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The Current State of Solar in 2023. Is It Still a Good Investment?

So what is the current state of solar, and is it still a worth while investment? The short answer is yes, residential solar is still a good investment. To explain why, we’ll summarize the broad national trends and then focus on our state of Virginia. Finally, we’ll focus on you, the individual homeowner, and discuss the solar investment in detail. 

Solar is expensive; there’s no way around that, but it is a long-term investment. So, we will treat it as such. We’ll discuss how to finance it, the payback period, and the return on investment (ROI).

The Residential Solar Market Set a National Quarterly Record. 

Residential solar is growing at a record pace! That’s great for us and the planet.

The national solar industry is steadily growing. 2022 saw a slight contraction. Supply chain issues and regulatory complications caused the solar industry to shrink slightly. But we’ve bounced back! The solar industry is growing at a record pace

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Solar Market Insight Report for 2023 Q3, the solar industry is expected to triple in the next five years. That’s more clean energy for our great nation thanks to long-term sustained growth. 

However, Not All Industries Are Experiencing The Same Growth. 

Commercial solar installations have declined quarter-over-quarter. Those are solar projects for commercial businesses such as university campuses or corporate offices. We’re currently seeing stagnation in this market. Commercial installations are more complicated and require more clearance than residential installations. 

solar residential

If you are a business owner, that should not deter you. As you’ll see, solar is a worthy investment. Not only will solar supplement your energy needs and increase your property value, but it will also foster a positive brand image. Show your clients that you care about your community. If you are concerned about the complexities, that’s what we’re here for. We know solar can be complicated, but it is worth it! We’re more than installers, we’re partners to help you every step of the way. 

Community Solar is Experiencing Growing Pains. 

Community solar projects are large-scale solar projects that supplement the energy consumption of an entire community. Sharing solar is great for renters, apartment complexes, low-income communities, and dense urban areas. 

This market is facing stagnation and some declines for a variety of reasons. Market saturation, interconnection delays, pushback from utility companies, and slow government processes are just a few problems. 

The experts at SEIA predict community solar will gradually grow in the next five years, thanks partly to new government funding. 

va solar

What is Virginia Doing for Solar Energy?

Virginia is great for solar. You might think our extreme four seasons discourage sunlight collection. However, we receive more than enough sun to make solar practical.

Here in Virginia, solar costs around $3.00 per watt installed— give or take 20¢. So, a 10 KW solar system will produce 10 KW of power for every hour of peak sunlight and cost around $30,000. Virginia receives 4-4.5 peak sunlight hours a day. Of course, it changes with the seasons, but you can expect to produce around 40-45 KW a day. This is just an example to demonstrate your potential. We go into more detail about the costs here. 

Let’s Talk Policy

Virginia implemented the Virginia Clean Economy Act to decarbonize the state’s grid by 2050. It aims for a diverse portfolio of different renewable energies. Solar is just one piece of the pie, but one Virginia policy seeks to facilitate.

Net metering is one such popular program that we go into detail here. Virginia’s Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) is another program we’re proud to help residents take advantage of. 

Let’s delve into the more nuanced policies. 

solar house

Solar Increases Your Property’s Value, But Virginia Eases The Property Tax Burden. 

One way Virginia encourages solar installations is through their property tax exemptions. Say you install a $30,000 solar system on a $350,000 house. Your property value increases to $380,000. However, you will receive a tax exemption of 80% of the solar system value. So, your home will be taxed for $356,000 (350,000 + (30,000 x 0.2). The average state property tax rate is 0.75%. Your property taxes would be $2,670 ($356,000 x 0.0075).

Virginia’s property tax exemption starts the year after installation. For the first five years, the exemption equals 80% of the solar system value. After that, the tax exemption drops to 70% for the next five years. Afterward (11 years after the original installation), the tax exemption is 60%. It stays at 60% for as long as the solar panels are used. 

Check With Your Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Before Installing Solar.

Chapter 7 of Title 67 in the Code of Virginia prevents HOAs from prohibiting individual residential solar panels. However, they can still restrict some aspects of your solar installation, such as the size or number of panels. Even those restrictions have to be within reason. 

