Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels
With SEG earnings, you can break even with solar panels much faster, making solar panels financially worth it in addition to the obvious environmental benefits. In addition, with continuous improvements to technology, solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable.
Keeping in mind the cost, savings, and earnings mentioned earlier, you can break even on your solar panel investment within the systems lifespan.
For example, with a 3kW system, you can break even after 21-25 years. With a 4kW system, you can break even already after 16-22 years. Finally, with the larger 6kW system, you can break even after 19-23 years.
So if youve ever asked yourself if solar panels are worth it, the answer is: yes, they are.
Do Solar Panels Reduce Your Electricity Bills?
Solar panels help to reduce your electricity bill. The amount you can save on your bills depends on where you live. In London, for example, you can save an average of £100-£270 on yearly electricity bills. In other areas like Stirling or Manchester, you can reduce your bills by £90-£230 per year.
And Finally Lets Do Out The Math
We have our three main assumptions now how do those numbers translate to an estimated number of solar panels for your home? The formula looks like this:
Number of panels = system size / production ratio / panel wattage
Plugging our numbers in from above, we get:
Number of panels = 10,649 kW / 1.3 or 1.6 / 320 W
which gives us between 20 and 25 panels in a solar array, depending on which production ratio we use . 25 panels each at 320 W results in a total system size of 8 kW, which is right around the average for EnergySage shoppers looking for a solar installer. Tada!
Solar Installation: How To Find A Qualified Installer
Its important you choose a certified installation company because they will be able to advise you on all regulations. It’s best to talk to a few installers and get their estimates. Most of them will give you an idea of costs over the phone before arranging a survey on your home. Ask them how long the work will take as well as what the warranty and/or guarantee for their work is. If any guarantees are insurance-backed this will help you avoid any surprises later. If you’re looking to qualify for FiT then your system will need to be installed by a Microgeneration Certification Scheme accredited installer.
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Can I Finance Solar Panels If I Dont Have Upfront Cash
Dont have the upfront cash to purchase a system outright? No problem, there are many zero down financing options with low interest rates that make going with a solar loan an affordable option. If you suffer from high electric bills, your solar loan payment may even be lower than your electric bill! Once the loan is paid off, youll be producing free clean energy and saving thousands of dollars.
Most leases and PPAs are zero down as well. If you go with a prepaid PPA, youll be paying an upfront price for the next 20-25 years of electricity. Since you will not get the tax credit back, the savings youll see will be quite less than those of a cash purchase.
If youre able to take advantage of current solar incentives such as the Solar Tax Credit, we definitely recommend purchasing your solar system. Ownership is more beneficial to your savings and adds the most value to your home. Regardless of if you buy your system or go with a lease/PPA, youll still save money with solar and help reduce reliance on fossil fuel energy generation.
Buying Your Own Solar System
If youre a more qualified homeowner looking to research, design and install your home solar system, youll need to purchase equipment on your own.
First, determine how many solar panels your home requires. This hinges on an array of factors: the amount of electricity your household consumes, the surface area available on your roof, the amount of sun exposure your roof receives and more. For residential installations with limited roof space to work with, we recommend looking into highly efficient solar panels. This will ensure your investment is worthwhile.
Also, remember that designing a solar system requires a lot more than just panels. Consider what equipment youll need before purchasing your solar panels. Do you want a string inverter or microinverters? Do you need a battery? A charge controller? .
Even if you carry out your own installation, youll still need to apply for any necessary permits and interconnection agreements. In the event you perform an off-grid installation, you may not need permission from your utility.
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Property Taxes And Your Solar Panels
The last thing to be aware of is that adding solar panels to a house increases its value, and depending on where you live, that could increase your property tax bill. However, some states and municipalities have property tax exemptions for solar systems. This means that even though adding solar panels to your house will increase its equity, a property tax exemption means that your home assessment doesnât increase. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.
However, some states have a property tax exemption that lasts only for a restricted amount of time, such as ten years. This means that after the exemption expires, you could see an increase in your property assessment and taxes. Be sure to find out what the rules are in your city and state.
Frequently Asked Questions Related To How Many Solar Panels Power A House
Do you still have an electricity bill with solar panels?
