This is the #1 Question that Geoscape Solar gets asked in an initial phone call, web-chat, or e-mail. The simple answer might be: “Currently, the cost to convert to solar energy in New Jersey runs about $3.46 per kilowatt.” But what does that tell the property owner? Even if you know your annual electrical usage, this answer doesn’t factor in your roof/land space available to place the solar panels on. Some properties have enough space and the right orientation to cover 100% of their electrical usage. Others will only have enough to cover 80%. Either way, it still probably makes financial sense to go solar, but you still don’t have the actual “cost.”

This number also fails to factor in the credits and rebates that you might qualify for. The current Federal Solar Tax Credit is currently the largest financial incentive available to property owners with commercial solar installations in New Jersey. This tax credit allows for 30% of the total cost of your solar energy system to be deducted from your 2019 taxes. It is a one-time deduction and will drop to 26% in 2020. If you factor in the 30% deduction, the cost of your solar energy system decreases significantly:

The graphic above depicts examples of smaller kW systems. Larger, commercial properties will enjoy greater tax credits as the credit amount proportionately increases based on the size of the solar energy system.

The Federal Solar Tax credit can be applied to labor, parts, and material for your system. This includes sales and usage taxes. It is important to understand that the 30% tax credit is a non-refundable credit to your 2019 taxes. If you owe $20,000 in taxes and your tax credit is $10,000, you will owe $10,000 in taxes after the credit is applied. Conversely, if you owe $9,000 in taxes and your tax credit is $10,000, the IRS will not refund you the $1,000. It is also important to note that the Solar Tax Credit goes to the owner of the solar energy system. If you lease the system, you are not able to claim the 30% Tax Credit. A Geoscape Solar Advisor will be able to advise you if it makes more financial sense to buy or lease your system once the tax credit is factored into your overall expenditure.

In addition to your property’s available space to house solar panels, the design of your system is going to be factored around measuring kilowatts and kilowatt hours. It is important to understand the difference.

A watt of electricity is a measure of power. A kilowatt (kW) is a measure of 1,000 watts of electricity. Solar Panels are rated in units of kilowatts in order to measure the peak amount of power they can produce to offset your electric bill. The more efficient the panel, the more energy it can draw in to offset your usage. Geoscape Solar installs quality, high efficiency, solar panels. The quality of your commercial solar panels play a large role in the Return on Investment (ROI) that you receive by going solar and how quickly your system pays for itself.

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the equivalence of 1 watt of energy is being accumulated over a 1 hour time frame. It is the standard unit that Utility Companies use to buy and sell power usage. It is an exact measurement of each hour of electrical usage. There is no correlation between a kilowatt (kW) and a kilowatt hour (kWh) other than you can calculate kilowatt hours by multiplying the kilowatts used by the number of hours it is used for.

In order to calculate the size (kW) and design the most efficient solar energy system for your property, Geoscape Solar takes your daily kilowatt hour (kWh) usage and divides it by the peak sunlight hours of the space you have available (rooftop , ground-mount or carport). Geoscape Solar’s system design factors in the most efficient solar panels available.

The final factor in determining how much your solar energy system will cost is which solar company you chose to go solar with. Make sure you choose wisely because a poor installation done by a disreputable installer will cost you fortune. Ask how long have they been in business for. Do they focus exclusively on commercial solar installation or are they roofers that can add on solar panels? What types of solar warranties does the company offer? Do they offer high-efficiency solar panels? What professional accreditations do they have? Do your research because your relationship with your solar provider is meant to last for decades.

Geoscape Solar is coming up on our 12th year in the solar industry. We only do solar and we do solar right. If you are not completely satisfied with our work, we guarantee that we will make it right. Geoscape Solar has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, we are NABCEP certified, and accredited by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).