Are Solar Panels Worth It In California
If you live in California and wonder whether solar panels are worth installing, you have come to the right place.
Residential solar panel installation is reaching an all-time high. In fact, the renewable energy sector boomed by 45% in 2020, the largest annual rate of increase since 1999.
Solar energy continues to be the favorite renewable energy among homeowners, mainly for its ease and cost of installation.
Herein lies the question are solar panels worth it in California?
The Global Horizontal Irradiation average for California is 5.2kWh/M2, making it one of the prime locations within the United States for residential solar panel installation. We absolutely recommend investing in solar energy if you live in California.
How Does Solar Tracking Work
The suns seasonal arc is like a pendulum. Every day it swings higher and lower, varying in height by tens of degrees across the seasons because its angle changes throughout Earths annual orbit around the Sun. These movements can be separated into two axes: horizontal and vertical.
An automatic sun-tracker keeps the solar panel array perpendicular to the suns rays. This way, an optimal angle of incidence is maintained at all times.
A solar power system that tracks the sun vertically is called a single axis tracker and one which tracks both axes is called a dual-axis tracker.
In general, the more expensive dual-axis tracking will recover more energy than its cheaper counterpart over time but an experienced installer can help you find out whats best for your needs.
How Much Sunlight Hours Does Texas Receive
On average Texas receives around 4.8 kWh/M2. However, if you would like to see your exact peak sunlight hours we recommend checking out the map below:
Why would it be beneficial for you to know your areas peak sunlight hours?
Well, this data is critical in understanding what size solar system will suit your needs.
More importantly, you need to know how much a solar system will cost you, and how long will it take to recoup your initial investment.
Once you know this, you can establish whether solar panels are suitable for your situation.
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Interpreting The Solar Nerd Payback Graph
The graph above is a screenshot from The Solar Nerd calculator. The bottom axis shows time, and the vertical axis shows money.
On the far left side of the chart is the first year of solar panel ownership. In this example, the homeowner paid about $6,500 out of pocket, after all incentives and tax credits are accounted for. Thatâs why the chart is initially in the red, and the graph shows negative savings at the beginning.
As time goes on, the solar energy system starts earning the homeowner money though energy savings. The more electricity the system generates, the more the homeowner saves and the faster theyâll get paid back.
In this chart, the homeowner has saved the same amount of money as they spent on the system by around year 6. By the time this example system gets to 25 years, the homeowner will have saved approximately $19,000!
The chart goes out to the 25 year mark because thatâs the typical limit for solar equipment warranties, but that doesnât mean your system will necessarily stop working then. In fact, some solar panel systems installed decades ago are continuing to work after 30 and even 40 years!
Of course, the calculator can only make estimates, not guarantees. Still, this tool is an excellent way to quickly evaluate the financial impact of adding a solar panel system to your home.
There are a lot of components that go into the break even calculation.
You Gain Some Energy Independence
Solar panels use photovoltaic cells to harness radiation from the sun. Once converted from a direct to an alternating current, the panels allow your home to use the energy. In turn, you gain an energy source independent from the utility company, saving you money relative to using traditional energy sources for all of your power needs.
You can earn more on your investment through the sale of offsets. Some states allow you to sell your excess energy back to utility companies, which must purchase some of their power from renewable energy sources.
Moreover, if your utility experiences a power outage, you can use the energy stored in solar panels to keep your home powered through the storm. Overall, solar panels give you a level of power stability and financial flexibility not found in traditional sources.
Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Panel Payback
What is the payback period for solar panels?
In the U.S., the payback period for solar panels is about eight years on average, but this can vary quite a bit from one homeowner to the next. In fact, your solar payback period may fall anywhere between five and 15 years.
Do solar panels really pay for themselves?
A well-designed and properly installed solar panel system will usually pay for itself, though it will take several years to reach this point. Beyond the break-even point, every month that you operate your solar system can be considered financial gain.
How much money do you get back from solar?
The federal tax credit will allow you to recoup 26% of your investment right off the bat. Additional savings can be obtained through local and state-level incentives, net metering programs, and savings on your month-to-month electric expenses.
How do you calculate the payback period for solar?
The basic formula for calculating a payback period for solar is to divide the cost of the system, including tax rebates and financial incentives, by the annual amount you’ll save on utility bills. This will give you the number of years required for you to “break even” with your solar panels.
Myth #: Solar In Canada Doesnt Work Because There Is Too Much Snow
Its a little surprising that the misconception of solar panels in winteris still mentioned as frequently as it is.
Winter does not hinder the performance of solar panels asmuch as you might think. Yes, if thereis 30cm of snow covering the modules, then they will not produce energy BUT theamount of hours they are covered with snow on an annual basis is minimal.