Once you install solar panels, youll still receive a monthly electricity bill. However, it should be lower/close to zero, or even negative! If youre still experiencing high utility bills after installing solar panels, you may need to reconsider the size of your system. Especially if you have added electricity loads since your solar installation , your current system size just might not cut it anymore.
Are there disadvantages to powering a home with solar panels?
The two main disadvantages of solar energy are the high upfront costs and intermittency, meaning that solar energy isnt available 24/7 due to the simple fact that the sun doesnt shine at night. Luckily, that problem can be partially sorted with solar energy storage. Check out our article about the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy to learn more.
Are solar panels worth it?
Depending on your electricity prices, your energy needs, your desire to be eco-friendly, and your homes geographic location, solar panels are definitely worth installing. While the initial investment in solar panels is high, they do pay off over time by cutting down on your electricity bill. On average, EnergySage solar shoppers break even on their solar investment in about eight years.
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Is A Diy Solar Installation A Good Idea
While you can install solar panels yourself, it may not be the best idea simply because of the potential danger involved. DIY solar installations let you save money on labor costs and you can even find DIY solar kits online, which range from $8,000 to $10,000.
However, the potential savings may not be worth the risk: youre working on a roof, plus youre completing electrical work. Not to mention, youll need to work out all of the permitting and planning yourself, which can be hard to navigate. You also run the risk of voiding out warranties and not qualifying for certain incentives.
So, while you can install solar yourself, we dont advise it. DIY may save you a buck, but going with a professional installer will save you a headache.
How Many Solar Panels Should You Buy
My answer to this question has changed considerably compared to just a few years ago. This is because solar installation prices have fallen considerably and electricity prices have risen.
The only limitations now are your budget, what your roof can properly fit, and the amount your local electricity network allows you to install.
For most homes, the minimum you should consider buying is 6.6 kW of panels with a 5 kW inverter.
Pro-tip: You can, and should, install up to 33% more panels than the inverter is rated at. For example, if you install 6.6kW of panels with a 5kW inverter, youll get 33% more solar rebate and lots more power in winter, mornings and evenings. Its a very efficient use of the inverter. Also, in many areas, the smaller the inverter, the easier it is to get permission to connect to the mains electricity grid.
If you use a lot of electricity or youre likely to add an electric car and/or battery to your home in the next few years, you should consider going larger than a 6.6 kW installation.
I dont think Ive ever heard someone complain that they put too many solar panels on. But people do regret installing too few panels because its expensive and complicated to add panels to an existing system at a later date.
Ive written about this topic in more detail here.
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How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels
The average cost to install solar panels in the United States is about $12,000 after federal tax incentives. On the low end, you can install a smaller system for around $5,000, while a high-priced Tier 1 solar panel system can cost $40,000 or more.
There are additional costs that go into an installation project beyond the price of panels. In fact, only about a quarter of the installation costs are actually for the panels. Labor costs, operational costs and additional equipment, such as inverters and control circuitry, make up the rest of the price.
Solar energy companies install the solar panels, provide maintenance and offer warranties on both the panels and the work. These additional services arent free, but they are often worth it. A few additional factors affect the price of solar panel installation.
Should You Lease Solar Panels
There are several payment options that bundle solar installation costs into a consumers electric bill, either as a solar panel leasing option or as a power purchase agreement . Solar leases allow the homeowner to install solar panels without paying anything up front reducing the overall solar panel cost. After the panels are installed, the homeowner pays only a flat monthly fee. The fee includes the installation costs, which are spread out over time, and the cost of electricity supply.
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Calculating How Much Solar Panels Will Cost For Your Specific Home Given Its Location And Electricity Use
Our solar panel calculator is the easiest way to determine the costs and savings of a solar panel installation for your specific home.
All you need is your address and the value of your monthly electric bill, and our solar calculator will determine your local utility companys electricity rates and how much power you use in order to tell you:
- How many solar panels you need to power your home
- How much your solar panels will cost
- How much your solar panels will save you
Can You Buy And Install Your Own Solar Panels To Save Money
It is possible to buy solar panel kits and then organize the installation, permitting, and inspections yourself. Doing this could save you between $2,000 and $3,000 – potentially more.
