The historic town of Hilton, New Jersey features some fine examples of the Victorian homes from the area’s early years. Kevin Kraft owns one of them. Yet a shimmer of blue upon the roof of Kraft’s home reveals the technology that makes his home stand apart from the others. The Kraft home is the first in Hilton to go solar.
As a member of the Maplewood Green Team and an advocate for Maplewood Green Day, installing solar panels on the Victorian’s roof was an appropriate solution for the eco-minded homeowner. It also helped that Kraft is part of a team that installs solar systems in conjunction with Home Depot.
As a solar power systems consultant, Kraft knew all the details about available rebate, incentive and financing options that would enable him to install solar panels at substantial savings. Kraft knew he could look forward to a federal tax credit of 30% of the installation costs, and that he is eligible for other New Jersey solar rebate programs as well.
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Interestingly, the program that really sold Kraft on going solar was the option to lease the solar power system. Leasing deals enable homeowners to lease residential solar systems rather than buy them outright. Solar companies buy the system for you, then install it or arrange to have it installed by a solar contractor. Kraft can expect his monthly payments for the system to be less than his monthly utility bills.
The leasing company also maintains all the equipment, including regular inspections and maintenance, as well as insures the system, “so you don’t have to put it on your homeowner’s insurance,” said Kraft.
Kraft expects his solar power system to provide two-thirds of his electrical needs. However, most home solar panel systems produce excess energy during periods of each day. For each megawatt hour of energy the system produces, Kraft will be awarded with one Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC).
Utility companies are required by the government to invest in clean energy. Purchasing electricity from solar systems helps them reach mandated goals. SRECs can be sold to conventional power companies – in New Jersey, SRECs sell for as much as $600.
Kraft’s Victorian home has seen more than a century of changes since stagecoaches rumbled through the Hilton neighborhood. In the mid 1800’s, stagecoaches traveling between Newark and Morristown began to stop at a small hamlet known as North Farms. Benefiting from the subsequent increase in trade, the settlement grew, and today the area is known as the Hilton section of Maplewood, New Jersey.
Adding solar panels to his home can only increase the value of living in the historic home, with savings in energy costs now and later. Solar panels add to the resale value of a home, with about a 60% return on investment. A good solar contractor can assess how much savings you can expect by going solar.
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