Tennessee solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels
Benefit from a PV system
4.82 hours of peak sunlight
Tennessee is a reasonably sunny state – a PV system can substantially cut your electricity bills
Earn money selling the energy you can’t consume yourself back to the grid
3 years payback period
A solar power system in Tennessee pays for itself a couple of times during its lifespan
Reduce the cost of your system by 26%
Get a quarter of the PV system cost off your taxes with the Federal Solar Tax Credit
The law is on your side
In Tennessee solar easements are allowed by law, protecting property owners’ right to access sunlight
Tennessee #29 in the US
- $62 982/year Average savings from going solar in Tennessee
- 14 604 kWh/year Average electricity consumption of a FL household
- 7 212 kWh/year AC energy output of a 5 kW solar system installed in Tennessee
- 11 ¢ /kWh The cost of electricity today in Tennessee
- 23 ¢ /kWh The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years
- $0.67/WAverage gross price of a solar power system as of May 2021
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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Tennessee you need to know
Return 26% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows homeowners to claim 26% of the cost of their solar power system installed until 2022 as an income tax deduction. For example, if your solar system costs $20,000, you are eligible for $5,200 (26% of the total gross cost) in tax credit. Solar system cost comprises not only the money spent on solar panels, but also freight shipping costs, professional installer fees, tools bought or rented and so on. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.
Sell excess electricity with Net Metering Program
Tennessee is one of the four states where a Net Metering policy hasn’t been developed. However, federal law requires its availability upon request, so there is nothing to worry about. You will have to negotiate with your utility and the conditions may vary from company to company.
But the general principle behind Net Metering always stays the same: it allows you to send the excess electricity back to the grid instead of storing it with battery banks. When you sell your solar power to the utility, you receive credits that can be used to offset your next bills. Their value can be equal to full retail electricity price, but companies sometimes use an avoided cost rate which is a bit lower. The credits are usually rolled over for at least one year, after which time all unused credits may be retired, bought from you or allowed to roll over indefinitely.
Protect your solar panels from shade with Solar Easements
A solar easement contract is a written agreement between you and some other entity, for example, your neighbor. This type of contract helps you secure access to direct sunlight for your PV system for years to come. A solar easement protects your panels from potential impairments, such as vegetation and structures. It is voluntary and must contain the description of the property, protected space and a clause on compensation or termination of the contract. Once signed, it is tied to the land, not the owner. Any such agreement must be created in written form and must meet the general requirements for legal contracts. You can use a sample provided by the Office of Energy Programs of the Department of Environment and Conservation.
Install your solar panels in Tennessee with no worries
It is legal to install solar panels on your house in Tennessee. However, there are no specific laws in place to protect the residents from restrictions imposed by homeowners associations (HOAs). Thus, you may have to submit your project for approval before changing the exterior of your house. The board may ask you to hide the system from view, reduce the number of panels or just reject your proposal. Contact your HOA or study its declaration and rules to find more information.
Solar panels help Tennesseans survive tornadoes
Tennessee is susceptible to a variety of natural disasters, including severe floods, earthquakes, severe storms, tornados, etc. Your PV modules are well equipped to face most hurricanes, as well as heavy rain and hail. In case of a power outage your modules will save the day. In 2020, severe storms left more than 100,000 homes in Tennessee without power. Some people had to spend various days without electricity. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that dangerous weather events like this will become more frequent and powerful, further increasing the attractiveness of solar power.