HOAs can only stop your solar installation if their recorded declaration (a legal document setting out its rules at its founding) explicitly prohibits all solar installations. So, they can’t prevent you as an individual homeowner from going solar. But they can prevent everyone in your neighborhood from going solar if they said so at their founding. 

In short, check with your HOA. They might request a copy of the design plans, which we will be more than happy to provide. 

What About You? Is Solar a Good Investment For You?

Solar is expensive; there is no way around that. Utility companies fight against community solar projects. However, they are more likely to accept and, in some cases, support residential projects. Commercial projects might be out of your control, but your home is yours to improve as you please.

Solar is an Investment, So Let’s Discuss The Payback Period and The Return On Investment. 

Of course, this will depend on your individual system. We design individualized systems. A system personalized to your needs will be the most efficient system. We discuss how many solar panels you need here. 

The payback period is calculated by dividing the initial investment by the annual savings. 

(Initial investment) / (annual savings) = payback period. 

Let’s see that with numbers. Remember, this is a rough estimate just to give you an idea. Let’s say you purchase a $30,000 solar system outright, which means you are eligible for the 30% Federal Tax Credit. So, your initial investment is $21,000 ($30,000 – ($30,000 x 0.3)). 

Now, for annual savings, let’s say you used to pay $200 monthly for electricity. Let’s say your solar system supplements 90% of your energy needs, reducing your monthly bill to $20. Annually, you are saving $2,160 (2,400 – 240). 

$21,000 / $2,160 = 9.7 years. 

So your $30,000 10 KW solar system will pay for itself in around 10 years. 

We calculate the return on investment (ROI) by subtracting the payback period from the industry standard warranty. Then, we multiply that difference by the annual savings. Does this take you back to grade school math? 

The industry standard warranty for solar panels is 25 years. That means after 25 years, your solar system will still operate at 80% of its original efficiency. However, many solar systems last longer than their warranty. That is what makes them such a long-term investment. Let’s round the payback period up to 10 years. 

(25 – 10) x $2,160 = $32,400

After 25 years of use, you will save $32,400 in energy. Remember, this is a rough estimate with simplified math. It does not consider Virginia’s annual 2% price increase in electricity. It also assumes you pay for your system outright. 

residential va solar

How Will You Pay For Your System?

Paying for solar in cash is ideal since it offers the most savings. But most of us don’t have $30,000 to drop on a home improvement project. Luckily, there are financing options. 

A Solar Loan is the next best thing. It’s like any other loan but specifically designed for solar projects. They usually require zero or very little money down. The payment plan will involve monthly payments with interest. However, they normally aim to be lower than your current monthly electricity bill. The idea is to provide savings while you pay for your system. Because you own it, you will have to pay for maintenance and servicing. However, you are eligible for all those incentive programs. 

We generally do not recommend Solar Leases or Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) because you won’t own your system. Basically, a third party owns and installs the system, and you pay for the electricity it produces. You are trading in one utility company for another. Monthly rates vary. Some PPAs lock you into a set rate or have a rate schedule that rises annually. Because you don’t own it, you are not responsible for the maintenance. However, you cannot take advantage of the incentives. Selling your home also becomes more complicated because you must transfer ownership or pay a hefty termination fee. 

You could fund your solar project with a Cash-Out Refinance or HELOC. We are not a mortgage company; this is just an overview of the options. If you are curious, then you should talk with your mortgage lender. 

Cash-out refinancing is a refinance option that basically extracts the equity you’ve built into your home. Most people do this type of refinancing for home improvement projects. 

HELOC stands for home equity line of credit. You’re essentially using the equity of your home as a low-interest credit card. 

Let’s Get Started!

Ready to take your energy needs into your own hands? Get your solar project rolling by requesting a quote. If you have any questions, concerns, or curiosities, please reach out to us at (757) 447-6527.

Contact Convert Solar Today!

