The Modesto Irrigation District Might Lower Its Energy Incentives—But Solar Panels Still Save Money

Modesto solar energyOne of the many advantages to living in the forward-focused state of California is all the great incentives we receive for installing solar panels on our homes. Compared to many other states around the country, California has some of the most generous incentive programs available, making it seem almost irresponsible not to take advantage of them. Here in Modesto, the solar industry is definitely going strong—and that makes it an easy decision to go solar.

You may have heard some grumblings from the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) that the solar incentives here are costing the utility, and the city, money, and may have to be changed or risk impacting non-solar residents.That’s why now’s the time for consumers to capitalize on the benefits of solar, which helps relieve our dependence on fossil fuels like oil and carbon, and also help us all financially by providing affordable access to a renewable energy source and reducing our dependence on the electrical grid.

Understanding Modesto’s Solar Industry

Even with potentially reduced incentives from MID looming, Modesto consumers are still better off financially by installing a solar installation on their property than by remaining solely on the electrical grid. Here’s why:

close up solar panel

An closer look at solar panels | Image courtesy flick’r user Alan Levine

  • Potential $1,000 savings on electric bills: Our city sees higher than average electricity costs compared to other cities in our area. With the average utility bill in Modesto averaging about $3,792 annually, that is more than a 25% savings.
  • Peak sunlight hours: Stanislaus County has more peak sunlight hours than any other county in the United States. This means that your solar array is working more hours than any other solar installation to produce green electricity for your home.
  • Solar panel lease options: Modesto allows for solar panel leasing, making them affordable for almost any household. Solar installations can cost around $15,000 to install, but leasing allows your home to benefit from a solar array for a monthly payment that’s often less than the energy bill savings you receive.

Solar is a booming industry in this town and, regardless of upcoming changes, the benefits will continue to outweigh the disadvantages. It’s also important to research the incentives that are state and federally-funded versus local city ones to take advantage of the maximum benefits available to you. Solar installation professionals are usually responsible for applying for many of the incentives as part of their installation service, so use them as a resource to uncover all the financial benefits out there.

The Benefits and Incentives of Installing Solar Panels in Modesto

There are state and local incentives for installing solar on your property, and neither should be ignored. Especially with ever-changing policies, it’s important to make sure that you’ve done your homework where incentives are concerned—just because there might not be a local incentive, doesn’t mean there aren’t other federal incentives you can receive. Currently in Modesto, the benefits of installing solar are:

  • Solar equipment costs can be deducted from property taxes: This state exemption allows for any active solar system on your property to be 100% tax exempt. If you add a $15,000 solar installation to your home, whether mounted on a roof or freestanding, it cannot be included as added value, and, therefore, none of the total value will be included on your property tax.
  • Excess electricity can be sold to the local utility: Called net metering, the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) allows for residents to sell back excesses of solar-generated electricity to the utility at a specified rate. This means that not only can Modesto residents end up owing $0 on their power bill, they can also earn money back from MID for the extra electricity generated by their panels.
  • Reimbursement for cost of equipment and installation: The California Solar Initiative provides rebates to consumers based on estimated solar system performance, either in a lump sum or paid out over five years. To take advantage of these rebates, residents need to first have an energy audit conducted. Then they must find a solar installer registered with the California Energy Commission that can apply for the rebate on behalf of the resident.

The Future of Solar in Modesto

california home solar panels

A California home featuring solar panels | Image courtesy flick’r user Mike Spasoff

Even with local solar benefits in flux for the city of Modesto, installing solar panels is guaranteed to reduce your electric bill each month by reducing the electricity you use from the power company. And, with all the excessive sunshine we experience here, you can receive a return on your investment more quickly than anywhere else in the entire country.

Right now, programs through the Modesto Irrigation District are still advantageous to the consumer. Earlier this year, the board of MID passed a ruling to allow customers to continue to carry daily roll over production credits for solar, which is generous compared to many other cities around the US. This, combined with the net metering policy that still stands, allows Modesto residents to reap huge benefits. So much, in fact, that in the future it might start to strain the utility financially. With the cost of solar dropping, and the state incentives for California residents still in place, now is the time to buy solar panels to incur the best financial benefits.

Modesto is the perfect city to enjoy all the rewards that come from going solar. Whether it’s a small standalone installation or a full rooftop array, any resident can enjoy a lower electric bill and smaller carbon footprint. Because one thing that everyone can agree on is that solar is here to stay, and growing into a more prominent source of energy, not just for our fair city, but for the whole country. So why wait? Whether you purchase or lease, you can’t go wrong by going solar.

If you want to learn more about installing a solar system for your home, in Modesto or any of the cities we service, call the solar experts at Bell Brothers for a quote today.