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.
Offsetting Solar Panel Costs
Another big driver of solar’s growth are the federal and state-specific solar programs deployed to provide financial assistance for solar installations. These programs include local and federal tax credits and other rebates. Top solar companies should be able to help you identify and apply to any programs you are eligible for. These incentives have proven effective in areas like the Northeast, which may not be known for their sunshine but have made the benefits of solar available to a wide demographic.
The current federal solar investment tax credit provides a 26% credit for systems installed through the end of 2022. State incentives can be added on top of this for even more savings. Rather than cutting down the initial cost of solar, most statewide incentives focus more on rewarding you for the solar energy that your home produces to accelerate your ROI. You can learn more about your state’s incentives by searching the DSIRE database.
The Cost Of Solar Panels Vs The Cost Of Doing Nothing
Sticker shock can be common when looking at solar proposals. But it’s important to understand that by purchasing a solar system, you’re essentially paying for 25 years of electricity upfront. So make sure to think about what you’d spend on future utility bills to see whether solar panels are worth it for your home.
For example, taking an average monthly electricity bill of $125 , I could theoretically expect to spend $46,837 on conventional energy over the next 25 years if utility rates continue to increase around 1.8% each year, the current average according to the EIA.
To put this in perspective, based on the average cost of solar per watt in Louisiana, a solar system that offsets my energy usage would cost around $15,214 after the tax credit .
Granted, not all solar systems will offset 100% of your energy use each month, but a modest solar array can be expected to offset at least 50-75% when properly designed and installed. How does that compare to spending $50,000 on dirty and unreliable energy over the next few decades?
You May Like: How To Connect Two Solar Panels To One Battery
You Can Make Money With Solar Panels
When you have your solar panel installed in your house, you harvest a lot of energy your solar panels until its excess for your consumption yet other people require some power, but they have no power source for themselves.
For this reason, you can to share your solar panels with such people and agree on how much to charge them for using the energy from your solar panels.
Once you begin sharing the power from your solar panels with people, you charge them according to the amount of energy they use in a given time according to your agreement.
In case you agree that they will be paying you every month, you will be expecting to have an income from the excess solar energy for your panels.
The revenue you get from the extra solar energy you sell will be used to cater to other budgets and expenses that you pay using the little money that you earn from as your salary.
Looking For Solar Panels
Your minimum aim is to cover as much of your household consumption as reasonably possible for a typical day. If your power consumption is 30kWh on some days, but on most days it’s 20kWh, it might not be worth adding extra panels just to cover those few 30kWh days. You could go with a 5kW solar PV system and just accept paying for more power than usual from the grid on those occasional high-consumption days.
But solar panels are relatively cheap now, and there’s an economy of scale in installing a larger system, so it’s worth talking this through with your installer to consider how big a system you could get. Typical solar PV systems installed in 2021 are at least 6.6kW in size and we think that’s a good size for most homes to aim for right now.
That said, bigger systems of 810kW are becoming more common, especially for systems that include a storage battery.
You might think it’s better to oversize your system because any excess will be exported to the grid, and you’ll be paid for it via the feed-in tariff. But the feed-in tariff for new solar PV systems is generally very low typically from four to eight cents per kWh, though you can get better deals from some energy retailers and it’s unlikely on its own to justify the cost of a larger system.
Read more: Are solar feed-in tariffs worth it?
Power usage shifting
You May Like: How Do Solar Panel Kits Work
What About Net Metering
Net metering is one of the most important solar policies and incentives in the residential solar industry. Essentially, it allows you to store any excess energy produced by your solar system in the electrical grid for use at a later time. With net metering, you wont receive a monthly payment: instead, you will receive utility bill credits for the electricity produced by your solar panels. Its important to note that not all states offer net metering, so youll want to check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency , which tracks net metering and other policies.
How Energysage Developed Its Best Solar Panels Ranking
When searching for the best solar panels for your home, you should take into consideration a panels performance, quality, durability, and warranties. There are three major technical specifications that can help you as you make your decision: panel efficiency, temperature coefficient, and the materials warranty. To develop our ranking of the best solar panels for your home, EnergySage evaluated these metrics for all of the solar panels offered by the top manufacturers in the EnergySage Marketplace.
