Are there incentives for solar?
Currently there is a 30% federal income tax credit on the total purchase price of a solar system, available til the end of 2019. It then drops to 26% for 2020. In 2021 it drops to 22%. In 2022 it drops back to 10% for commercial investors, no more residential credits. These credits could change again, for better or for worse. Get your credit while you can!
Also, in New Jersey, til 2021, you can earn Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) with a solar system. If installed prior to 2021, your SRECs will have a life of 10 years. These can be just as valuable as the solar electricity your system produces, effectively doubling your benefit.
How long do the solar panels last?
Most solar panels come with a 20 or 25-year warranty. They have no moving parts and are expected to produce at least 80% of their rated output even after 25 years!
Is maintenance required?
If installed properly, solar systems can continue to produce with little or no maintenance up to 10 years or more. Most inverters are warrantied for 10 years, so that may require repair or replacement after 10 years. Sometimes critters, such as birds or squirrels get under the panels where the wires are and can damage them. This can be remedied by installing what we call “critter guard” around the solar panels, after repairing any critter-damaged wires, thereby preventing future problems like that.
We have installed critter-guard on a large 250kw commercial inverter where a vent opening allowed a plastic bag to blow in, temporarily disabling the fan, which stopped the system from operating.