Solar power production continues to be a growing industry throughout New England, as more homes, municipal buildings and businesses choose to utilize this type of clean energy. While the Northeast region may seem like one of those places that is lacking in sunlight, there is actually quite a bit of untapped solar potential in our part of the country.
There are a number of reasons homeowners and business owners would want to invest in solar panels for their homes and companies. For example, they may be interested in reducing their monthly electric bills or interested in making a positive contribution to the environment and creating local jobs within their community.
And although the initial outlay for solar panels is often considered steep (these costs actually continue to decrease year over year), the panels eventually may pay for themselves and then may significantly lower the cost of utility bills year after year.
Solar Energy Savings & Credits
Additionally, there are often federal and state cost savings. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows homeowners and business owners to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from their federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value. The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy also offers a fact sheet with more details on the ITC. The Most Northeastern states also have net metering laws in effect, which is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.
As a solar power contractor, part of your job requires getting buyers to understand this value. Helping this cause, many solar power contractors believe that the aesthetics of panels has continued to improve over the last few years, with black, low-profile mounting systems. Experts also note that solar panels are sleeker, thinner, and more efficient than they were only three years ago, which purchasers should appreciate.
Two studies also further demonstrate how the growing solar market may positively impact home values and the possibility of additional business, especially in the Northeast. The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy reported that that many homebuyers view solar panels as upgrades, similar to a renovated kitchen or a finished basement and were willing to pay roughly $15,000 more for a house that included an average-size system.
A 2017 study by Redfin and Sun Number found which U.S. cities have the most untapped solar potential in the Northeast region and the average increase in selling price for those homes that have solar power. The study listed the top 10 U.S. cities in our region with a Sun Number, which indicates the solar potential of rooftops, above 70 (the scale goes from 1 to 100). The increase in median home price with solar panels ranged from $29,000 to $189,000. Here they are:
1. Providence, RI – Average Sun Number: 79
2. Rochester, NY – Average Sun Number: 80
3. Syracuse, NY – Average Sun Number: 84
4. Worcester, MA – Average Sun Number: 82
5. Buffalo, NY – Average Sun Number: 83
6. Boston, MA – Average Sun Number: 71
7. Newark, NJ – Average Sun Number: 76
8. Augusta, ME – Average Sun Number: 75
9. Albany, NY – Average Sun Number: 81
10. Concord, NH – Average Sun Number: 72
Protection for Solar Power Contractors
With so much potential in the market, solar power contractors can significantly grow their businesses in 2019. As a contractor, you’ll also want to ensure that your insurance is keeping up with the “green” industry, so you aren’t opening yourself up to greater and potentially uncovered exposures.
For example, if you are the contractor you want to be covered for an entire project, including the loss of income as the project owner. You’ll also want to make sure that the transportation of materials to the job is covered as well as ensuring that there is coverage for materials that need to be temporarily stored off-site prior to installation.
You should consider Inland Marine insurance that offers specialized coverages and risk strategies for those whose work involves the installation or operation of solar panel equipment. You will want to work with your agent who has the resources and dedicated technical staff to address the specialized needs of local solar contractors.
During the quoting process, the more information an insurance provider has about your operations, the better job we can do. Your agent can help you craft the appropriate renewable energy coverage, and we can identify the potential safety programs best suited for your company. Start working with an Acadia Agent today.
Acadia is pleased to share this material for the benefit of its customers. Please note, however, that nothing herein should be construed as either legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.