West Virginia is not exactly known as a sunshine state. It has fewer sunny days than the U.S. average – 205 sunny days is the U.S. average and 164 sunny days is the average for West Virginia. Of the remaining days in the year, 145 days experience precipitation – rain, snow, sleet, frost, etc. What remains is overcast or cloudy.
However, the amount of sunshine the state receives is more than sufficient to justify changing solar power.
The average cost of solar power installation in West Virginia is $20,000. This may seem like a substantial initial outlay, but there are discounts available to bring this cost down to between $11,686 and $14,283.
What you end up paying depends on where you are located in the state and the type of solar power system you opt for.
The above figures are based on a 5.7kW system. In general, a 5kW system is considered to be sufficient to power the average household.
Below are some of the discounts that you can expect to receive when you install a solar power system in your home in West Virginia.
Federal Tax Credits
As part of the initiative to encourage homeowners to switch to solar power, the Federal government has instituted a tax credit program. The program allows 26% of the cost of installing a solar power system to be credited against the federal taxes that are owed. It is not a discount, but a credit that goes towards paying your taxes.
However, West Virginians are encouraged to take advantage of the Federal Tax Credit initiative sooner rather than later. The 26% credit is set to be decreased next year (2022) to 22%. This means that you will not save as much on your initial outlay to install a solar power system in your home.
Net metering is a system that has been instituted where solar power users can connect to the grid to supply it with any unused power that the solar system generates. This unused power is distributed through the grid to other users who require power.
A solar power customer will then receive a bill every month for the amount of kilowatts they used from the grid less than the amount of unused solar power their power system generated.
This is a critical incentive program in West Virginia due to the less than average sunny days experienced in the state. It means that on the days where your solar power is insufficient to power your home, you can use grid power, knowing that you will be credited with the amount of unused solar power that the system generates on sunny days.
Once your solar power system has been installed, you will have to apply for net metering to benefit from these credits. Once again, this is not a discount. However, the amount of credits that you receive will save you money on your monthly utility bill, which can offset the initial cost of solar power installation.
Power Bill Savings
Perhaps the most significant savings you will experience when you switch to solar power are not paying for the sun’s power. On average, solar power can save you up to $1,500 annually on your electricity bill. This figure is based on the installation of a 5.7kW system.
However, the fewer sunny days in West Virginia once again come into play, and you can expect a saving of around 9% less than the national average. This amounts to a saving of about $1,350. This is still a significant saving, and when offset against the installation costs, your solar system will pay for itself within 6 to 7 years.
This is, of course, taking into account the Federal Tax Credit that you will receive. It doesn’t, however, take into account net metering, which will save you even more. After 6 or 7 years, the savings you make from going solar will go back into your pocket.
RPS, Property Tax And Income Tax Exemption
Unfortunately, renewable energy has not been a priority in West Virginia for several years. While the state did initially sign up for the nationwide solar energy initiatives introduced in 2009, this was repealed in 2015.
This means that as of 2015, you can no longer receive any rebates, credits or other incentives from the state to install solar power.
The state also doesn’t allow for property tax exemption. Solar power is considered to be a home improvement. Home improvements increase the value of your property. Increased property value means that you are paying more in property taxes.
Many states exempt solar installation from increasing your property tax because the home improvement is also of value to the state. This is not the case in West Virginia.
Income tax credits went the same way as the RPS incentives that were once on offer. You can no longer receive credits towards the income tax you owe for installing solar power, which was once the case in West Virginia.
While it is unfortunate that the state has put renewable energy on the back-burner for the time being, it doesn’t reflect poorly on solar power for households in West Virginia.
A solar power system can still save you thousands of dollars and is a good investment for increasing your property’s value.