However, there are some potential pitfalls to install solar yourself. The installation of solar panels is dangerous, as it requires you to do electrical work at great heights. Its also possible that you could damage the equipment, and it can be very difficult to claim a solar warranty when you install on your own. DIY solar projects typically suit those who are contractors, or those who know a qualified solar electrician to help them out.
If you order a DIY solar kit, you can contact a local solar contractor to assist you if you are not comfortable performing the installation on your own. In some cases, however, installers will charge you more for the installation of a DIY solar kit, making it cost the same amount it would have if you hired an installation company to do all of the work. If this is the case, it might not be worth it to install solar on your home with a DIY kit.
Therefore, if you are considering DIY solar panels, we suggest that you get at least one quote from a full-service solar company that will supply the equipment, perform the installation, and handle permitting.
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Net Metering And Time
Under net metering without TOU, you get full credit for any excess electricity you send into the grid no matter what time of day you generate power.
Without net metering or if you have a TOU plan, you need to pay attention to when you use and generate electricity. Read the articles above to learn more.
Do Solar Panels Work When The Power Goes Out
Most people think that solar panels will keep their lights going when the power goes out. Unfortunately, unless you add battery storage , they wont.
Solar power systems automatically go offline in the event of a grid power outage as a safety measure for utility workers who are repairing power lines.
The only way solar panels will power your home during a blackout is if they are paired with battery storage.
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Assess Your Options For Using Solar
Purchasing and installing a system that you fully own and maintain is no longer the only option if you want to go solar. Even if you rent your home or don’t want to purchase a rooftop system, there are many programs will enable you to still benefit from solar electricity.
Below are some of the options available for using solar energy at home check with local installers and your utility for programs available in your area.
Purchasing a Solar Energy System
Purchasing a solar energy system with cash or a loan is the best option when you want to maximize the financial benefits of installing solar panels, take advantage of tax credits, and increase the market value of your home, and a solarize program is unavailable or impractical.
The solar installer will connect the system to the grid, and receive an interconnection permit from the utility. When the PV system generates more power than the homeowner requires, the customer is often able to sell excess electricity to the grid, and when the homeowners electricity needs exceeds the capacity of the system, the home draws energy from the grid as usual. Learn more about grid-connected home energy systems.
Purchasing a solar energy system is a good option if one or more of the following apply to you:
Community or Shared Solar
Consider community solar if one or more of the following apply to you:
Learn more about community and shared solar.
Solar leases are a good option if one or more of the following apply to you:
Are Solar Panels Worth It If Youre Not In The Sunny Southwest
Solar loves the sun, but you dont have to live in the sunny Southwest to achieve solar savings! In fact, solar systems can sometimes cost more in these areas because you need a larger system to cover your electricity needs due to air conditioning. Certain climates, even though they can be less sunny than others, are better suited for solar. Many factors go into whether solar is a good fit or not sunshine is just one of them! Some of the states with the most installed solar in the country are in the Northeast even though theyre more famous for their cold snowy winters than their sunny summer days! These areas often have higher electricity costs and better local incentives than other states, leading to greater savings down the line.
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How Can You Find The Right Solar Installation Company
At SolarReviews, we recommend going with a reputable local solar installer. Generally, youll want the installer to meet these requirements:
- Been in business for over 5 years
- Hires their own installation crew
- Has between 15 and 20 employees
- At least one NABCEP-certified installer
But remember, you also want to make sure the company is charging a fair price for their services. If its too cheap, you might have to worry about a shoddy installation or low-quality equipment. If its too expensive, you might be paying an extra premium for no added benefits.
You need to find a happy medium of a solid price from a trusted company that uses high-quality materials. The best way to connect with companies in your area is by using our state-of-the-art solar calculator, which will not only give you a detailed cost and savings estimate catered to your specific home, but will also put you in contact with our vetted solar installers.
Before Your New Solar System Is Installed
Before you begin the installation process, your installer will need to do a survey of your property. This is an important part of the installation process that will make sure you get a system and design that is right for your property. Your surveyor should assess your property and talk you through your shading analysis for the most accurate projected figures. They should leave you a written, fixed cost quote, including projected performance of your system. You don’t have to commit to anything on the day. Ideally, get a few written quotes from different installers three is a good number.
You should also consider pigeon proofing solar panels. This is easier and cheaper to do during installation rather than after. You just need to ask your installer about this before getting the solar panels up.
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