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Are solar panels worth it in Downingtown?

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Written by
Published on 11/11/2010
Updated 01/30/2014

Downingtown is home to one of our favorite breweries, Victory!

Hell yes! Solar panels are definitely worth it in Downingtown

We at SPR are not just fans of plain talk about solar energy but we’re also huge beer fans. Victory Brewing Company churns out some mighty fine beers. Dan has a soft spot for Golden Monkey, and Dave loves the Storm King. Aside from the sensual, glowing, rich beer flowing from those V-shaped taps, Downingtown is a great place to go solar! If you live in a home here, you won’t just be the talk of the brewpub, but also the chatter of town by further enhancing aesthetics of the neighborhood with the financially wise move to install solar panels on your home.

The combination of the federal solar tax credit and Pennsylvania alternative energy credits (which pay you for producing renewable electricity) means a typical solar energy system for your Downingtown home will pay for itself in just 4 to 6 years. You don’t even need cash up front to pay for your system! Also, by joining forces with other Philadelphia area homeowners, you’ll save an average of 15% off the total installation cost of solar panels.

Really? I thought Southern Pennsylvania was kind of cloudy. Why does solar power make sense here?

Well first, Dave and Dan (the founders of SPR) partnered with One Block off the Grid (1BOG), a free service that helps you buy home solar power in the Philadelphia area. They do the hard work of vetting solar installers, organizing groups of Philadelphia homeowners together, and establish unbeatable installation prices and customer service for each solar campaign.

Second, even though Downingtown gets less sun than say Florida or Southern California, solar power makes a hell of a lot of sense here. It’s all because the state legislature in Harrisburg set aside .5% of electricity generated to be sourced from the sun by 2021. That’s the state’s renewable portfolio standard. If your utility company doesn’t reach their targets, they get hefty fines.

Therefore, PPL and PECO will pay you cash as a homeowner with solar panels on your roof as a way of meeting their numbers. You get to be a small scale power plant! But, instead of being polluting, dangerous, and wasteful, you are generating clean, green, sustainable energy – AND it makes a bunch of financial sense! That’s why we’re harping on this!

What is Solar Power Rocks’ Goal?

Our goal is to dramatically increase the adoption of solar in all over the country. Check out our mission statement and spread the word, as this is a great opportunity to bring together friends, family, and neighbors to save money on electricity and reduce energy consumption.

Tell me more about this group discount situation for Downingtown.

Absolutely! The discounted price for the Philadelphia area campaign with Mercury Solar is $5.09/DC Watt. As mentioned above, we’re also able to offer you $0-down, “same as cash” 12 month interest-free financing. After signing up for the campaign, feel free to ask your personal solar advisor all about how it works. There are also state of Pennsylvania loans available which in many cases, your new electric bill and your loan payment are LESS than your existing electric bill. No brainer!

What are these Alternative Energy Credits you mentioned above? Why are they so awesome?

Aside from generating electricity and lowering your electric bill which you already pay, the solar panels on your roof will pump out Alternative Energy Credits (or AECs). They are worth big bucks, which your utility company will purchase from you, just to prove they are sourcing their electricity from a clean source, like your rooftop.

For an average sized solar system, your Downingtown utility company will now pay you about $4,000 a year in AEC payments. How cool is that? To learn more about how you could be earning thousands of dollars in just a few months, get hooked up here.

How much will the solar panels cost for my home? When will they pay for themselves?

Good question! That all depends on your system size, and the solar incentives you’re able to get:

Solar Sizing: Your system size will be determined by how much electricity you use, your available roof space, and your personal motivations. A representative from Mercury Solar will work with you to design the best system for your needs. They will perform a home evaluation, provide you with a proposal under the 1BOG pricing terms, and show your electricity savings and return on your investment.

Solar Incentives: If you live in Downingtown, you are eligible for (up to) 3 different incentives for going solar:

  • #1. Everyone: 30% Solar Federal Tax Credit

    The Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar has been beefed up by both last year and this year’s stimulus packages, making 2010 a great year to go solar. This is a tax credit (better than a deduction because it counts against the income tax you already owe the IRS) equal to 30% of your out-of-pocket expense for solar.
    You will have to file for this credit yourself, but the installer can usually help you find the right forms.

  • #2. Pennsylvania Solar Cash Rebates

    • The PA Sunshine Program rebate subsidizes $1,250 for every DC kw installed (up to 35% of your out-of-pocket costs or $12,500, whichever is less). No need to worry about rebate forms and piles of paperwork as the solar installation company will handle this for you.
    • PPL Rebate

      You are eligible to receive an additional cash rebate directly from PPL (Bummer if you’re with PECO, as they are not offering a rebate right now). The PPL rebate is $2,000 per installed kw, up to $5,000. While recent rules prohibit maximizing both the PA Sunshine in tandem with the PPL rebate, you may block off the first 3kw of your system for your PPL rebate, then use the PA sunshine rebate for the remainder of your system.

