Are Solar Panels Worth It
If you live in an area with high energy rates and a suitable solar rating and can afford the initial investment, its worth installing solar panels in your home while the 26 % tax break is in place for the good of the environment and your wallet. But dont expect to eliminate your power bill overnight.
What’s The Best Roof Pitch For Solar Panels
The best roof pitch for solar panels is between 30-40°, but the angle of the roof can fall outside of this range and generate electricity effectively.
Solar panels can still absorb sunlight even when horizontal. However, solar panels which are more below 12º from horizontal won’t be able to self-clean and may become less effective as dirt builds up on them.
Your Electricity Costs Are Already Low
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 96% of homeowners have installed solar, or are considering doing so, to save money on utility bills.
This makes perfect sense. Many American households spend hundreds of dollars every month on their power bills and solar panels are often the most effective way to slash that amount. Financial modeling by SolarReviews shows 25-year bill savings in the amount of $62,803 for solar panels installed in San Francisco in 2021, for instance.
However, some homeowners dont spend very much on electricity. This could be because of one or more of the following factors:
- You have a small home
- You have a small household size
- Your home and appliances are energy efficient
- You enjoy low electric rates from your local utility
If thats you, and you pay $50 or less a month for electricity, then installing solar probably isnt worth the time and effort.
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What Type And How Many Solar Panels Does Your Home Need
Depending on the maker, solar panels come in all different shapes, sizes, build qualities, and power outputs. Youll want to speak in-depth with a professional solar system installation consultant to determine the best and most efficient solar panels for your home. However, for todays article, well use SunPowers A-Series Solar Panels as our example.
Panels range in wattage capacities with conventional solar panels typically starting at around 250 watts per panel. SunPowers A-Series panels produce up to 400 watts per day per panel in peak conditions. Therefore, if we divide the energy needed to power the average home, 6,000 watts, by the 400 watts produced by each panel, we would determine that the average home requires at least 15 A-Series panels to run entirely off of solar energy in peak conditions.
Few Things About Solar Panel Output Efficiency
Solar panel type and quality make a significant difference in terms of solar output and efficiency. Not all solar panels are the same.
For instance, monocrystalline photovoltaic solar panels are known to be the most efficient solar panels on the market, but also the most expensive.
Their two main advantages over the other types of solar panels such as polycrystalline or thin film panels is that 1) they absorb more sunlight than conventional cells and their output efficiency is not affected that much by temperature and 2) they occupy less space. These are an ideal option if you do not have enough roof space for standard panels.
On the other hand, polycrystalline panels are cheaper, they are less efficient and therefore occupy more space, but offer a better return on investment than monocrystalline panels.
Because of these wide differences in quality and efficiency, its up to you to decide which solar panels are right for your home.
The main takeaway is that, the more efficient the panels are, the more power they can produce, and the fewer photovoltaic panels you will need on your roof to get the same energy output as you would get with polycrystalline or thin film solar panels.
Overall, if money is not an issue, monocrystalline panels are the best option.
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Solar Heating For Your House
There are two types of solar energy heating: passive solar and active solar.
Passive solar relies on the design of the house to heat your home without the use of mechnical devices, while active solar uses various technologies such as photovoltaics and solar thermal heaters.
For most homes, active solar heating using photovoltaics and a heat pump is the best approach. While there are other types of solar heaters available, many of them are fairly exotic and rarely used. Finding an experienced installer may be difficult.
Heat pumps, however, are becoming commonplace and can often be installed by any contractor that already installs central air conditioners. Plus, many utilities are offering rebates on high efficiency heat pumps.
How Can Solar Energy Power Your Whole House
So, can a home solar system really power your entire house? As weve stated, yes! But, it does depend on a few variables that youll want to take into consideration when deciding to go solar. Mostly, these variables are used to determine the power output levels and the number of solar panels that your home requires to meet your energy goals. In this case, well explore the goal of running your whole house entirely on solar power.
