Solar

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Solar Energy

Solar energy is sustainable, renewable, and plentiful. As the cost of using solar to produce electricity goes down each year, many Americans are increasingly switching to solar. According to the US Department of Energy, there are over a million solar installations across the country. Below are a few of the benefits of solar electricity.

Cost Savings:

Financial returns and lower monthly utility bills are major incentives for going solar. The exact savings you will see with solar depends on the following: 

  • Electricity consumption
  • Solar energy system size
  • Whether you purchase or lease your system
  • Direct hours of daily sunlight
  • Size and angle of roof
  • Local electricity rates
  • Renewable energy tax credits, as applicable (https://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/mi )

 A solar electric system provides an opportunity for anyone who is looking to reduce monthly utility bills and make a long-term, low-risk investment.

Increased Home Value:

Solar panels are viewed as upgrades, like a renovated kitchen or a finished basement, so purchasing a solar energy system may increase your home’s value. Studies show that homeowners pay a premium for a solar home; one study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that on average, solar increased the value of a home by about $15,000. Although market factors like electricity rates and system size may impact the size of the premium, solar homes can sell for more than homes without PV. Learn more about solar and real estate.

 

Solar Works Everywhere:

The solar resource of the United States is enormous.  In fact, just one hour of noontime summer sun is equal to the annual U.S. electricity demand.  Most states in the United States have good-to-excellent solar resource. Even places with relatively low solar resources, such as the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, can experience cost savings, and have similar solar resources to countries that have widely developed solar PV, like Germany.

 

Environmental:

Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar that is generated will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions like CO2, as well as other dangerous pollutants such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.  Solar also reduces water consumption and withdrawal.

 

There are many opportunities for solar installation on residential, commercial, and institutional buildings throughout city of Royal Oak.  Recognizing this, the City is making solar installation as user friendly as possible by working with the nonprofit SolSmart, a national designation and technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), to reduce solar energy installation barriers within the city.

What is SolSmart?

SolSmart designation is a national designation program designed to recognize municipalities, countries and regional organizations that have taken key steps to address barriers to solar energy and otherwise foster the growth of strong solar markets.  

There are three levels Gold, Silver, and Bronze. SolSmart designation is an incremental way to recognize U.S. communities that have taken steps to reduce barriers to solar development and encourage the growth of a more robust solar market. 

Solar Map

Solar Maps and Solar Energy Potential 

Discover Royal Oak’s untapped roof-top solar potential. 

Investigate your property’s solar potential on Project Sunroof or explore Royal Oak’s solar potential. You can also consider using any of the following tools to estimate your solar potential:  

Sun Number: Enter your address to find your estimated solar capacity, impact, and savings. 

PV Watts Calculator: Enter information about your electricity use to run simulations on solar generation and costs throughout the year. 

Energy Sage: Estimate payback periods and get quotes for your home from multiple solar installers online. Enter your address, and Energy Sage will contact you as they receive quotes from local contractors.

Consumer Protection Resources

Solar is a big investment, but there are plenty of resources to get started. Visit these links for consumer protection information.  

Learn more about solar at the Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power or the Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar

Selecting a Solar Contractor

Choosing a solar installer can be challenging. These websites provide basic information on choosing the right contractor. 

Choosing a Solar Installer: An informative short video from GW Solar Institute explaining the questions to ask and research to conduct prior to going solar.  

Consumer Solar Checklist: A checklist for residential consumers considering solar energy from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.  

Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights: Ensuring a positive customer experience by addressing important issues from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.  

Visit Solar Customer Resource Portal for even more resources.   

Solar Panels

Local Michigan PV Installers

Local financing and contractors can be found at Michigan Saves. Michigan Saves is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit enables energy consumers anywhere in Royal Oak to access financing for solar. They partner with local authorized contractors and financial institutions. 

Michigan Solar incentives and finance are found at Michigan Saves