The Verdict: Are Solar Screens Worth It
We would say that the decision on whether or not solar screens are worth it is very much down to personal preference.
Some homeowners will be put off by the aesthetics of solar screens, as they undoubtedly change the way that your house appears from the outside. But in terms of their energy-saving potential, solar screens are undoubtedly effective. And by reducing the number of UV rays that enter your home, the screens also protect your furnishings from sun damage.
Ultimately, if youre looking to reduce your home energy bills over time and have the funds available to invest in the installation of solar screens, then theyre undoubtedly a worthwhile investment.
If not, you could always look at one of the alternatives introduced above if youre not sold on the features of external solar screens.
How To Find Out How Much Solar Panels Cost And If Theyre Worth It Where You Live
Another benefit to using our solar calculator is our accurate and live solar installation costs that we get directly from our partner installers.
So not only will you know how much solar can save you, youll get an idea of what size solar system youll need and how much itll cost.
To gauge whether or not solar panels are a worthwhile investment in your area, be sure to look at the lifetime savings estimates in our calculator reports.
As of April 2021, an average 6 kW solar panel installation costs $2.85 per watt. That means the total average cost of the system would come out to about $17,100. The 26% federal tax credit knocks an extra $4,400 or so off the cost, which brings the total down to just about $12,600.
Plant Shade Trees Around The House
Planting leafy trees around the outside of your home will help block the sun and keep your house cooler.
Most heat that accumulates inside a house comes directly from the sun shining onto the roof or through windows and heating the house directly, says John Krigger, founder and president of Saturn Resource Management in Helena, Montana. Krigger, an energy conservation specialist, writes books, lectures and trains others in energy conservation for buildings.
Krigger says to plant tall trees on the south side of the property and broad trees to the west and east. If you have a large window facing east or west, youre going to get a lot of sun in the morning and afternoon and solar rays are coming from low in the sky, he says, while solar rays are high in the sky on the south side.
Its worthwhile to spend the extra money to buy a tall tree, if you put the tree in the right place, Krigger says.
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Q: How Much Will Solar Screens Save Me On My Electric Bill
A: There is no way for anyone to give you a specific and accurate figure there are too many variables. How many windows are in your home? How was your home constructed? Does the house face west? However, solar screens will dramatically reduce summer cooling and winter heating expenseswithout question. For example: a two-story house facing east to west will see a return on investment in two years a one-story house in about three.
Alternative To Costly Window Tinting Options
The costs associated with solar window screens are rather understandable once you compare them to the costs associated with window tinting solutions. Although window tinting measures effectively filter out heat, they negatively impact comfortability during colder months by doing just that. When outdoor temperatures are cold, its better to let as much heat in as possible. Otherwise, were left to rely on our heating system to keep us cozy, thus driving up electricity costs in a whole different way.
Instead of deciding to install window tinting solutions, which permanently affect the way your windows function, choose to go with solar window screens instead. Many solar screen providers offer retractable models, which can either be manually-operated or adjusted remotely. If you live in an area which experiences large fluctuations in temperature over the course of the year, a retractable solar screen could be just the solution you need to minimize dependence on air conditioning and central heating.
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What Is A Solar Screen
The Texas summers can be brutal, and homeowners are always looking for ways to cool their home, preferably with less or no electricity. Solar panels have popped up on rooftops all across the country, with Texas being fifth in having the most solar panels installed. Texas is in the top ten states with solar screen installation.
They make solar screens to go over the outside of the windows to block the bright and hot glare of the sun. They are made from a tightly weaved mesh in a dark color screen. Solar screen installation can be fastened to the exterior side of the window or installed on the interior. Manufacturers claim they can block up to ninety percent of the heat so that it doesnt enter the home.
How Much Do Solar Panels Save In 2021
Residential solar panels not only help you reduce your carbon footprint, they help you save money on your utility bills, as well. Rebates and incentives like the federal solar tax credit can help you save even more and make installing solar panels even easier.
How much you actually save depends on many factors, including your power usage, local electricity rates, and the size of your solar system. So when you see statistics on how much solar energy saves on average, those numbers arent taking all of these personal details into account.
Luckily, weve created our solar savings calculator that analyzes all of this information. When you use our solar savings estimator, you get an idea of how much you can save with solar panels on your specific home – an estimate that is tailored to you.
Below, we dive into how much solar panels save on average, and what you can learn by using our calculator.