Every home is different, and every home will require a unique amount of solar panels in order to effectively convert the suns energy into the energy you can use to power your home. At SunPower by BlueSel, we understand how to install your panels at the perfect angle, in the perfect spot, to maximize sun intake. Installing your solar panels in the perfect spot can make a big difference in regard to energy.
HowStuffWorks.com explains perfectly how solar panels can power an entire house:
As solar panels protrude from the precipice at various angles, they capture whatever sunlight is available, and convert it to DC power. An inverter converts the DC power to AC power . And for people who want to completely power an entire home with the suns rays, there are systems available to convert and store extra power in the form of battery energy.
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In Many Climates Heating Is The Largest Energy Consumer In A Home Here Are Some Options For Using Solar Powered Heaters To Stay Warm In The Winter
If you live in a northern or midwestern state in the US, space heating is probably the largest energy consumer in your home.
In most climates in the US, central heating is accomplished with the use of fossil fuels. Natural gas is most common, but oil heating is still used in many regions. Even coal hasnât completely disappeared for home heating use.
But why heat your home with fossil fuels when the sun is available? At a minimum, the sun can provide supplemental heating to your home. If your heating needs are modest, or if you have a superinsulated home in a cold climate, solar energy can provide 100% of your heating needs.
Even if you have a rather ordinary house, its possible to retrofit a solar-powered heating system into nearly any existing setup.
The Further South You Live The More You Can Make
While you don’t need a summer home in Hawaii to get some juice from solar panels, the further south you are can make a difference when it comes to their effectiveness. Remember, this is about daylight, not hours of sunshine. Northern homes get slightly less, so where you live needs to be factored in.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that panels in Manchester could save you between £95 and £230 each year on your electricity bills, compared with around £100-£240 in London and £90-£220 a year in Stirling. See Does buying solar panels add up? below for full analysis.
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If Youre A Homebuyer Planning To Buy A Home That Already Has Solar Panels Installed Heres A Quick Guide To Things You Need To Know
If youâre thinking of buying a house that already has solar panels installed, there are some questions youâll need to run through with the buyer before you sign the contract.
But first, if youâve never thought about home solar until you came across them in your real estate search, you probably have some questions. Home solar has become wildly popular, with now more than 2 millions solar installations across the United States. Our buyers guide will give you an in-depth introduction to home solar, such as explaining net metering and whether you need to clean your solar panels.
Home solar can be great for your pocketbook and it helps the environment, but if you want to buy a house that already has solar panels installed, there are some questions you should ask the seller before you sign the contract.
Learn From Our Experts
Installing a solar system on the roof of your home is a big decision. Not only is it important to understand how solar works, but it’s likely you have questions about cost, maintenance, repairs or even selecting a contractor to work with.
Our experts on rooftop solar want to help you make an informed choice.
Get real answers about solar. Watch this informative video and start exploring your options today.
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Look Into Rebates And Tax Incentives
While solar panels can seem expensive, especially as you are facing the sizable up-front costs, you’ll want to keep in mind the fact that some places have incentives to encourage you to go green.
The federal government offers tax credits to home owners who install solar panels. Some states similarly offer tax breaks and rebates when you embrace solar power. Make sure to capitalize on these opportunities to shrink the cost of switching to solar.
Maintenance Can Be Challenging
From time to time, solar panels may need to be cleaned off, following a wind storm where leaves and other debris have settled or just due to mildew or other buildup depending on the climate.
Getting onto your roof and crawling around to perform routine maintenance is both risky to your health and a general
American Home Shield provides warranty coverage for your essential home appliances and systems. Compare all plans.
My name is Paul and I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to making sure my home is energy efficient.
The goal of this website is to share with you all of the helpful tips and solutions that I have found so that you can ensure an energy efficient home for you and your family.
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Homeowners Guide To Going Solar
Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of solar panels have popped up across the country as an increasing number of Americans choose to power their daily lives with the suns energy. Thanks in part to the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s investments, the cost of going solar goes down every year. You may be considering the option of adding a solar energy system to your homes roof or finding another way to harness the suns energy. While theres no one-size-fits-all solar solution, here are some resources that can help you figure out whats best for you. Consider these questions before you go solar.
