A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance kicks off Solarize campaign to help NKY take advantage of tax credit

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) is kicking off its first-ever Solarize campaign in Northern Kentucky this fall to allow residents to take advantage of a 30-percent federal income tax credit before it expires at the end 2019.
 
This campaign, which runs from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, assists homeowners in assessing the suitability of their homes for solar technology, provides bulk-purchasing discounts for these projects, connects homeowners with qualified contractors, and helps homeowners with financing options to make their solar installation a reality.
 
Over the past three years, GCEA has promoted solar-energy installations in Cincinnati through a joint campaign with the City of Cincinnati, but this is the first time the nonprofit has focused its efforts to promote solar energy in the Northern Kentucky residential market.
 
“Because the 30-percent federal income tax credit for solar installations expires 2019, we thought it was important to make homeowners in Northern Kentucky aware of the availability of this tax credit and encourage them to take advantage of this great savings opportunity before the end of the year,” said GCEA Residential Operations Director Rob McCracken.
 
McCracken said the cost of installing solar panels in our region generally ranges from $13,000 to $21,000 per house, depending on the size of the project. If homeowners make a $21,000 investment in solar energy during this calendar year, they would receive a $6,300 one-time tax credit on their federal income taxes, plus receive approximately $1,150 a year in energy savings every year thereafter, he said. That means this investment, which also increases the value of your home, will pay for itself in 11 years – less than half the life of the solar-panel warranties, he said.
 
“When you install solar panels, you are creating your own energy,” said McCracken. “A good analogy is the difference between buying vegetables at the grocery store and growing them in your own garden. Growing your own vegetables provides a good return on your money and it’s better for the environment, just as solar is. Of course, solar technology is a lot easier than tending a garden; the solar panels do all the work for you.”
 
Solar energy remains an attractive, economical option for homeowners
 
In addition to the 30-percent federal tax credit, a number of factors continue to make installation of solar panels an attractive and economical option for homeowners in 2018:

• The cost of a solar installation has dropped by nearly 75 percent in the last 10 years.
• Using the Solarize volume discount, residents can save between 10 and 20 percent off the normal cost of solar installations; the larger the system, the greater the savings.
• Today’s solar panels are more visibly appealing than in the past, can be customized to unique roofs, and they are more durable, with warranties that now exceed 25 years.
• The in-house infrastructure needed to support the system is less complicated than in the past and takes up very little space.
 
Simple process; free solar assessments
 
Solarize allows homeowners to simply and smoothly navigate the process of adding solar energy to their homes. The first step is to visit SolarizeNKY.org. Using a geo-spatial mapping tool, GCEA can tell you if your roof is a good fit for a solar installation, how much your installation is likely to cost, and how much energy savings the installation is likely to produce annually.
 
If the home is a good candidate for solar energy and the homeowner wants to learn more, then GCEA will arrange for a qualified solar installer to visit the home to develop a customized proposal, which includes the recommended size of the solar array and the cost of installation. GCEA also can help homeowners leverage available tax incentives and bulk-purchasing discounts that result in reduced installation costs and provide homeowners with easy access to financing options to pay for the installation.

GCEA is a nonprofit organization aimed at reducing carbon emissions throughout the region.
 

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