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Why You Still Get A Bill Even If You Use Zero Grid Electricity
Youâll notice that on my bill, I still have a bill of $18.29, even though my electricity usage for the month is negative 67 kWh. This is because my utility company has a basic service charge of $17 per month, plus taxes. National Grid describes the basic service charge as:
A charge to cover costs for meter reading, billing, equipment and maintenance. This charge is the same regardless of how much energy is used during the billing period.
Most utility companies will have a similar charge, and the cost will vary. But because nearly every company has this charge, donât assume that your electricity bill will be zero, even if youâve sized your solar energy system to generate 100% of usage. Sales people from solar installer companies may gloss over this and tell you that your monthly electricity bill will âgo awayâ, but the minimum charge can add up to be a substantial charge over a year.
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Are Solar Screens Worth The Money
Definitely! Anything you can do to block or reduce the amount of the suns heat and UV rays coming into your home, the less your air conditioner has to work. When the air conditioner doesnt have to work as hard, it uses less electricity.
As we have mentioned already, solar screen installation can reduce anywhere from sixty-five percent to ninety-nine percent of the heat and UV rays that heat your home. It can vary from the quality of the screens used for your solar screen installation.
Still not convinced that solar screen installation isnt right for your home? Keep reading as we give you a few facts to consider:
Start Your Solar Journey Today With Energysage
If youve decided that solar is worth it for you, check out the EnergySage Marketplace to maximize your savings! Youll receive up to seven quotes from our network of pre-vetted solar installers, which will allow you to compare installers and equipment. If youre still not convinced or are unable to install solar on your property, you can also take advantage of solar savings by joining a community solar farm on the EnergySage Community Solar Marketplace.
This article was adapted from a post that originally appeared on Mother Earth News.
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Reasons Why Solar Screens Are The Highest Recommended Upgrade For Home Energy Efficiency
Summer heat is on its way, and energy prices are on the rise. With this combination of factors, most property owners are looking for cost-effective ways to lower their energy bills. To combat the heat of the sun without entirely losing your view, consider a solar screen. They are fabric screens mounted on the exterior of windows and doors, and they prevent 90% of sunlight from touching the glass of your windows, keeping your homes interior cool and comfortable. You could even be extra energy efficient by using this Comparison Of Solar Storage Solutions and efficient solar panels! Here are 5 reasons why solar screens are the most highly recommended upgrade for home energy efficiency.
Q: Will My Solar Screens Pay For Themselves
A: Yes! Solar screens save so much in energy costs that they normally pay for themselves within a short period of time. They also extend the longevity of air-conditioning units and furnaces by reducing their workload. Appliances are more efficient when they only have to endure a 10-20% heat gain. Reduced strain on your machines will save you money on repair costs in addition to reducing energy use.
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Head For The Basement
Its common knowledge that heat rises. So, it makes sense to camp out in the basement if you have one. Just dont open basement windows when its humid.
Warm, moist air will cause condensation on cool surfaces, such as basement walls, ultimately increasing the humidity in your home, Scheckel says.
Looking To Go Solar In Northern California Turn To Sandbar
After more than 16 successful years, Sandbar Solar maintains its position as the most established, locally owned solar company in Santa Cruz. Our solar panel installation projects reduce your energy bills and increase your propertys market value. Solar panels for your home or business also make you an important part of the green solutions that help preserve our planet.
Our Santa Cruz solar services include free estimates, custom design, and expert installation. Our portfolio features thousands of residential and commercial solar panel installations across the region. Were proud of our reputation for designing and installing the most efficient solar panels for the Central Coast including Santa Cruz and Monterey counties as well as San Jose and the Bay Area.
If youre thinking of going solar and you live on the Central Coast or in the South San Francisco Bay area, contact us today to get a quote for your project.
About the Author
Scott is the founder of Sandbar Solar & Electric. With a Bachelors Degree in Economics from UC San Diego, Scott has an NABCEP certification, and has lectured on and taught many high-tech construction practices and solar PV technical concepts to education institutions, including Stanford University and state-recognized electrician apprenticeship programs. Scott enjoys sharing his knowledge of the evolving renewable energy space and making a difference in his community.
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How Will You Pay For Your Solar System
Whether you choose to buy or lease your solar panels will have a major impact on your savings. If you have enough to make a cash purchase, youll save more than with any other option but even with a zero-down solar loan, your savings could still be in the tens of thousands. While solar leases and power purchase agreements require no money down and promise a maintenance-free option, they come with a trade-off: your total savings will typically be just 10 to 30 percent of your utility electricity bill.
