By Alyson Laura
LEED AP BD+C, O+M
Last month, Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) invited our longtime friend, Trey Gibbs, of Hannah Solar to share the latest trends of solar installation in the southeast with our team in the Atlanta office. There are some important sunset dates in solar rebates so I’m recapping the highlights in this blog.
Let’s start with a bit of history. Did you know the solar panel was invented in the United States of America? The first panel was manufactured in Bell Labs in the 1950s.
The raw materials are plentiful and easy to collect because silicon is the second most common element on Earth. Our on-the-ground resources set us up for solar success, but what about the sun’s capacity? Can it really power all our needs—Yes! The sun emits daily radiation in a magnitude of 8,000x our current energy needs.
The big deadline to be aware of is the 12-31-2016 expiration of the 30% federal tax credit for the total cost of your solar installation-including batteries and roofs. Georgia’s state incentive offers an additional 35% tax credit for a total of 65% rebate. North Carolina’s combined rebate is 95%, and helped position them as the regional champion of installed solar capacity and second in the nation between California (#1) and Nevada (#3). South Carolina’s tax incentives start next year for a total of 80% of total project cost.
Need to find out what rebates and incentives are available in your area? Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency® and type in your zip code to learn how to make renewable technology affordable.
The most fashionable part of the presentation was case studies of thin film applications where the solar panels come off the roof and are woven into façade design. See samples, here. This newer type of photovoltaic collection is less efficient than traditional panels and requires more square feet to obtain similar results. Another exciting development is piping potable water behind the panel to radiantly cool the panel for greater efficiency and produce free hot water for building users.
If you are interested in solar but don’t know where to start, give SIG a call and we’ll connect you to a local pro. Commercial applications have come down from decades of time to return on your investment to a short 5 years. Start saving on electricity costs with solar power.
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