The City of Philadelphia has put in place a solid foundation for the promotion of green power, mostly due to the variety of incentives encouraging property owners to invest in renewable energy. Even though the incentives available to Philadelphia residents have declined in recent years, it is still possible to get certain benefits for installing PV equipment, such as solar rebates and net-metering, which are covered here -
The typical payback time for a standard-size solar panel system (5kW) is approx. 5 years.
Energy rates in the City of Philadelphia are a relatively low $0.12/kWh. If you installed a 5kW system you would save an estimated $804 per year on your energy bill ($67/month).
Even though a solar rebate program is available in Philadelphia via the Pennsylvania Sunshine program it has since August 2011 been operating on a waiting list system, which means that all new applicants will need to wait until spaces in the program are freed-up by existing members dropping out. Applicants can still apply for the rebates but until the program is fully open again, the credits are not guaranteed.
In the state of Pennsylvania there aren’t any state-wide tax incentives at the present time for installing a solar energy system.
Similar to the tax credits, the local residents aren’t entitled to any tax exemptions, so unfortunately no discounts are available here. Tax exemptions are one of easiest steps to implement to promote solar energy so might feature at a later date.
In the state of Pennsylvania the Renewal Portfolio Standard (RPS) is built with a very strong foundation and aims to source at least 18% of is energy from various types of renewable power systems. The state’s RPS is split into two categories. Level #1 consists of the truly clean methods, such as solar panels, wind generated, and low-impact hydro, and accounts for 8% of the states energy – 0.5% of this is expected to come from solar. While in Level #2, some not so desirable methods are used, such as the large size hydro power systems, and this accounts for the remaining 10%.
Residents in Philadelphia are entitled to benefit from net-metering on solar systems up to 50 kW where the energy supply comes from one of the investor-owned utilities (IOUs). Net-metering means that for any excess energy generated but not used; a credit is held on account until the next bill. If you continue to run in credit after a full 12-month period (June 1st to May 31st) you have the option to request a cash refund for the amount of surplus energy on account.