How does this play out in the real world? Check out the EnergySage Solar Calculator to see how your long-term savings will differ depending on whether you choose a cash purchase, a solar loan, or a solar lease or community solar, if thats something youre considering!
Get Smart About Your Thermostat
If theres no one home during the day, you can save as much as 10 percent on your power bills by keeping the thermostat seven to 10 degrees higher for eight hours, the DOE notes.
The DOE recommends keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when youre home and not dropping it down to a super-low temperature after being gone all day. That doesnt cool your home any faster and can result in excessive cooling and a bigger power bill at the end of the month.
Another trick: Set the AC fan speed on high, except on very humid days, the DOE recommends. On humid days, set the fan speed on low. Why? The slower speed will remove more moisture from the air and improve the comfort of your home.
If you havent done so already, it might be time to switch to a programmable or smart thermostat that can be set to adjust the temperature in your home at certain hours of the day. Smart thermostats enable you to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home and many of them can be operated remotely.
The location of the thermostat is also important. To work efficiently, it should be on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights and windows, according to the DOE.
And dont place furniture or curtains where they would block AC vents.
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Roller And Roman Shades
Roller shades are usually inexpensive shades that are raised or lowered from a roller bar fitted at the top of the window. Roman shades are fabric window shades that are drawn up into a series of evenly stacked folds when raised or lowered.
These shades typically fit inside of the window casing, or just outside, and they come in a variety of fabrics, colors, and weaves. Heavier fabrics will typically offer slightly better thermal performance, but roller and roman shades offer only a small amount of insulation and are most effective for privacy, room darkening, and blocking sunlight.
Solar Screens Protect Your Furnishings From The Suns Rays
One thing that homeowners often fail to recognize is that the UV rays from the sun that enter your home can damage your interior furnishings.
As the sun projects its rays directly onto your tables, sofa sets, and various other items in your home, its rays can cause discoloration and can damage your favorite pieces.
Solar screens are known to block anywhere between 65-90% of these rays from entering your home through the windows, which offers an additional layer of protection to your furnishings.
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Solar Shading Fast Facts:
- Installing proper solar shading is critical for comfort and energy efficiency in the hot Texas sun.
- Adding solar screens or shades to older windows is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce summer heat gain from the sun.
- Solar shades deflect the suns warmth and glare before it makes its way into your home.
Solar Screens Alter The Appearance Of Your Windows
While it might seem like an obvious thing to say, attaching fabric solar screens to the exterior of your windows alters the appearance and aesthetics of your home. For some homeowners, its not an overly attractive look as it causes the home to look a little less inviting than it typically would.
Whats more, the fact that theyre permanent means you cant easily take them down or replace them without undertaking a significant project.
If you dont like the idea of installing solar screens on your homes windows, then you may like to consider some of the alternatives as we introduce below.
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Evaluate Your Sunlight Exposure
More sun means more energy produced and a greater potential to save with solar. Certain states, like Arizona and California, average more sunlight hours per day.
Your home’s orientation toward the sun, the amount of shade and its roof type also affect a solar system’s output. You can estimate the efficiency of panels in your area by using the SolarReviews calculator. Enter your address and the average cost of your monthly energy bill.
Solar Tax Credit For : What You Need To Know
When the solar tax credit was passed in 2005, it was initially set to expire within two years by the end of 2007. The program had enjoyed a considerable measure of success, though, so lawmakers granted a series of extensions that promised to keep the program alive until the end of 2016.
As it turns out, they were right: The U.S. solar industry has grown by more than 8,600% since the ITC emerged in 2006.
When lawmakers passed the 2016 federal spending bill, they took the existing solar tax credit and extended it for five years to 2021. This effort made solar power more affordable for Americans who wanted to install residential or commercial systems.
Solar Tax Credit Extension
The ITC has since been revisited several times, most recently in December of 2020, when Congress extended the ITC at the rate of26% through the end of 2022. It was originally set to decrease to 22% in 2021.
Under the most recent extension, rates will decrease to 22% in 2023. In 2024, benefits will end for residential properties, and drop to 10% for commercial properties.
If youre interested in reading the solar tax credit extension bill in its entirety, you can find it here. You can also view updated information regarding the current status of the ITC in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
Its also important to note that the ITC reflects the date when your system goes into service, not when you purchase it.
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