Our Reviews

Convert Solar
4.8
Based on 222 reviews
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J Byrd
J Byrd
15:50 29 Aug 22
I called to ask a question concerning my solar panels. Someone named Jordan answered the phone immediately. He was... extremely kind, patient and knowledgeable when he answered all of my questions and explained in a way that was understandable. I have been a convert solar customer for almost a year and I am pleased with the company.read more
Yasmin Valdes
Yasmin Valdes
12:32 29 Aug 22
My experience with this company has been very good. I received a few quotes from different companies and there’s was... very competitive. The sales rep Melissa has been very helpful in providing information but really what has prompted me to write this amazing review is their service rep Jordan. He is amazingly responsive and really on top of our system to ensure we’re getting the maximum output. Right after the install I was hearing some buzzing sounds from our panel and he came out on a Sunday afternoon to get this fixed. Also, While we were on vacation he actually came by the house because he noticed a few of the panels were not performing as they were supposed to. I am very happy we signed out with this company and our panels look amazing! I am awaiting one final thing to be completed for the job to be done but so far I’m very happy with their service and product.read more
John F. Childress, Ph.D,
John F. Childress, Ph.D,
18:49 22 Aug 22
I contracted with Convert Solar to install panels on our roof. From the very first contact, the staff was... professional, responsive, and timely. I was always kept apprised of progress of our project. It was completed on time, on budget, and passed all inspections. Installers, electricians, and staff were all pleasant to work with. I am particularly impressed Dylan Kowal who went above and beyond what could have been expected to make sure our needs were met and we were not sold anything we didn’t need. I cannot recommend this company more highly.read more
William OConnor
William OConnor
17:10 18 Aug 22
I started the solar due diligence process in February. I spoke with four companies and am very happy I took the time... to pick the right solar supplier. Convert Solar made solid commitments and met every one of them. Dylan, the representative, was incredibly knowledgeable and professional; the installation went better than expected; and the system is generating more than I thought it would. The entire team was a pleasure to work with. Convert Solar gets my heartiest recommendation!read more
Mark
Mark
15:03 25 Jul 22
Had the sales person come out. Def not pushy but signed up. Installation was great. I did have a prob from where the... placement of the panels was diff from the plans. I also did not like how line was ran on the side of the building. I mentioned this and they came out and rerouted the wire on my concern.....def a recommended company for meMark Sread more
Bob Marietta
Bob Marietta
13:56 20 Jul 22
I had a great experience with Convert-Solar. Every aspect of the process went smooth. They offered me a great price,... were experts in solar and installed a solar system without issue. The installers went above and beyond. They routed a cable through my attic in such a way to optimize the cosmetic experience from the exterior. Highly recommend this company. After the system was installed, I discovered solar had an added benefit of reflecting or absorbing heat. My house was cooler and the HVAC didn't have to work as hard to keep up.read more
Garry Johns
Garry Johns
16:43 12 Jul 22
Just had my power company come out and change over to my new meter for solar. Immediately called Convert Solar. They... were fabulous! walked me through final process with turning the system on while answering all my questions as well. Finally, they helped me with the application download and setup.Now, I am solar! These guys and Earth Right Mid-Atlantic have been outstanding, prompt, and quick from the very beginning.Thank you very much!!read more
Bruce Frickey
Bruce Frickey
17:09 20 Jun 22
After almost a year of enjoying my Convert Solar installed system on my house I called with a quick question. Jordan... answered quickly, looked up my account and gave me what I needed. The energy production from my roof has been great, along with the continued customer support from Convert. There is a real benefit from choosing a local company established in the community when purchasing a system you expect to use for 30 years!read more
Tyler Ryan
Tyler Ryan
22:43 13 Jun 22
