What Equipment Will I Need And What Does It Cost
How many panels you need depends on how big your premises are and how much electricity you would like to generate. PV systems are much more affordable than they used to be. A typical small set-up is a 4kW system, with 16 panels and a grid connector. This costs an average of £5,890 excluding VAT, according to the Energy Saving Trust. A decade ago, this would have been nearer £14,000. Larger, 10kW commercial systems are popular with businesses because they generate more power. However, with 40 panels, they do take up a lot more space.
Solar panels should last for at least 25 years, and have low maintenance costs as there are no moving parts. Cleaning is required to keep them operating efficiently, so factor this into your estimates. You may also have to replace the inverter every 10 years or so.
You will also need a smart meter so that you can measure the energy that you export to the grid. Many energy companies will now offer these to business customers at low or no cost.
Investing in a battery storage system will store up your generated electricity so you can use it later, such as when its dark. A battery system could benefit you if your business uses a lot of electricity outside daylight hours or if you run electric vehicles that need charging. Batteries used to be prohibitively expensive but prices have fallen dramatically in recent years. Learn more about how solar panels work.
Bill Frequency For Solar Households
It may be news to some that many households will receive a choice in how they pay their power bill. In Australia, almost three quarters of solar households pay their bills quarterly. 19% said that they are receiving monthly bills. In Victoria, where households are required to have a smart meter, the proportion of the population to receive monthly bills jumps to 38%.
It Starts With Your Mindset
Investing in solar is for future planners.
If youve got a sunny roof, your solar panels offset your electricity use pretty evenly, and your utility company offers a good net metering system, youre probably in good shape to save short term on your utility bills. Perhaps significantly. Many of our clients do. But still, the biggest financial gains are long-termtypically, 8-12 years down the roadwhen youve paid off your solar investment but your electricity is still mostly covered each month.
So before even looking at how sunny your roof is, ask yourself:
Are you thinking short-term right now? Like a robin digging for worms for breakfast?
Or are you in a long-term frame of mind, like when the same robin flies up high to find the perfect branch to build a nest?
Once your solar panels are up and running, what youll pay each month depends on several factors.
Homeowners tend to land in one of three categories.
Read Also: How To Make Your Own Solar Cells
What To Look For In A Solar Energy Company Or Contractor
Solar contractors are individuals and companies experienced in solar panel installation. if youre considering making the switch, you should get in touch with a specialist like this to ensure the job is completed appropriately.
Solar Company Considerations & FAQs
- The time required to complete the project?
- Size of panel kilowatt ?
Solar energy installation is a specific field with its own intricacies, which is why you should go with an expert wherever possible. At 5Estimates we work to connect homeowners with our pool of qualified contractors.
If youre in need of a solar contractor the best thing to do is use our solar contractor finder. You need to fill in our online form and well be able to match you with the right contractor.
This would normally be a challenging part of the process, as there are numerous things to look out for in a reliable solar contractor. But the team here at 5Estimates will have done this for you if you use our finder.
We only work with the finest contractors in their respective fields. That means if you need a solar contractor, youll find the very best using our finder.
Are Solar Panels With Battery Storage Worth It
One of the downsides to solar panels is that you usually have to use energy immediately. In most cases, if you’re not actively using it, the power your PV system generates is lost. You can remedy that situation with solar batteries.
Solar battery storage works just like any other battery: you store any electricity you don’t use so that you can go back and use it later.
You don’t need to know the ins and outs of solar batteries to use them, but their complexity does affect you. A solar battery system can cost you roughly £4,000, which may almost double the cost of your solar panels. If you’re comfortable spending that much, though, it will help you save more money.
Solar batteries will enable you to use PV power at night, further lowering your energy bill. Similarly, they make it easier to sell any energy you don’t use back to the grid. Keep in mind, though, that the added initial cost will mean it will take longer to make a return on investment.
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What Are Some Incentives Of Installing Solar
Each state provides homeowners and business owners with different incentives for installing solar panels. There are also federal solar incentives that may be available. For instance, there may be a tax credit available to you. Or in some cases, you may be exempt from property taxes for several years. We will help you understand which incentives may apply to your situation.
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.
Read Also: Can I Add More Batteries To My Solar System
Compare This To The Cost Of Solar
Solar power only costs around 5 to 6 cents a kWh to produce, making it a no-brainer to run as much of your home as possible off solar power. So yes, solar power is worth it!
Solar power is fed into the home to be used as it is generated, so by using solar power, you are not buying power from the grid. If you dont use the power as it is generated it is fed off to the grid and you will get paid a small amount for this from your energy retailer. Typically you will get around $10-$30 a quarter as a credit on your bill, and the smaller the credit the better as this means you are using most of your solar power as it is generated. For more information on this please read how solar power reduces your power bill.
To work out how much power you use during the day, simply read your meter in the morning and then again at night. Subtract one number from the other and it will tell you exactly how much power you have used during the hours in which your solar system will be generating electricity. Detailed information on accurately sizing up a solar system.
With solar storage now available, it is also possible to further reduce your power bill and run your house almost entirely off solar power. Solar batteries store power that would otherwise be sent to the grid to be used in the evening. Click here for more information about solar battery storage.