Most solar irradiance comes in spring/summer/fall monthswhen there is no snow coverage. If mostsun-hours come when there is no snow, then the effects of snow coverage areminimized. To quantify this trend, NAITperfomed an in-depth study of snowcoverage on solar modules in Edmonton, Alberta and Grand Prairie,Alberta. This study determinedthat snow coverage will only reduceannual solar energy output by ~5%.
Please note: snowcoverage losses may be slightly greater than the cited value due to the averageresidential property being more shielded from wind . However, even at 10% lossof energy, solar panels can still generate 100% of your demand quite easily.
Solar energy in Alberta, Saskatchewan, NWT and many other jurisdictions is net-metered which means you can develop a rolling credit in thesummer time, and use up the credit during the winter when the sun is notshining as much.
Key Takeaway:Production on December 21st does not matter as much as how muchenergy you produce from January 1 to December 31. Yes there will be some days when the moduleswont turn on, but our sunny summers make up the difference.
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Texas Is One Of The Best Solar States In Terms Of Pure Sun Exposure
Texas has an average of 234 sunny days per year, about 29 days more than the national average of 205 sunny days. Even if youre in the northern part of the state where its a bit cooler, the climate is still ripe for a residential solar system.
Heres a breakdown of sun hours per day by city:
Houston 5.9 hours per day
Austin 6.7 hours per day
Lubbock 7.5 hours per day
Corpus Christi 6.2 hours per day
Dallas Ft. Worth 6.9 hours per day
Midland 7.7 hours per day
El Paso 8.6 hours per day
The US country average for peak sun hours per day is 3-5, so any region in Texas is an above-average location for solar panels.
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Pros And Cons Of Solar Panels For Your Home
Like most things, solar power has its benefits and drawbacks. At the same time, some economic costs may be defrayed by the social benefits to the environment and lowering your carbon footprint, which exceeds pure monetary evaluation.
Green energy that lowers your carbon footprint
Net metering allows you to sell back excess energy produced
You may be eligible for certain tax breaks
Installation and maintenance costs still high
Solar only works when the sun is out
Parts of the system need to be replaced every few years
Some tax breaks may have expired or will be expiring
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Understanding The Climate In California
Much like the climate in Texas, Californias climate varies greatly, ranging from scorching hot desert to alpine tundra.
Most of the homes located near the coastline, Sierra Nevada foothills, and parts of the Central Valley will experience a Mediterranean climate. This means warmer, drier weather in summer and cooler, wetter weather in winter.
The ocean greatly influences temperature extremes, allowing for warmer winters and much cooler summers along coastal areas.
The cooling effect of the ocean has a very positive impact on solar production. This is because solar panels operating in extremely hot conditions are less efficient.
Generally, the best months for solar production in California range from May -October. During this time of the year, you can expect clear skies and hot temperatures to occur frequently.
The Cost Of Electricity In Texas
According to the Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity in Texas as of August 2021 was 12.03 cents per kilowatt hour . This is slightly lower than the national average which can make it seem like you may not need solar, but lets dig a little deeper.
The average Texas home uses approximately 39.2kWh per day, thats more than 10kWh more than the national average. This could be caused by increased air conditioning and other climate control equipment among other things. This high electricity usage results in monthly electricity bills ranging from $126 to $142 per month.
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Are Solar Panels Really Worth It
A payback period is the amount of time it takes to earn back your initial investment. Solar panels can help you save enough money on energy bills over time to offset the upfront costs. How much you save per month depends on the size of your solar system, your home’s energy consumption and other factors.
Calculating the payback period will be unique to your circumstances due to the variability of the upfront costs, as well as the difference in energy costs based on your location. But here are some guidelines to help you estimate when you will break even.
Are Solar Panels A Ripoff
Not surprisingly, solar panel scams abound. From false claims to low-level systems to real crimes â there are many ways to cheat on a solar panel.
Why are solar panels a ripoff?
Companies have misled customers about the true cost of installing solar panels, providing technical expertise, and leaving homeowners with higher prices, all of which force them to sign fewer agreements that leave little chance of performance. Two companies in particular stand out: Vivint and SolarCity.
Are solar panels a waste of money?
If you live in an area with high levels of electricity and a reasonable solar rating and are able to afford the initial investment, it is advisable to install solar panels in your home where a 26% levy tax is available for the good of the area and yours. wallet. But do not expect to clear your electricity bill at night.
What is the catch with solar panels?
Yes, there are installers installing free solar panels in your home. But the catch is that they want you to enter into a solar sales contract or a power purchase agreement . This provides an attractive way for people to spend less time going to the sun.
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Myth #: Solar Capacity Growth Does Not Tell The Full Story
More and more people are writingabout how the solar industry is misleading the public by citing capacity growth trends.
