The Chicago Journal

Solar power found to have two benefits for users

Solar: Solar energy is one of the finest ways for people to reduce their carbon footprint and has significantly improved their capacity to save money.

A California utility regulator has limited net metering usage.

As a result, it will at least 60% reduce the overall savings for houses from selling electricity to the grid.

Additionally, it affects the country as a whole by changing the economic balance.

What solar brings

Josh Hurwitz, a resident of Connecticut, decided to install solar electricity at his house for three reasons:

  • Reduce his carbon footprint
  • Store electricity in a solar-powered battery in the event of a blackout
  • Save money

Hurwitz’s choice will enable him to save tens of thousands of dollars over the following fifteen years and pay for his system in six years.

Thanks to it, he is also shielded from growing electricity costs.

Hurwitz is getting ready to build a Tesla battery to store the energy he produces because solar has so far operated without a hitch.

“You have to make the money work,” said Hurwitz.

“You can have the best of intentions, but if the numbers don’t work, it doesn’t make sense to do it.”

Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August of this year, is beneficial, according to Josh Hurwitz’s experience.

It will encourage the usage of solar power systems placed on residential properties, which is one advantage of extending and boosting tax advantages.

The Solar Energy Industry Association and Wood Mackenzie estimate that the law will hasten adoption growth by 26%.

Also prolonged are the tax credits, which have a 2024–2035 expiration date.

The credits will cover 30% of the system’s cost.

A 30% credit is also available for batteries that can store recently generated electricity for later use.

Warren Leon, executive director of the Clean Energy States Alliance, spoke before a bipartisan coalition of state government organizations and made the following remarks:

“The main thing the law does is give the industry, and consumers, assurance that the credit will be there today, tomorrow, and for the next ten years.”

“Rooftop solar is still expensive enough to require some subsidies.”

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California solar market

Having assurance about anything is the hardest part about solar.

Due to ongoing legislative changes, market analysts have dubbed the industry a “solar coaster.”

California removed a key incentive on December 15, the day after the new federal tax credits went into effect.

Solar energy systems owned by homeowners can sell any excess power they generate back to the grid.

As a result, both the estimates and California’s enormous solar energy business were perplexing.

It will, however, start working in April 2023.

According to Wood Mackenzie, the solar business will face a dramatic 39% reduction in 2024 if the state and federal amendments are implemented simultaneously.

Even without considering the incentives offered by the Inflation Reduction Act, the consultancy firm projects a 50% decrease due to the California policy shift.

According to Mackenzie, home solar is also coming off a historic quarter.

Currently, California represents 1.57 GW, or over one-third of the total, a 43% increase from the previous year.


Potential switchers could quickly recoup some of their early costs by going green, thanks to tax credits.

Josh Hurwitz installed his solar system using the federal tax credit.

He is currently preparing to install a battery due to the tax benefits.

Several contractors provide packages that let customers pay the entire sum up front and earn credit for later rentals of the same piece of equipment while they wait.

Rooftop solar systems can pay for themselves in as little as five years when tax advantages are paired with savings on electricity that households don’t purchase from utilities.

Furthermore, if the initial investment is reimbursed in 20 years, it can save more than $25,000.

Portfolio manager for the Van Eck Environmental Sustainability Fund, Veronica Zhang, stated:

“Will this growth have legs? Absolutely.”

“With utility rates going up, it’s a good time to move if you were thinking about it in the first place.”

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Energy storage

Utilities may be required to pay a higher price in some areas for any excess electricity generated by residential solar systems during peak output or used to replenish home batteries.

However, these states also have more substantial subsidies and consumer-friendly legislation.

Before this week, California had some of the laxest rules.

However, state utility regulators decided to let utilities pay less for any additional power they were required to buy after power firms protested that the prices were too high and increased the cost of electricity for other customers.

The facts of California’s verdict, according to Wood Mackenzie, made it seem less demanding than the company had anticipated.

EnergySage estimates that California’s payback period without a battery will be ten years rather than six when the new laws take effect.

The company expects savings to drop by 60% in the upcoming years.

Battery-powered systems, according to EnergySage, will be more positively impacted because owners keep the majority of the extra power rather than selling it to the grid.

“The new [California rules] certainly elongate current payback periods for solar and solar-plus-storage, but not by as much as the previous proposal,” said Mackenzie.

“By 2024, the real impacts of the IRA will begin to come to fruition.”


Rooftop solar: how homeowners should do the math on the climate change investment

Opinions expressed by The Chicago Journal contributors are their own.