Let me preface and state that I am individual that seeks out local business as opposed to big chains. I had already... made the immediate decision to get solar on our new home the day we had moved in. When we began calling local solar companies, those that we did meet with did not give us exactly what we were looking for. They were either not giving us enough panels, offset, or to much in terms of pricing vs competitors. When I contacted VA energy Solutions not only did they hear us loud and clear they understood our urgency to immediately get the ball rolling.When we had met with Steven I had instantly told him that I wanted as many panels as possible so that we can get our offset as close to if not over 100%. After initial inputs and testing and then coming back later on after they had gotten drone footage, they were able to get 62 panels on our home. This put our offset at ~90% and mind you this is with many many trees around us that were blocking potential energy from hitting our panels. We have since gotten down some of the trees and are still working on getting rid of the other trees that are blocking the panels at sunrise and sunset, once the said trees are down we should easily be at 100% offset if not extraordinarily close.On the day of the installation for the 62 panels the workers had arrived at our home at 7am, and they did not leave until almost 9pm. These workers wanted to ensure that the panels were installed on the day of and not a day later, they worked through such high temperatures. We had given them lots of water, and Gatorade and even snacks for how hard they worked on getting everything done. It was surreal with how much they pushed themselves to ensure that the job was done on the same day. Our installation is an uncommon one with the way our roof is and with how many we had to be installed mind you. Overall the experience has been great and we are looking forward to being able to have our 100% power once we get the rest of the trees down. It is going to be great to see the lack of an energy bill from dominion once we are at that point.read more
Tyler Ryan
Tyler Ryan
22:43 13 Jun 22
Let me preface and state that I am individual that seeks out local business as opposed to big chains. I had already... made the immediate decision to get solar on our new home the day we had moved in. When we began calling local solar companies, those that we did meet with did not give us exactly what we were looking for. They were either not giving us enough panels, offset, or to much in terms of pricing vs competitors. When I contacted VA energy Solutions not only did they hear us loud and clear they understood our urgency to immediately get the ball rolling.When we had met with Steven I had instantly told him that I wanted as many panels as possible so that we can get our offset as close to if not over 100%. After initial inputs and testing and then coming back later on after they had gotten drone footage, they were able to get 62 panels on our home. This put our offset at ~90% and mind you this is with many many trees around us that were blocking potential energy from hitting our panels. We have since gotten down some of the trees and are still working on getting rid of the other trees that are blocking the panels at sunrise and sunset, once the said trees are down we should easily be at 100% offset if not extraordinarily close.On the day of the installation for the 62 panels the workers had arrived at our home at 7am, and they did not leave until almost 9pm. These workers wanted to ensure that the panels were installed on the day of and not a day later, they worked through such high temperatures. We had given them lots of water, and Gatorade and even snacks for how hard they worked on getting everything done. It was surreal with how much they pushed themselves to ensure that the job was done on the same day. Our installation is an uncommon one with the way our roof is and with how many we had to be installed mind you. Overall the experience has been great and we are looking forward to being able to have our 100% power once we get the rest of the trees down. It is going to be great to see the lack of an energy bill from dominion once we are at that point.read more
Lynn Miller
Lynn Miller
18:56 10 Jun 22
I knew for my new home I wanted Solar and I interviewed several companies before deciding on Convert Solar. Why... Convert? First, they educated me on solar not to sell me but to explain how it worked, what questions I needed to ask them and others and where to look for independent information. Then I asked them who their strongest competitor was and they immediately gave a name of a company that i had heard was good. I interviewed the other company and liked them a lot and their pricing was the same. So why again? Because they took multiple steps to educate me. Have had follow up time to talk with me way after the sale. Oh, and my solar works fantastic in that Convert estimated that solar would only cover about 78% of the cost of power at the house, today it is covering 100%.read more
JAMES FAST
JAMES FAST
18:40 10 Jun 22
Excellent experience. No gimmicks of "discounting" the cost by my tax incentive. Everything went according to plan... with exception of needing to get a roof vent moved. I pointed this out to the sales folks and they should have just told me to take care of that before installation rather than saying it was going to be fine. Installers had to stop and come back another day to finish after I got the vent moved.read more
Todd Bollinger
Todd Bollinger
18:25 10 Jun 22
The roofing contractor they use likes to add parts without discussing it with the homeowner before installation. Which... led to an unexpected $1600 bill a month later. Secondly, be sure you review all of the contract. The tax credit is non-refundable, meaning it just reduces how much you owe (if you owe anything to begin with).The solar is great as it just replaces the electric bill which will only increase while this bill will eventually go away. The salesman is responsive. Overall it will be a good investment but the communication could be better.read more