See the Spanish version here. Vea la versión en español aquí.
How does solar work?
There are two primary technologies that can harness the suns power and turn it into electricity. The first is the one youre likely most familiar with photovoltaics, or PV. These are the panels youve seen on rooftops or in fields. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, photons from the sunlight are absorbed by the cells in the panel, which creates an electric field across the layers and causes electricity to flow. Learn more about how PV works.
Is my home suitable for solar panels?
How do I start the process of going solar?
Can I install solar myself?
How much power can I generate with solar?
Will I save money by going solar?
Can I get financing for solar?
How can I find state incentives and tax breaks that will help me go solar?
Is solar safe?
What does mean?
How Much Solar Power Do I Need To Run My House
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Unfortunately, the answer isnt so easy to find. All kinds of variables come up in this seemingly simple calculation: the intensity of the lick, variations in the size of the Tootsie Pop itself, the weather, and more.
Predicting how much solar power it will take to power your house is a lot like expecting how many licks it will take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Different variables can affect how much energy solar panels can generate, so theres no simple answer.
Thats why weve created this article to answer the question: How much solar power do I need for my house? First, we will give you an overview of many variables that can affect solar power generation. From there, well discuss the average amount of solar panels needed to power your home and how to get the most out of your solar panels.
Lets get started.
On any given day, there are a lot of different factors that can affect solar power production. They include:
- Sunlight hours
- The tilt of your panels
- Where your panels are located
- The efficiency of your solar panels
Other factors include the age of your panels and elements that create very tiny variations over time, like how clean your panels are.
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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.
Can A House Run On Solar Power Alone
Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining – which means when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.
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What Kind Of Roof Do You Have
Solar panels work best with strong, durable roofing materials, such as composite or asphalt shingle, concrete tile or standing seam metal. For roofing materials such as wood shake and slate tile, or for roofs made of clay with mortar or composite metal/stone coated steel, you can still go solar but you’d want to choose a solar professional who has experience installing solar panels on those types of roofs. Also, the type of mounting hardware your solar installer plans to use is important. SunPower Equinox uses InvisiMount hardware that is designed to work with most roof types and is visually attractive.
Youll Probably Want Bigger Solar Panels In 2021
The cost of solar PV has dropped dramatically. Because of this, it often makes sense to install much more than 12 square metres of solar panels in 2021. In fact, many Irish families are opting for 25 or even 30 square metres. The majority of my customers go for more than 12 square metres, so theyre not covered by the solar panel planning permission exemption. Here are a couple of reasons why most people want larger solar PV systems:
- Its now cost-effect to store surplus power for later. This means that extra panels can be put to good use
- Large systems are especially good value for money
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Your Roof Will Last For Decades
Solar panels can last up to 40 years, so you want your roof to be ready for them. If you end up needing a new roof after the panels are installed, youll have to have a solar specialist take the whole system off, then reinstall it after the roof is rebuilt.
If you have a new roof, youre ready to install solar panels. If you need a new roof, you may want to install solar panels during the process. If the installation is done at the same time, there wont be any problems drilling through roof membranes or trying to attach new framework.
If your roof isnt new, how long will it last? Different types of roofs are built to last for different amounts of time. Asphalt and tar roofs last about 20 years, wood shake roofs may last 30 years, and tile roofs can last 50 years. If your roof is near the end of its lifetime, you should replace it before getting solar panels.
A reputable solar installation company should be able to inspect your roof and check for damage before installing solar panels.
Watch Out For Critters
Do you have squirrels in your neighborhood? They might decide that the space underneath your panels is a cozy place to build a nest. While theyre under there, they might chew on wires and cause an expensive repair. You can avoid this by installing critter guards if your array doesnt have this already. You can pay a handyman or roofer to do this. Just make sure they dont step on the solar panels!
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