ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — One Ashland resident is getting a solar-powered energy discount as electricity prices soar across the commonwealth.

On Friday, May 20, the Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity installed 14 solar panels on an existing Habitat home as part of a program to help reduce energy costs.

The installation was part of a collaboration with GiveSolar a non-profit that helps low-income homeowners get solar energy for their houses.

The Habitat home with its newly installed panels. (Photo: Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity)

In a press release, Habitat said the 5-kilowatt system could save the homeowner between $60 and $70 a month.

Energy costs have risen rapidly in recent months across the United States, driven in part by the increasing cost of oil and natural gas, from which most of the electricity in Virginia is generated.

“Habitat has recognized that affordable housing is about both making the purchase of a house affordable and making the ongoing operation of a home affordable,” said Jeff Heie, director of GiveSolar. “Solar is an excellent tool to minimize electricity bills while contributing to long term environmental solutions.”

In Virginia, homeowners who install solar panels are still required to be connected to the electrical grid, as they often still draw a limited amount of electricity. The money they save comes in the form of “excess generation credit.”

In other words, if a homeowner needs to draw some electricity from the grid on a cloudy day, but produces more than they need on a sunny day, Dominion or another utility will “credit” them the excess energy, letting them reduce their overall bill by the value of the extra power.

“I’ve worked for years to make solar on Habitat homes a reality,” said Habitat treasurer John Suddarth. “I am deeply appreciative of GiveSolar and Jeff Heie for making the first solar home a reality for Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity. “

Now that this project is finished, Hanover Habitat says they’re going to “continue to look for solar partners in the community” and attempt to add solar systems to future projects in the area.