plus, you‘ll be able to take advantage of the existing incentive landscape before solar is over-incentivized due to its role in carbon-emission reductions.

The Benefits of Going Solar in New Hampshire

Beyond the incredible financial savings, there are plenty of other reasons to go solar in New Hampshire. For starters, solar energy is a clean, renewable resource that produces no emissions or pollution. By generating your own electricity from the sun, you‘re doing your part to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and combat climate change.

Solar also helps to create local jobs and stimulate the economy. According to The Solar Foundation, there are currently over 1,000 solar jobs in New Hampshire, and that number is expected to grow as more homeowners and businesses go solar. By investing in solar, you‘re supporting the growth of a vital clean energy industry.

Plus, solar panels can increase the value of your home. A study by the real estate website Zillow found that homes with solar panels sell for an average of 4.1% more than comparable homes without solar. In New Hampshire, that translates to an average premium of $13,000. So not only will you save money on your electricity bills, but you could also get a nice return on your investment if you decide to sell your home.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to go solar in New Hampshire is the state‘s ambitious renewable energy goals. In 2020, New Hampshire got about 20% of its electricity from renewable sources, with solar making up just a small fraction of that mix. But the state has set a goal of generating 25.2% of its electricity from renewables by 2025, and there‘s no way to get there without a massive increase in solar adoption.

By going solar, you‘re not just saving money – you‘re also helping to create a cleaner, more sustainable future for New Hampshire. Every kilowatt of solar energy generated helps to displace fossil fuels and reduce the state‘s carbon footprint. As more and more homeowners and businesses make the switch to solar, we‘ll be able to achieve our renewable energy targets and secure a brighter future for generations to come.

Resources for Going Solar in New Hampshire

If you‘re ready to take the next step and explore solar for your home, there are plenty of resources available to help guide you through the process. Here are a few of my top recommendations:

  • NHSaves: This statewide energy efficiency program offers resources and incentives for going solar, including a directory of approved solar installers.
  • New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association: This nonprofit organization provides education and advocacy around renewable energy in New Hampshire, including a wealth of information on solar.
  • EnergySage: This online solar marketplace allows you to compare quotes from pre-screened solar installers in your area, ensuring that you get the best deal on your solar installation.
  • New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission: The state‘s public utilities commission provides information on solar incentives and rebates, as well as a list of registered solar installers.

By taking advantage of these resources and doing your due diligence, you can ensure that you get the most out of your solar investment. Whether you‘re a tech-savvy early adopter or a first-time solar buyer, there‘s never been a better time to make the switch to clean, renewable energy in New Hampshire.

The Bottom Line

Solar panels are an incredibly smart investment for New Hampshire homeowners looking to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to the state‘s clean energy future. With generous upfront incentives, ongoing savings through net metering, and the potential for increased home value, the financial benefits of going solar are hard to ignore.

But more than that, going solar is an opportunity to take control of your energy future and make a positive impact on the world around you. By generating your own clean, renewable electricity, you‘re helping to create a more sustainable and resilient energy system for generations to come.

If you‘re ready to take the first step towards energy independence and significant long-term savings, I encourage you to explore solar for your home. With the right resources and guidance, making the switch to solar can be a smooth and rewarding process. And as a digital technology expert passionate about renewable energy, I‘m excited to see more and more New Hampshire homeowners embrace this incredible technology.

So what are you waiting for? Start exploring your solar options today, and join the growing movement of New Hampshirites taking control of their energy future. Trust me – your wallet (and the planet) will thank you.