Save with solar in Atlantic City, New Jersey

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Atlantic City, New Jersey

With a population of nearly 40,000, Atlantic City is one of the best-known tourist destinations in New Jersey. The city’s economy has been focused on tourism since its creation. The real estate sector in Atlantic City experienced massive growth during the early 20th century, and was the inspiration for the popular board game Monopoly. Atlantic City experienced a decline shortly after World War II, but recovered with the legalization of gambling in 1976; casinos and hotels are a cornerstone of Atlantic City’s economy.

As with most tourist destinations, Atlantic City buildings consume large amounts of energy. Renewable sources such as solar power have become an attractive investment for both businesses, municipal buildings, and homeowners:

  • Atlantic City Electric, the local utility, redesigned and improved the permitting and connection process for customer-owned solar panel systems in 2016.
  • In 2009, a 2.4-megawatt (MW) solar panel system was installed at the Atlantic City Convention Center. At the time of installation, it was the largest rooftop solar power system in America, using more than 13,000 individual solar modules. The system reduced the convention center’s power bills by 25%.

Solar Power in Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City Electric charges more than 18 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and rates are expected to increase to 19 cents/kWh by the end of 2017. This is 50% higher than the national average electricity rate. Therefore, if you generate your own energy with solar panels, the savings can be significant. And, as electric utility companies continue to increase their rates, you can expect your annual energy savings to increase.

In addition to providing attractive savings, a solar panel system also lets owners accumulate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). You are awarded one SREC for every 1,000 kWh of clean energy generated, and New Jersey utilities are willing to pay top dollar for SRECs. This is due to the New Jersey Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires local utilities to obtain 22.5% of their energy from clean sources by 2021. For electric utility companies, purchasing SRECs is an attractive alternative to developing their own solar panel systems. Generating 1,000 kWh saves approximately $180 in power bills, and the corresponding SREC is worth around $210 as of mid-201. This means that the total economic benefit of solar in New Jersey is equal to $0.39/kWh.

There are also many tax incentives that reduce the cost of solar panel ownership:

  • No sales or property taxes for solar panels: If you purchase a solar panel system in Atlantic City, you are not charged the sales tax. Additionally, your property taxes also stay the same, even though a solar panel system typically increases your home value by $20,000 or more!
  • Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit: Home and business owners who install a solar panel system can claim 30% of its cost as a federal tax deduction, as soon as they file their next tax declaration. The benefit applies to all solar panel systems in the US installed before the end of 2019.
  • NJ Clean Energy Residential New Construction Program: This program offers rebates for new homes that deploy renewable energy generation systems and energy efficiency measures. However, the benefit is exclusively for new constructions – existing homes are not eligible.

If you own plenty of equity in your property and would like to avoid the upfront cost of solar power, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) can be an attractive financing option. HELOC financing normally offers single-digit interest rates and a 15-year repayment period. Home and business owners can go solar with $0 down and cover their loan payments with a combination of energy savings, SREC sales, and the federal tax credit. For those who qualify, solar loans allow homeowners to start saving money with solar without having to invest any money upfront.