Do you have a vacation home that remains vacant much of the year? Maybe you’re a snowbird with a summer home up north and a winter home in Florida or the Carolinas. Owning and maintaining a second property can often be a drain on finances. Even if your mortgage is paid in full, you still have to pay property taxes on a house that you live in only half the year.
While you may not want to rent your home to strangers when you’re not using it, there’s another way that your vacation property or second home can earn money for you even when you’re not living in it. How about if it provided you with free electricity when you are home?
It’s hard to think of a better investment 0r a way to enjoy free electricity year-round, than by placing solar PV panels on both your primary and secondary homes. When you’re not residing at your other property but the sun is shining, your solar PV array is producing clean electricity and feeding it back in to the grid. You’ll receive a credit on your utility bill, so the chances are good that even with a small array, you won’t pay a dime for electric throughout the year. (Think about it: If you’re wintering in Florida and summering in the North, your home heating and air conditioning bills will be lower as well, so your electric consumption is already lower than most homeowners.)
Solar Energy Tax Credits Sweeten the Deal
It gets better… While some tax credits are only available for primary residences, the solar energy federal tax credit, good until December 2016, also applies to secondary homes or properties that you rent out. You’re entitled to 30 percent back on your solar PV installation purchase with no cap.
No-Maintenance Solar Panels
Concerned about your solar panels when you’re not around for months at a time to care for them? They’re not like plants, which need constant water and someone to look after them. Solar panels are virtually maintenance-free. You can ignore them for six months at a time and they will continue to do their job, producing clean, free, renewable energy and feeding it back in to the grid. When you’re home, they’ll produce free solar energy for you to use all day.
If you’d like to ask your neighbor to brush the snow or leaves off your panels to achieve maximum efficiency in any weather, you can. But it’s not necessary. The solar panels will actually help the snow melt faster, so they can start producing solar energy again quickly.
Long-Distance Monitoring of Your Solar Panels
If you’re curious about how your solar panels are performing when you’re not home to monitor them, ask your solar installer about an iPad or smartphone app that monitors the production of your solar panels from anywhere in the world with Internet access. If production drops suddenly, you can call your solar installer to take a look and fix the problem — the same thing you’d do if you were living in your home at the time.
If you’re looking for a worry-free, long-term investment for your second home or rental property, consider a solar PV installation to reduce your electric bills and do something good for the environment, too.