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Critical 2019 Deadlines for Maximizing Your Solar ROI

Shannon Higgins

July 2019

Solar deadlines photoIn the world of solar, it's a common thought that the price of the solar panels and equipment is the main driver behind creating an attractive ROI. After all, that's what makes up the majority of the price tag on a solar energy system, so the lower the prices, the higher your return, right? This, however, doesn't pencil out to be true. Federal and state incentives, along with utility rate plans and deadlines, are critical factors when analyzing the cost of going solar. And the biggest incentive of all is set to start ramping down in the next few months. 

While it can be difficult to remember all the different moving deadlines and rate changes, we’re here to help. If you’ve been waiting to go solar and are hoping for prices to go down even further, don’t forget the short term incentives that can have a far more immediate impact on your solar ROI.

1. APS solar buyback rate set for September re-evaluation

Every September, APS re-evaluates the rate at which they credit solar customers for any excess solar energy sent back to the grid. Currently, this rate is set at 11.6 cents for every kilowatt hour delivered back to the utility. It’s safe to assume that this buyback rate will likely decrease in September, which will extend a solar ROI. To ensure the best financial return on your solar investment, going solar sooner and avoiding this rate drop will ensure that you get the biggest bang for your solar buck. Read more about this important review here.

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2. 30% solar investment tax credit (ITC) begins ramping down after 2019

The solar ITC is arguably the most lucrative solar incentive for both homeowners and businesses, but it's about to get much smaller. The ITC is a tax credit for 30% of the solar system cost (with no cap) and can be taken all in one year, or spread out over five years. The current 30% rate is in place through the end of 2019, so this is the last year to reap the maximum return  from this lucrative program. In 2020, the ITC reduces to 26% and then drops again to 22% in 2021. From 2022 onward, the residential ITC no longer exists, but the commercial ITC will remain at 10%. So, if you're inclined to turn Arizona's most abundant natural resource into immediate energy savings, we strongly recommend grabbing the 30% rate before while it's still here.  

3. Multi-month solar installation timeline

The summer heat is already upon us, bringing with it those unwelcome high electricity bills. This pain point usually pushes more people to consider the affordable, clean energy alternative of solar. Summer also means a higher volume for solar installation companies, which translates into longer installation timelines. To ensure that your system is up and running in time to reduce those expensive summer bills, it’s wise to get the process started today. Combine the busyness of a summer installation schedule with an existing multi-month design and permitting timeline, and the window is quickly closing to have a fully commissioned system online to help out while the weather is hot.

Although the sun itself doesn’t have an expiration date, don’t wait to cash in your piece! With the 30% ITC coming to an end, 2019 is surely the most important year for solar in more than a decade. Contact one of our qualified solar integrators to start your solar project today!

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*This blog has been updated from its original publication date of 4/17/2018 to reflect 2019 deadlines.