Moving to the DC area to work at Amazon National Landing? If you’ll be owning a home, you’ll be happy to learn that going solar is easy to do in most areas of Northern Virginia, the Maryland suburbs of DC, and Washington.
The economics and the process
Homes with roof sections that face close to south are the best candidates for going solar in our region. Given the competitiveness that typifies the housing market Maryland, Virginia and DC (or collectively DMV, for short) you’ll likely find the roof on your home is new enough to allow a solar installation right away. Still, see if you can learn your roof’s age.
Under the current utility programs in Maryland, DC and Virginia, homes with good-sized southern-facing roof space are going to present the best economics. That’s because it allows the greatest potential for offsetting what the homeowner pays in monthly energy bills. By consulting with a local solar company you can get a feel for your solar economics.
Solar professionals in the DC area can help you understand the dynamics involved, including how much offset from you can expect given the monthly electric bills of your home. Companies like us that install in this area have seen different styles of homes go solar – single-story, unique architecture, and townhouses alike. Our sophisticated modeling software can show you the ideal number of panels and layout on your roof, and ensure your home still looks great with solar.
Benefits of solar by state: DC, MD and VA
Different benefits are available based on the electric utility that serves your location. (In our states, utilities operate as regulated monopoly energy providers in their territories. In general, densely populated places have service by an investor-owned utility corporation. Dominion Energy is an example – it’s the largest utility in Virginia. As you go out into more rural communities, electric cooperatives provide power. These electric providers will have slightly different solar programs.)
The only special term you should learn is “net metering.” That’s a term for receiving full credit for the solar power they send to the grid during the day when they’re using less energy than their solar is producing – it’s available for most customers around the DC area.
Virginians may also be able to expect shorter project time frames in Virginia. DC and MD residents get solar renewable energy certificates or RECs which have value and can be sold on the market for added proceeds, and residents in all states have one more year of 30% federal tax credit for investing in solar in 2019, before it reduces to 26% the next year.
Save your dollars for your real priorities
If the increased popularity of Amazon tells us anything, it’s that consumers are looking to save time and that they value a good deal. The DC area is well-known for great dining and has fabulous entertainment and nightlife. Instead of throwing money at high utility bills month after month in your new home, save with solar and have more room in your budget for the fun stuff. Our average 8 kilowatt solar energy system will offset $20,000 in utility costs in its first 10 years of operation, and has a useful life of up to 40 years. Now’s a perfect time to rely less on the utility and take ownership of your energy, getting help from the sun to power all your devices. (Even that smart speaker over there.)
The Southeast has some comparatively low electric rates but bills can actually be staggeringly high. It’s been a bit of a vicious cycle – decades ago, super low rates kept utility bills small, while usage steadily grew. Homes were built with energy-hogging systems like baseboard electric heat, heat pumps with electric auxiliary, and air conditioning systems sized for today’s big homes.
The effect of inflation and rate increases has been that high usage now costs the customer big-time in monthly bills, which can creep up into the $200s or $300s depending on square footage and extra appliances and devices. The first step to deal with it is to be smart – check around your home for Energy Star labels and be smart with water heater and thermostat settings. Your utility company may have helpful rebates too! (Example: Dominion Energy in Virginia offers a bonus annual credit on your bill if you let them cycle off your air conditioner for short periods on summer afternoons, and P epco in Maryland has comprehensive energy efficiency offerings with plenty of discounted and free measures.)
From there, a solar system proposal can estimate your energy cost savings.
Sustainable and self-reliant
Get ready to go solar and look forward to keeping track of all the sustainability attributes of your solar system too, like carbon pollution avoided. Consider getting battery backup to keep your solar online during the periodic power outages our region gets from winter storms and summer severe weather.
Plus, you’ll know you’re supporting some of the 250,000 solar jobs in the U.S. That number is growing in 2019, just as tech and e-commerce jobs are on the rise!
Whether you’re on the way soon or months from making the move, welcome to the DMV, Amazon folks. Our trained, renewable energy pros are excited to work with you!