The basis for this is somewhat of a head-scratcher sincegrowth in PV capacity is a very compelling sign of a healthy industryaccelerating to meet the growing demand of the public. But I will humour thenaysayers and outline ‘the whole story’ of solar here.
Solar PV capacity is increasing at ~95%/yr in Alberta . Globally, PV capacity is increasing at around60%/yr. These numbers do not mean thatsolar is already dominating the market, but that it is slowly catching on. The graph below shows the Alberta solar power capacity growth trend of the last decade.
Solar energy represents a tiny, tiny fraction of global energy and even smaller fraction in Canada. Solar energy inAlberta represents about 0.1% of the energy generation profile, with about 90%coming from fossil fuels. The imagebelow shows the breakdown, with solar not even visible.
In Ontario, which has 99%+ of the solar power in Canada,about 1% of theprovinces energy comes from solar. Currently, solar energy plays a minuscule role in the energy generation inCanada and the world.
But this data does not mean that solar power doesnt work,or isnt viable. It simply means thatmore time is required for the solar market in Canada to develop. Provinces such as Albertawould benefit from more solar since the emissions from energy generationare the highest in the country due to coal being the dominant fuel source.
Average Electricity Usage For Your Home
The first step toward determining solar payback is figuring out how big your solar panel system should be. To do that, you need to look at your average electricity usage, then design a solar system that makes enough energy to offset that usage over the course of the year.
Lets say our example home uses about 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. According to PVWatts, one kilowatt of solar panels in Bakersfield, CA can generate around 1,700 kWh per year. Divide 10,000 by 1,700, and you get a system size of about 6 kW.
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Is It Harder To Sell A House With Solar Panels
According to a recent Zillow report, homes with solar panels sell an average of 4.1% more than comparable homes without solar panels across the United States. On the same subject : Is solar power as good as electricity?. A Berkeley Lab study also found that homes with solar panels sell faster than homes without solar panels.
Are Solar Panels Harming Your Homes Resale Value? Several studies have found that solar installations add up to $ 6,000 to a homes resale value for every kilowatt of solar panels installed, or about 4.1% of the value of the home. However, this can vary greatly depending on your geographic location, even for comparable homes with similar solar panel systems.
Why Am I Getting A True Up Bill
When a homeowner goes out for a day, PG& E expects the price of electricity to decrease so that they can charge electricity once a year. The annual bill, known as the Truth-Up Statement, is the network of annual spending and shortens the electricity bill and monthly bills in the annual bill.
How can I avoid paying true-up bill?
First, lower your Truth-Up bill, make sure your system is built to eliminate all of your power consumption inside the house. Second, think carefully about the use of force.
Why do I have a true-up bill?
The above-mentioned term is the bill that the utility sends you at the end of your payday cycle. If you have additional credits, depending on your merger agreement, your utility resets your remaining credit to zero or rotates your credits to the next solar cycle.
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Why Is My Electric Bill So High With Solar Panels
Solar energy systems are finite resources they can only produce as much energy as is compatible with the size of the system, and most utilities limit the size of the system to the historical average energy consumption of the site.
Why is my electricity bill so high with solar panels? Self-consumption of solar energy has increased mainly because the heat pump is running during the day in line with the standard tariff, but also because of the larger system to compensate for the increased consumption of equipment on cloudy days. A larger system also generates more exports.
Installation Costs Of Roofing Materials Is Not Included
The current tax breaks for energy improvements on your home or business do not include the labor costs for having your roof repaired or replaced. That means that if youve met the two criteria pieces weve mentioned above, you wont be able to deduct the cost of installation or labor.
This is another key factor that not too many people realize when theyre looking at having their roof redone before solar panel installation. However, it is definitely something that will come up come tax time, making it very important to be aware.
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Estimate Residential Solar Panel Cost
The brunt of the expense with solar panels is in installation and the purchase of the actual panels.
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Minimal long-term expenses can make up for the upfront costs. Most systems dont require much maintenance and are designed to last for 20 years or more with little change to the amount of electricity produced, Nilsen says.
When calculating the total price, consider how much energy you regularly consume your usage is listed on your monthly utility bill and what size system will generate the amount needed. Some tools, like the SolarReviews calculator, estimate the system size for you.
With installation, an average residential 5kW size system costs between $3 and $5 per watt, according to the CSE, which results in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. That cost is before any tax credits and incentives.
If you know your current energy usage, you can calculate how much youll need to pay for solar panels.
Then comparison shop for solar panels as you would other big-ticket items, such as a car or TV, says Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of the solar marketplace EnergySage. Some companies lower installation costs through rebates and other programs.
Aggarwal recommends getting quotes from three to five contractors. EnergySage compiles solar companies customer reviews, certifications, Better Business Bureau profiles and other information to help you find reputable providers.