Solar energy in Las Vegas is booming. The largest city in Nevada now ranks among the top 10 cities for solar energy capacity.
There are a few reasons for this: the global urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the steady price drop of solar power technology, and the huge savings in electricity bills.
If you're a homeowner in Las Vegas, you can greatly benefit from installing solar panels.
Face it, there's no shortage of sun in Las Vegas. Not only does this mean consistent and reliable power, but an increase in energy efficiency.
Here, we'll share some important information to help you make the switch to solar.
Understand Las Vegas Solar Energy laws
Solar legislation in the state of Nevada is all about easing and encouraging the development of solar energy.
Back in 2017, Nevada passed AB 405, which gives everyone in the state the right to use renewable energy, such as solar—regardless of being under a homeowner's association (HOA).
Additionally, it allows residents to enter solar easements with their neighbors. This prevents any landowner from blocking direct sunlight to your solar panels.
The 405 bill also reinstates net metering. This allows those with solar systems in Las Vegas to sell excess energy back to the grid in exchange for credits.
However, this incentive is tiered and the amount paid to consumers will decrease with every 80 megawatts of applied/installed solar power.
AB 465 is another law worth mentioning. This bill makes solar energy more accessible to low-income communities. Ultimately, it requires certain utility companies to offer solar access programs.
That's not all. Under SB 407, Nevada has established a non-profit organization called the Nevada Clean Energy Fund.
Although the fund is still in developing phases, the purpose is to help finance both residential and commercial solar projects.
Thus far, as a resident of Las Vegas, you have a few solar energy laws to benefit from. However, we cannot go without mentioning the federal solar tax credit which offers huge savings.
Once you install your solar panels, you can claim up to 26% of the equipment cost and installation when you file your federal taxes.
It's important to note that the solar tax credit only applies to those who paid for their solar panels upfront or with a solar loan.
Assess the Cost of Solar Energy in Las Vegas
Making the switch to solar is an investment that is 100% worth it. Your return on investment (ROI) depends on the amount you previously paid for electricity and just how efficient your solar panels are.
The lifespan of solar panels is about 25 years. So commonly, with a photovoltaic (PV) system, your ROI is about 20% in the first year. On average, it takes about 7-10 years for solar panels to fully pay themselves off.
However, it ultimately depends on the size of your home and how many solar panels you need. In Las Vegas, homeowners who install solar panels save about $1,600 on their electricity bills. This is huge!
So how do you decide how many solar panels you need?
Well, it all depends on how much energy you use. This includes how much you're running your air conditioning, as well as your use of appliances and lighting.
If you have an electric vehicle or are considering one, you also need to account for the amount of energy you will use to charge the vehicle.
Currently, the average cost per watt in Nevada is about $2.35-2.87. After applying the federal solar tax credit, the average household pays about $10,438-$12,757 for solar panels.
This does not include a battery storage system. A battery is also very beneficial, as it will allow you to store excess energy to use when the sun's not shining.
For example, at night or if there is a power outage. It's also something to look into if you want to live off the grid.
Before you start shopping around for solar panels, you should consider an energy audit. Truth is, your home is probably losing energy in areas you have no idea about.
For example, you may have air leaking from windows and doors, insufficient insulation, and non-efficient lighting, to name a few. Conducting a complete home assessment can help you increase your energy efficiency.
As a result, you waste less energy in your home and you save more money when you switch to solar.
Consult With a Professional Solar Company
Now you are ready to determine how much energy you need from solar panels. The best way is to consult with a professional solar company in Las Vegas.
As part of your consultation, the solar professional will consider everything from your energy usage and costs, how much sun hits your roof, and even possible weather fluctuations.
After assessing all these factors, you'll receive a custom proposal. This includes your savings over the next 25 years, as well as a quote for the equipment and installation.
If you decide to move forward with the installation, you don't have to worry about permits and inspections. The solar company will take care of all of that!
However, you need to know that it is a process with several steps and waiting periods. The entire project can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months.
First step is site assessment and approval. This can take 1-2 weeks. Then, like any construction project, you will need permits. This takes 3-6 weeks, depending on your local government.
The following step is the custom design of your solar system, which takes an additional 1-2 weeks depending on where your materials are coming from.
installation is the fastest, this takes 1-2 days. Then, after about a 1 week inspection, you are ready to connect with your utility company.
After the utility company reviews your application (about 2 weeks), voila! Your solar system is connected.
Solar panels are very durable and require minimal maintenance. In the event that something happens to your panels, rest assured that you are covered under warranty.
Explore the Different Types of Solar Panels
Not all solar panels are created equal. They differ in aesthetic, materials, cost, and efficiency. Due to their different features, they can be suited for different solar projects.
Therefore, it's important for you to be knowledgeable about the different types of solar panels before making a final decision.
1. Monocrystalline Panels
If you're looking for panels with the highest level of efficiency and performance, then look no further. The efficiency of monocrystalline panels varies from 17%-22%.
Because they are the most efficient, you will require fewer panels on your roof compared to the other two main types (polycrystalline and thin film).
Monocrystalline panels are the most popular for residential properties, especially for smaller roofs. Although these panels are advantageous in this way, they are also the most costly.
Monocrystalline panels were the first-ever created and are made from one pure crystal of silicon. You can easily identify them—they are black in color and the silicon wafers look like squares with no corners.
2. Polycrystalline Panels
These panels have a lower level of efficiency and performance (15%-17%). More and more homeowners on a budget are installing polycrystalline panels. However, they are not significantly less costly than monocrystalline panels.
Like monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels also have cells made of silicon. The main difference is in the manufacturing process. The vat of silicon goes through a cooling process, which creates multiple crystals.
Because each solar cell has multiple silicon crystals, electrons cannot flow easily. This is why these panels are less efficient. The multiple crystals are also why the panels are blue in color.
3. Thin Film Panels
Thin film panels are nothing like the two former panels. They are flexible, lightweight, easy to install, and the least efficient. Because of these characteristics, they are mostly used for large-scale solar projects.
They are all black in color and do not have silicon cells. Rather, they are made of a variety of different materials, like cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), amorphous silicon (a-Si) and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC).
Make the Switch to Solar Energy Today
With so many benefits for consumers, choosing to go solar is a no-brainer. Yes, it is an investment, but the ROI, eliminating your electricity bill and even the increasing the value of your home makes it all worthwhile.
Now that you know what it entails to make the switch to solar in Las Vegas, do it with the right solar company. We are here to help make the process easy, so schedule a free consultation with us today!