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 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:
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.