Nash Thakker
Nash Thakker
16:06 10 Jun 22
My experience with Solar Energy was A+ with Convert SolarTony was great and very helpful; he gave me an awesome deal... which was much better than anyone in the solar market. He explained everything and showed comparative data from the start and handled our 1,000+ questions that we had.Convert solar team did an awesome job installing the panels; the crew was very professional and walked me through the entire process during installation and adjusted the solar panel according to the way we were anticipating. Overall, this project required very little from me once I made the initial choices and was managed well from start to finish. The timelines were met, the build was fast, and it looks good. The quality of consulting and professionalism were excellent. The electrician also conducted excellent work (wiring the panel) and explaining all the information. The best part, they also cleaned up everything (inside and outside) the house after installation (left no debris behind). We are happy with the installation and looking forward to many years of solar bliss. I would recommend Tony for Solar needs and his team to anyone. Thank you to everyone on the team. Great job!read more
Joe and Amal Hall
Joe and Amal Hall
16:34 27 May 22
We got solar panels done on our very first home and it was definitely a big risk and and a big decision.We... interviewed many solar companies but eventually found honesty and real customer service with Convert Solar. Our salesperson was Jeremy Davis and my husband and I were so pleased with the work they did. Many solar companies try to confuse you and aren't clear about certain terms in the contract and what they provide. With Jeremy, he proved us wrong. All our questions were answered and explained extremely well (an we were very detailed with the contract). Jeremy provided a customer service that we did not experience with any other solar power company. He truly wanted the best for us and our home and his enthusiasm for solar and his career showed through every conversation.I highly recommend convert solar. They offer competitive prices and strong customer service that puts them above the rest. Our panels have been doing well and we couldn't be happier.If you work with convert solar, ask for Jeremy - he will make your experience 10x better.read more
Dylan Hunger
Dylan Hunger
16:29 17 May 22
I worked with Convert Solar to get a system that was installed five years ago by a different company (that is no longer... in business) repaired. I specifically worked with Jordan, and I must say he was fantastic. The system was completely non-functional due to a "DC Isolation Fault" (it is a SolarEdge system). Jordan had everything up and running again in just a few hours, he cleaned up behind himself, and answered every question I had. Would have went with them initially, if I knew about their business in 2017. Would highly recommend their services to anyone that is seeking them.read more
William Weatherly
William Weatherly
00:46 03 May 22
I would like to start by saying I’m a very Skeptical person with anything new that I don’t fully understand. With that... said I really appreciate the professional approach that Convert Solar had with the initial call and throughout the whole install process. I want to especially shout out appreciation to Freddie(our salesman) who took the time to explain everything so that we felt completely comfortable. I would strongly recommend using this company to take care of all your solar power needs.read more
Xavier Manzeralla
Xavier Manzeralla
23:08 25 Apr 22
I’m leaving a review now, after having my solar panels installed about a year and a half ago by Convert Solar. I am so... happy to have gone with this company for my solar panels! I love that they are a Virginia company, and they have never let me feel like I just spent a ton of money with a company and then was forgotten about. They have been just a call, text, or email away, for any of my questions about my system, and I just wanted to let everyone know - I couldn’t be happier with this company! 😊read more
Pete Kern
Pete Kern
23:46 15 Mar 22
Convert Solar!!! Especially Jordan (Tech Guy) and Mara (spelling? Customer Service). They do a great job!!! I have had... my 28 panel solar array for about two years and I am starting to see a massive impact to my electric bill. Very Happy with Convert!!!Shopped around to a few Solar companies and Convert is the standard!!!read more
Monique Farrington
Monique Farrington
12:29 08 Mar 22
The interactions during my entire process of installation was remarkable! I appreciated the professionalism, work... ethic, timeliness, attention to detail, and responsiveness of this company. Julie, my project manager was EVERYTHING! She was able to quickly get my needs met and questions answered. I am so thankful too to those who were tasked to tend to my needs. After my install and inspection, I had a coincidental (we discovered after troubleshooting, thoroughly) power outage to only 1 section of my home. Hunter and his supervisor figured out the problem and fixed it (unrelated to the solar panel install). They went above and beyond. For this too, I am so grateful! I highly recommend Convert Solar when you decide to go solar! 🙂read more