Don’t Miss: What Is Solar Pv System
Solar Panels Are Durable
Any solar panel that you will purchase or you have purchased has been built in a way that it must last for a very long period.
Solar panels are irresistible to strong winds and also drop of rains when they are on the rooftops.
Most solar panels have several layers of silicon that are laminated in tempered and durable glass which makes the solar panels very tough and long lasting.
Although when purchasing a solar panel you are given a warranty of about 25 or 30 years, this does not mean that after that time the solar panel can have any issues.
The solar panel can last for a very long period without having any damage to it.
They might become old with time, but they do not wear out or even begin working poorly.
They still work as if they are still new.
However, your solar panel can have some problems, but once its repaired, it goes back to average performance.
What Are The Main Advantages Of Solar Panels
Schalk said this question is important to make the distinction between rooftop and utility scale solar.
For utility scale, the main advantage is that its generally the cheapest source of electricity on the market today, Cohen said. Thats a result of the rapid decrease in the cost of solar panels as the technology has improved, and the fact that the sun is free once the panels are installed. It also has the benefit of producing reliable electricity without any carbon emissions.
Scrub Hub: How much of the U.S. carbon emissions come from Indiana?
Rooftop solar has the same advantage: It produces clean electricity, reducing carbon emissions that help combat climate change. One of its main benefits, however, is that rooftop solar allows the solar owner to take control of where their electricity comes from, Schalk said. That means they can directly reduce their electricity bill and make the grid more efficient by producing electricity close to where its actually used.
Nick Cohen adds one other aspect: Its simple and easy to maintain.
Recommended Reading: How To Get A Job In Solar Energy
Check Out Smaller Installers
These inflated solar prices often come from some of the larger solar installers in the industry so its important to consider all of their solar options, not just the installers large enough to pay for the most advertising. The same 2017 NREL report referenced above found that quotes from large installers were typically 10 percent higher than those from mid- and small-sized installers. If you receive quotes from some of the bigger companies in the industry, just be sure to compare them with quotes from local installers so you dont overpay for solar.
Solar Energy Is Environmentally Friendly
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, using solar energy minimizes the amount of carbon and pollutants generated. That translates to cleaner air, fresher water and more environmental stability for future generations. Better yet, unlike the widespread energy grid that is reliant on non-renewable resources like oil and gas, solar energy is renewablemeaning well never run out of it.
Also Check: Will Solar Panels Work During Power Outage
Qualifies For Tax Breaks And Cash Incentives
Many people choose to get solar and batteries through third party ownership, allowing them all the benefits of the system for just a low monthly rate. However, others choose to buy their systems outright. The average cost of solar panels is about $16,200 $21,420.9 Based on where you live, you can cover a substantial portion of the cost of your solar PV system and may even pay it back in a fairly short amount of time thanks to the federal solar tax credit, local rebates, net metering, and more.
Solar renewable energy credits, or SRECs, can help home solar system owners earn a return on solar. Some states set a Renewable Portfolio Standard , which requires companies that provide electricity to get a portion of its energy from renewable sources like home solar. To meet the RPS, electric companies can buy solar credits from home solar energy systems. Home solar system owners can sell SRECs through an aggregator like SRECTrade, which bundles up their SRECs and sells them to the electric company.
When excess electricity is produced by your solar system, it is sent back to the grid and the electric company must buy that energy from you. Consumers that sell their extra energy to the electric company then use that amount to offset their total electric bill. They can also draw upon these energy credits during times when their electricity usage is greater than their solar production, such as a heavily overcast day or during the night.
Federal Investment Tax Credit
Solar Energy: An Overview
With the growing threat of climate change due to the excessive release of carbon emissions, many nations are looking to clean energy alternatives to replace traditional fossil fuels.
Of all the clean energy alternatives, solar has arguably been the most expensive though prices have been declining. However, after considering the pros and cons along with the expectation that prices will continue to decline, the future of solar energy is looking rather bright.
The pros of solar energy include that it is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels and has a low impact on the environment and the potential for any country to produce it. The cons are that it only produces energy when the sun is shining, needs a significant amount of land, and that certain solar technologies require rare materials.
Read Also: Is Solar Power Environmentally Friendly
Solar Panel Plugs & Cables
Luckily solar panels have mostly been standardized to universal plug and cable types. This makes it much easier to buy a panel from brand A and plug it into a batter from brand B. That said, some companies still make and sell proprietary equipment so keep an eye out for that.
