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I’ve got sunshine

Published in Green Living on May 8, 2023 by  Chelsea Henderson

After 20+ years of working on and around climate change policy and advocacy, not to mention writing a book on the untold story of climate politics (GLACIAL, coming to bookstores near you in Summer 2024) in l installed solar panels on my house.

Years ago, a solar provider that shall not be named determined—based on an old Google Earth image, not an on-site visit—I had too much tree cover to be eligible for solar panels. Fast forward to Spring 2022 and three very large trees in my backyard were in failing condition. While other trees were budding with signs of spring, these retained their old dead leaves from fall, were losing large limbs in heavy rains, and had rapidly peeling bark. A (different) solar rep told me that if the trees were removed, I would indeed be a good candidate for solar panels.

That was all the extra incentive I needed to take down the sick trees. My roof is now free of shade. (Side note: as are the newly parched shade perennials I had planted over the years. I’m working on that…)

After seeking multiple quotes, I opted to use Solar Energy World for a few reasons. First and foremost, my neighbors had a great experience with both the rep and the installers. Also, Solar Energy World’s panels are made in the US, which felt important to me, especially since I qualified for a 30% federal tax credit for total project costs. 

Living in Maryland, installing residential solar is quite an advantageous option. The state rebates homeowners $1000 as a thank you for installing solar. Prince Georges County, where I live, also has a generous tax credit of $5000, though there is a queue for it so I may not get to take advantage of it for a few years. SRECs—Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, the ability to sell the extra energy generated by the panels to the utility—are also generous in Maryland. I should receive my first quarterly dividend soon! And it was great to see no charge on my latest Pepco bill!

We have heard the question: do solar panels add or detract from a home’s value? With public awareness leaning in on the need for more renewable energy, we can say that solar panels are definitely a selling point when it comes to listing your home. So don’t worry that taking this eco friendly step now will make it harder to sell your home later. It’s an asset, just like installing an EV charger or a heat pump water heater.

So if you’re solar curious, let’s get together and chat! While I am most knowledgable about the financial incentives in Maryland, I can easily get up to speed on DC and Virginia policies, if that’s where you live. 

In the meantime, may the sun shine bright!

About Chelsea Henderson

Chelsea is a Realtor® licensed in Maryland. An avid gardener, she is the co-founder of the Cheverly Native Planting Project, a non-profit that encourages planting of native plants in residential and public spaces. She is also a member the Cheverly Community Market Board, a bimonthly seasonal farmer's market. A yogi, fiction and non-fiction writer, and recovering Senate staffer, Chelsea is eager to apply her passion and skills to helping people with their real estate journey.

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