Jack Kauffman (Vegantreehugger3)
Jack Kauffman (Vegantreehugger3)
20:19 11 Feb 22
We are so happy with our solar system. We have had it for two years and love that we are doing something for the... environment. The system was well planned and we have just a little more solar power than our consumption these last two years. Their service has been above expectation. Twice in the two years our inverter failed and once they came out to replaced it before we were aware that it was not functioning properly. They are just as good with their warrantee service and support as they were with the planning and installation of the system.read more
Chris Long
Chris Long
19:14 27 Jan 22
I'm ecstatic to share my experience and install with Convert Solar! Fred and Pierre gave an awesome presentation to my... wife and I and answered EVERY question and concern that we had! Install was today and I couldn't be more pleased and happy with the professionalism and work done! Roofers/Panel install (Matt and his team (sorry I cant remember all of your names) ) were super professional and explained the process before they started! I hovered a lot (sorry lol) but I had so many "what if's" circling in my head and I didn't want a rush job! Matt and the team didn't mind and continued to make me at ease with their work! The Electricians Robert and Cameron were awesome! The level of anxiety I feel whenever it comes to electricity and the thought of having to do anything inside of my electrical panel were intensified when adding wires, junction boxes and power sources to the mix! But these two gentlemen quickly extinguished those thoughts of uncertainty and doubt with their knowledgeable explanations, installation and all around professionalism! A few more steps are needed before the system is completely up and running but I write this review from my couch, relaxed and without any cares or regrets! Thanks Convert Solar, everyone mentioned and those that were here but I didn't get your names! My wife and I appreciate you all!read more
Heather Gotliboski
Heather Gotliboski
13:30 17 Nov 21
Convert Solar has kept us informed every step of the way, fully and patiently explained the process of going solar, and... have been extremely responsive in each encounter with them to include coming out to our home 1 hour after reporting a panel error and fixing it immediately! They even followed the visit up with a phone call to ensure great service!read more
Andrew Guzman
Andrew Guzman
02:37 15 Nov 21
My experience with Convert Solar has been amazing. Fred MacArthur was a wonderful salesman that explained the entire... process honestly and did not hold anything back. The install crew were super professional and had the install of 20 panels complete within 5 hours. I have had an absolutely great experience with the company and 10/10 recommend it for anyone looking to convert!!!read more
Tal Day
Tal Day
18:55 12 Nov 21
We retrofitted an existing home with a southwest exposure in Virginia's Northern Neck in spring 2021. The first step... in the process was a visit by a sales representative who inspected the site. This included looking at rafters in the attic and running a drone to construct a heat map of the roof surface. He also looked at a year's worth of utility bills. With that information he furnished an estimate which we accepted and the install was scheduled. The installation crew consisted of four people to install roof panels and an electrician and assistant to connect into a home system, through the transfer switch for an emergecy generator. The entire install took 4-hours. This was a well-planned, custom installation that was efficiently implemented on-site. Outstanding!read more
robert caley
robert caley
16:11 11 Nov 21
Sales representative was great , knowledgeable and answered all my questions. The guys showed up on time as scheduled.... My system was installed and operational the same day. I highly recommend Convert Solar. My electric bill is only about $9.00 per month and that is for the utility service and taxes. Love it, Thank you Convert Solar!read more
Samuel Dillon
Samuel Dillon
14:53 11 Nov 21
My experience working with the folks at Convert Solar has been truly awesome! Mara Gianini did a fantastic job leading... me through the many steps in the project from helping with the technical specs through the installation process and the inspection/certification effort. I could not be more pleased. I have to say also that I was particularly impressed by Winston and his installation crew. Their level of professionalism was evident from the moment they arrived at my home until they packed up for the day. They answered all of my questions, were responsive to my concerns, and were incredibly polite and well spoken. My hat is off to the entire Convert Solar team.read more
Rosana OBrien
Rosana OBrien
15:50 25 Jun 21
Installation crew was spectacular! Got all panels and electrical connections nicely done in less than a day! Job... completed looks neatly done and works very efficiently! Finance and price is very affordable. No money out of pocket was needed! Bow i am just enjoying producing my own clean energy and no more power bills! Love it!read more
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