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A Solar Panel Primer for DC Residents

by Nena Perry-Brown

Earlier this year, the Office of Planning proposed a text amendment which would encourage solar farming citywide, expanding the potential for renewable energy usage in DC. As the Zoning Commission prepares to rule on the amendment later this month, UrbanTurf is taking a look at the current options for DC residents interested in taking advantage of solar power.

(Updated) DC solar potential map, courtesy of Mapdwell. Click to enlarge.

For homeowners, several incentives are available for those interested in installing solar panels, including the Investment Tax Credit that can offset the cost of solar panels by up to 30 percent. The Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) has a tool which identifies the solar potential data specific to an individual address, including the potential kilowatt hours of solar yield, the number of panels needed to achieve that potential, and the likely cost of the solar array, minus the value of the federal tax credit. 

The DOEE tool also provides the potential average monthly and yearly revenue from the panels, estimated equivalent effect of or carbon offset by the installation (eg. number of trees planted, miles travelled by car or plane, etc.), and how long it would take the system to pay for itself. 

EnergySage enables homeowners to compare installation cost estimates from several providers. For those unable to purchase a solar panel system outright, there are also options to finance them. 

For homes in a historic district, any rooftop solar installations will need approval from the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). A recent decision in the Takoma Historic District indicates that there may be more leniency in reviewing street-facing solar installations than previously shown. It may also be wise for homeowners to look into the rules governing the zone where their house is located and be mindful of what could potentially be constructed on adjacent and nearby lots, as an ongoing zoning appeal indicates that the impact of development on existing solar installations may not always be considered when building permits are approved.

Low-income homeowners, who may not have the savings to purchase a solar installation outright, also have options to get panels installed, either by applying to participate in a solar co-op (such as this large one for Ward 8 residents, currently undergoing zoning review) or by leasing panels to be installed. Renters, or those whose homes may not be good candidates for a solar installation, can also take advantage of solar power by opting into one of DOEE's Solar for All projects. 

See other articles related to: solar power, solar panels, solar panel, dc solar panels

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a-solar-panel-primer-for-dc-residents/15274

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Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

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Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

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Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

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Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

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Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

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Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

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