Solar Homes in Northern NH: With energy costs rising, is it time to consider solar?

NH Lifestyle Articles                                              

Should You Consider Solar?
As energy costs rise, is it time to take advantage of solar?

Everyone has heard of solar power, but how many people really understand it? At least, as a home investment?

Many people think you use solar as a backup system or to get off the grid. While both of those are possible, the majority of homeowners use it to reduce their electric bill or help mitigate their carbon footprint.

It typically works like this: You have a solar system installed. During the day, sunlight is converted to energy. That energy is back-fed into your electric utility's wires. They issue credits for uploaded electricity against your monthly bill. The bill is lowered. You pocket the savings or use them to offset any solar project financing.

While it can vary depending on several factors, the average homeowner will recoup their entire investment in 6-7 years, after taking tax credits, etc. Most home solar systems are install on a rooftop.Then your investment saves you money for decades to come! And business owners get an additional advantage: they can depreciate their system and installation costs!

Owner Kim Frase, of Frase Electric in Sandwich reports the typical NH home installation is a 5,000 - 8,000 watt system. A 5,000 watt system occupies as little as 360 square feet of roof space. Certain systems are more efficient, and can therefore occupy less space on your roof for the same output.

What does going solar cost? A good question. The answer is, it all depends on where you live.

Before rebates and tax credits, an average 'on grid' solar system costs roughly $3.00 per watt, installed. But then it get interesting. The state of NH will give you a rebate of seventy-five to eighty cents per watt. The federal government will give you a 30% tax credit of the overall cost. If you receive your power from the NH Electric Cooperative, they'll give you an additional 25% of costs. There are some payout ceilings for residential customers, but for businesses, there are virtually no caps. This means net system costs can be as low as fifty cents per watt.

After rebates, incentives and tax credits, a typical residential system can be as low as $10,000 or a little over $3.00 per watt.

Your contractor will review area meteorological data and your historical power consumption, your roof's slope and compass orientation to give you an accurate forecast of savings. He'll also consider your roof's condition before giving you an estimate. If your roof needs replacement soon, he may recommend a ground installation if you have the space. Ground systems allowing passive tracking can also add 30-35% additional power yield.

Depending on the locality, the permit process varies as do the property tax impacts. In some area towns it's tax neutral. In other towns helping to save the planet will cost more property taxes.

Aiman Alawa, CEO of NuWatt Energy, recommends that you also carefully consider manufacturers' and contractors' warrantees, also the likely survivability of the manufacturer. With a PhD in Engineering, Alawa cautions that many manufacturers have gone out of business, and some others are struggling.

With panels from the USA, Germany, Japan, South Korea and China all being available in NH, be sure to do your homework. With no working parts solar systems are very reliable, but with your luck, you'd be the guy needing warrantee service!

Update 12-18-15: Both at the federal and state level pending government regulations may change the solar credits and net metering significantly. You should double check available credits with your solar contractor before committing. You should also consider local tax regulations. Some communities do not add the value of a solar installation to your property tax value, others do. If you have a warrantee on your roof of any kind, you should also contact your roofing contractor to insure a solar installation is handled pursuant to the terms of your warrantee.

Home Solar Installations: Things to Consider
Planning a Home Solar Electric System
5 Things to Consider When Building a Solar-powered Home


Scheduled Events

  Seussical   (9/6-15)
  2001 Space Odyssey   (9/7)
  Muster in the Mountains   (9/7-9)
  Wingzilla   (9/8)
  Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino   (9/9)
  Things [Mom] Taught Me   (9/13-23)
  Reach the Beach   (9/14-15)
  WM Storytelling Festival   (9/14-16)
  Metallak Race   (9/15)
  Mandeville & Richards   (9/15)
  Cohase Film Slam   (9/16)
  Tricycle Grand Prix  (9/16)
  Rodney Crowell   (9/21)
  NH Highland Games   (9/21-23)
  Don Who   (9/22)
  Harvest Celebration   (9/22)
  Health & Wellness Fair   (9/22)
  Jeep Invasion  (9/22)
  Lakes Region Tri Festival   (9/22-23)
  Pat Metheny   (9/26)
  Driving Miss Daisy   (9/27 - 10/6)
  Neko Case   (9/27)
  Shot of JD   (9/28)
  Dixville Half Marathon   (9/29)
  New Hampshire Marathon   (9/29)
  Matthew Odell   (9/30)
  Lincoln Fall Craft Festival   (10/6&7)
  Sparrow Blue & Crowes Pasture   (10/6)
  Oktoberfest  (10/6-7)
  White Mountain Oktoberfest   (10/6-7)
  Fall Foliage Celebration   (10/6-8)
  Sandwich Fair   (10/6-8)
  Paddle the Border   (10/7)
  Lincoln Fall Craft Festival   (10/7-9)
  Shadow Play   (10/10)
  Killer Joe   (10/11-21)
  Greg Brown   (10/12)
  Camping & RV Show   (10/12-14)
  Riverfire & Horrorfest   (10/13)
  Jay Stollman Band   (10/19)
  Murder Dinner Train   (10/19-20)
  Pumpkin Patch Express   (10/19-21)
  All Things Pumpkin   (10/20)
  Ethan Setiawan Band   (10/20)
  Bettye LaVette   (10/26)
  Murder Dinner Train   (10/26-27)
  Pumpkin Patch Express   (10/26-28)
  Berlin Jazz   (10/27)

 ◄ Expanded Calendar ►

Photo Galleries


Miss Berlin-Gorham Competition 2012 New England Brewfest 2014 RiverFire, Berlin, NH 2012 Sugar Hill Lupine Festival Gallery 2012 Bristol-Gorham Foliage
Quick Links


Business Directory



                      more ►  





Area Attractions opening/closing schedules.

  Alpine Adventures
  Clark's Trading Post
  Cog Railway
  Conway Scenic Railroad
  Fort Jefferson Fun Park
  Jericho Mountain ATV Park
  Kancamagus Highway
  Littleton Riverwalk
  Lost River Gorge
  Mountain Meadow Funplex
  Mt. Washington Auto Road
  Polar Caves
  Santa's Village
  Vertical Ventures
  Whale's Tail Water Park
  Woodstock Inn & Brewery


more ►  


Community Profiles


  Bretton Woods
  North Conway
  Twin Mountain

more ►  


Recreation and Tourism


  25 Great Summer Adventures
  Farm To Table Restaurants
  Hiking To Crash Sites
  Little Ski Areas
  Local Movie Theaters
  Local Performance Theaters
  Moose Tours


more ►  


Other Resources

  NH Cabins & Cottages
  NH Census Info
  NH Data (OEP)
  NH Fishing Reports
  NH Foliage Report
  NH Hiking Trail Conditions
  NH Lottery
  NH Movie Guide
  NH Road Conditions
  NH Ski Reports
  NH Snowmobile Trail Reports
  NH State Parks
  NH Town Officials Directory
  NH Weather
  Summer Safety Tips [.pdf]
  White Mtn. National Forest




Copyright 2012-2018 by George C. Jobel, 603-491-4340. All Rights Reserved.