      If this is at all confusing, check out our example below. If that is still confusing, just sign up here for personalized assistance. You’ll be connected with a personal solar advisor who can sort everything out for you!

  • #3. Pennsylvania AECs (Alternative Energy Credits). These are very similar to “SRECs” (Solar Renewable Energy Credits)

    As mentioned previously a few times, AECs are credits you gain by producing renewable energy (1 AEC for every 1,000 kWh of generation). Pennsylvania has created a market for these credits, and you can sell them for profit during the system’s life. Right now, each AEC in Pennsylvania is worth about $400. An average sized home solar system could earn about $2,000 in AECs per year, depending on your system’s size and orientation to the sun (south-facing is best).

Here’s an example of how the numbers look for a 5kW Solar System install in the Philadelphia area (Click it to enlarge):

The bottom line is that if you live in Downingtown, when you combine these incentives and tax credits with the extra discount negotiated by 1BOG, right now is a GREAT time to go solar. Simply sign up here, and we’ll get the ball rolling for you in a jiffy. These returns are better than the stock market. Better than that, your investment risk is minimal, and solar significantly increases the value of your home!

Oh yeah? How much value will solar add to my home?

Solar will immediately add approximately twenty times your annual electricity bill savings immediately to the value of your home upon installation. For many 5kW systems, that amounts to about $20,000. Don’t believe it? Check out this video!

I’m interested! What are the next steps?

  • #1 Sign up here for 1BOG and we’ll automatically enroll you in the active Philadelphia solar campaign (which includes Downingtown!).
  • #2 Our team will get in touch with you to answer your questions and help you decide if solar is right for your home.
  • #3 If you think solar sounds interesting, a very friendly person with Mercury Solar will schedule and perform a free solar home evaluation for you.
  • #4 You’ll get their proposal with the 1BOG exclusive campaign discount!
  • #5 Grab additional quotes from other installers to make yourself feel like you’re covering your bases. Though we’re confident you’re not gonna find a better deal than this, we’re strong advocates of consumer shopping.
  • I’m not very fond of giving people I don’t know my personal information, and I don’t know who 1BOG is. How do I know you aren’t gonna get me on some crappy mailing list or get some phone call from people trying to sell me insurance or hanging tomato plants?

    We totally understand your concerns about privacy and don’t like getting spam or weird phone calls either. You won’t get any calls from any other people than from 1BOG or maybe from Dan just to make sure everything is going smoothly. We wrote a very simple privacy policy to protect you and your personal information and we mean it.

    What is 1BOG anyway? Watch this:

    Why solar group discounts are smart from One Block Off the Grid on Vimeo.

    Cute video. 1BOG seems like a great option for me. Where do I sign up again?

    Absolutely, and they’re a good group of people too. Dave co-founded 1BOG as well as SPR, so you know you’re in good hands. Just fill out the form here and we’ll get the ball rolling for you with your own helpful, calm, and friendly solar adviser.

    All righty, I filled out the form. I’m all excited. But, tell me more about Mercury Solar.

    1BOG chose Mercury Solar as installation partner as part of their stringent solar company selection process. We’re confident their commitment to customer service, advanced technologies, and excellent warranties will give you peace of mind. Founded in 2006, Mercury Solar Systems has a strong customer base and is one of the fastest growing solar companies in the United States. We’re excited to help bring solar to Downingtown with Mercury!

    What specific solar panels and equipment will be used?

    If you’re a tech-head, you’ll be pleased to know Mercury Solar is offering both standard panels by SunTech and high-efficiency panels from SunPower for this campaign.

    Panel Options:
    Standard Panel – Suntech STP210-18/Ud
    Premium Panel – SunPower SP 225-blk (a bit pricier, but sleek and slightly more efficient)

    Mercury Solar is offering a choice of SMA Sunny Boy, SunPower, or Fronius inverters.

    Tell me more about warranties available for the solar system
    Of course! Mercury Solar offers all panels with a 5 year parts & labor warranty. The panels also have a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty and the inverter has a 10-year warranty.

    Don’t solar panels require some sort of maintenance? They sound like they could be a hassle.
    All your panels need is a quick hose off a couple times a year to get rid of bird poop, leaves, and other debris or dirt. Snow usually slides right off very easily. That’s all!

    I’ve got friends who live nearby, but not in Downingtown. Can they get the same discount?
    Great question! Just check the map below for the special pricing coverage area. If they’re in the shaded region, send them over to our sign up page.

    You made it all the way down here and haven’t signed up for a free no-obligation solar evaluation? My goodness! Sign up here.

Last modified: January 30, 2014

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