MC4 adapters are the standard plug option for the vast majority of solar charging applications. While there are many different connectors and cables out there, sticking with the MC4 cables and using a portable power station already equipped to be charged from a solar panel will be the easiest least painful method of charging.
Solar Power For The Home: Benefits
A significant benefit to PV installation is a lower energy bill, but the magnitude of this benefit depends on the amount of solar energy that can be produced given the available conditions and the way in which utilities charge for electricity.
The first consideration is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.
Similar maps and data are available in other countries as well, often from government environmental agencies or renewable energy organizations. Equally important is the home’s orientation for rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.
The final benefit is the potential effect on a home’s value due to the addition of a solar array. In general, it is reasonable to assume that solar panels would raise the value of most homes.
You May Like: Does The Government Pay For Solar Panels
Panel Setup & Adjustment
Because the angle of your solar panel into the oncoming sunlight is so critical to generating maximum power, a good support stand is crucial. Simply laying a flat solar panel on the ground wont do nearly as much good as setting it up to match the angle of the sun.
When you go to pick out a portable solar panel, consider how it will set up. Does it have a stand with adjustable legs? Does it hang from a tree?
To get the most out of your solar panel you really need one that can be adjusted easily. Look for adjustable legs or supports that allow you to easily get the correct angle no matter where you set up.
Before making a final decision, think through how you will set up and adjust your solar panel on your RV, on the ground, or on whatever support structure you plan to use to get the right angle.
Future Outlook For Solar Energy
In order for solar power to make further gains, the efficiency of solar cells will have to go up, and the price of solar cells will have to go down. The EIA expects nearly 100% increases in solar capacity in the U.S. between now and 2015. This will likely lead to a drop in prices as increased demand stimulates greater production. Meanwhile, there is a wide variety of research focusing on improving solar cell design and working with new materials to make solar cells cheaper and more efficient.
Don’t Miss: Do Solar Shades Provide Privacy
Finding The Best Solar Power Bank For You
Solar power banks come in all shapes and sizes. They have widely varying capacities.
Some can hold a charge for weeks but are only good for a few charges. Others can charge all your devices multiple times. However, they wonât survive the elements.
Some solar power banks charge fairly quickly in the sun. Others can take days to charge from the sun.
Itâs important to consider which tools you might use. There are some you might be able to do without.
In order to think of what might be most useful to you, youâll need to think about what situations that you might be using the charger in. People intending to do different activities will likely look for very different uses.
Hikers, Backpackers, Campers
If access to a power outlet is going to be nearly nonexistent, and your usage of your device is going to be semi-limited, a power bank with the most solar charging capacity would be best for you.
At the same time, though, itâs also important to choose something that can resist the elements. Power banks with more solar panels tend to be more fragile. So finding the middle ground between durable, weatherproof and charging capability will be key.
The key question here is âHow many charges can I get from it?â Usually short-term travelers wonât need to rely on the solar charging capability.
Worriers and Preparers
People Who Just Canât Seem to Remember to get Anything on the Charger at Night
Solar Panels What You Need To Know
If youre preparing to get quotes for solar power, this guide provides detailed and valuable information on the star component of a system installation the solar panels.
Before we delve into the wonderful world of PV modules and which are the best solar panels to choose we need to make sure we are talking about the right product. So lets get any confusion out of the way for starters. The information on this website is focused on also known as solar PV or solar electricity modules.
Theres another type of solar panel that is used for heating water . This type is called a solar hot water panel or solar thermal collector and is a completely different beast.
Heres a look at the two different types of panels:
If solar hot water is your thing, then you probably want to be at my other website 100% dedicated to solar hot water systems.
So now weve sorted out the difference, lets jump in and discuss what you need to know about solar panels!
Solar panels are the most critical part of any solar power system installation. Choosing the best panel brand or module type to buy for your circumstances is just as important as ensuring the solar panels are installed by a competent accredited installer, at the best angle and pointing in the optimal direction.
They cant all be right! So whats the truth? How do you make a real solar panel comparison and a purchase choice that is best for your circumstances? Lets find out
Also Check: How To Charge Your Electric Car With Solar Panels