Co-op goals to deliver down price of solar equipment – The Instances of Northwest Indiana


Homeowner association rules can also be a barrier to solar.

Historic districts also can be an issue. “In general, historic districts don’t like installing solar facing the street,” the panels might be able to be used elsewhere on the property.

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Solar panels, which weigh 30 to 40 pounds apiece, aren’t cheap. Schalk said they’re an investment that pays off over time.

Time is short, however, for a couple of benefits available to purchasers now. A 22% federal tax credit is set to expire, so interested homeowners should install the equipment next year, Schalk advised.

In addition, systems installed by July 1, 2022, receive net metering until 2032. Depending on the utility, that might end sooner.

It’s possible to avoid using an electric utility altogether, but Schalk doesn’t advise it. That would require installing enough batteries to hold power until it’s needed.

“Batteries are really good for emergency disaster preparedness,” but they are very expensive now and probably wouldn’t offer a good return on investment, he said. “We’ve helped maybe 65 go solar in Indiana, and maybe five of them have installed batteries.”

By remaining hooked up to an electrical grid, the solar power user can use the electrical grid as a battery. Excess energy is released into the grid with credit granted for that extra juice. Then when extra power is needed, the grid is there to draw it from.

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