How Much Do Solar Panels Save You
The average savings you will make on your utility bills per year are roughly $1,390 based on an average kWh cost of $0.13. This is based on an average U.S. household using 10,694 kilowatt hours per year. The average cost of installing a solar system in the U.S.A. is in the region of $17,000 to $24,000. The average payback period is between 1015 years.
An average American family can save between $10,000 to $30,000 over the lifetime of their system. The average US family also pays roughly $1,400 per year for their electric utility bills. Through going solar, they will be able to save roughly 90% of these costs and possibly even more. For those asking do solar panels save money, these figures are the key take-home numbers to focus on.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Solar Panels
As long as your solar panels are fitted correctly, you wont notice any difference in your electricity supply. Your system should switch seamlessly between electricity from your panels to your supply from the National Grid.
You can even use your solar panels alongside a normal energy tariff, without having to notify your energy company youll simply use less electricity from the grid and pay lower bills. But dont forget to shop around to make sure your tariff is the best out there.
Other carbon-saving tips include using more electricity during the day . Or, if youre usually out during the day, you could use inbuilt timers on appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.
And, as weve mentioned above, you could install a solar battery or energy storage system to store electricity generated during the day. Theres also the option of combining solar panels with other renewable technologies such as heat pumps and thermal panels.
Read our practical guide on air source heat pumps and how they work
When it comes to maintenance, your solar panels will need to be cleaned regularly you can buy solar panel cleaning kits or install automated cleaners that are a bit like sprinkler systems. Theres also the option to hire a cleaning company to do the hard work for you! Either way, its all about keeping your solar tech working as efficiently as possible.
Thinking about expanding your home? Take a look at our complete guide to loft conversions.
Do You Really Save Money With Solar Power
The payback of a solar system has become so good, many people are surprised to find out it is now possible to get a good quality system to pay for itself in as little as 3 or 4 years.
It wasnt all that long ago that solar systems took 7 years or more before breaking even, so many people are now oversizing their array for a slightly longer return, with the benefit of being able to use more power over a hot summer by running the air conditioner more often, or with the expectation that they will add battery storage in the near future.
As a general rule, a solar power system will save you up to around $400 per year, per kW. For example, an 8kW system will save you up to around $3400 a year, giving you more power in summer compared to winter, as per the following monthly output graph:
This also helps you choose what brands to go for. If you know an 8kW system is going to save you up to around $3,400 a year on your bills, you can then decide whether you want mid-range panels for a 3-year return on your money or a top of the range system with a 5-year return.
If the top of the range system comes with a 25-year product warranty and on average lasts 7 years longer than cheaper Chinese made brands, then often people will justify a larger outlay for the increased reliability and longevity. This will depend on how long you intend to stay in your house and how much you want to spend on a solar system.
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Can I Sell Back My Solar Energy
Even though you might have heard of schemes like solar buy-back or feed-in tariffs and are possibly thinking about all of the extra money that you might be able to make from them by harnessing and selling excess solar energy back to utility companies just through having a solar system installed, sadly, it usually does not quite work like that.
Consider the following facts.
- Your excess solar energy will likely go back into the grid to feed into other homes in your area.
- Even though your excess energy will get used elsewhere, ultimately, it will still come back to you.
- Your excess energy is usually stored as something called solar credits, which allow all of the excess energy produced by your system to be credited to your account.
- As solar systems may not be able to generate as much energy as normal all of the time, these credits can ensure that your energy remains constantly free.
If you were expecting lots of excess income from selling your energy back to the utility company, then disappointingly, this is not likely to be the case. It is very rare now to find companies that are actually willing to reward you with financial incentives for your excess solar energy.
However, solar credits are a vital part of ensuring that your energy remains free. From time to time, solar systems are not going to be able to work quite in the way that you expect them to.
This can be due to a wide variety of reasons.
Can Solar Panels Boost The Value Of My Property
One question many homeowners ask in regards to solar panels is how they impact property value. This can be seen as another way in which solar panels are a worthwhile investment.
Its been found across the U.S. that adding solar panels to a property will usually increase the value of your home by approximately 4%. For many homes, this can cover a large portion of the installation costs by itself.
This value can also increase in certain areas where eco-friendly homes are more popular with buyers. When combining this fact with the money saved on energy costs, solar panels are proven to be an economically viable and environmentally friendly solution for American homeowners.
Estimate Your Own Co2 Emissions Savings
If you are curious what kind of impact your solar energy is having on the environment, you can use your own annual kWh solar generation and the lbs of CO2 to see what amount of carbon offsetting your system is responsible for. The above mentioned 8,460 lbs of CO2 comes in at reducing the carbon emissions of 489,315 smartphones charged in a year, or 157 propane cylinders used for home barbeques. Try it yourself here:
How Much Will Solar Panels Save In A Nutshell
So, how much do solar panels save you in a nutshell? Lets simplify it before we start to dive into greater detail about solar panel savings.
- An average family can save between $10,000 and $30,000 over the lifetime of their system. Although in some exceptional circumstances, some American families can save up to $60,000 or more depending on their location and circumstances.
- As the average American household pays about $1,400 a year for 1,000 kilowatt-hours, then solar panels save the average family up to and in excess of 90% of that amount by relying purely on solar technology.
- Based on annual increases of roughly 2.6 percent for grid-sourced electricity, the amount of solar panel savings also increases each year for solar users in turn. This means that an average household saves a lot of money by switching to solar technology. Higher electricity costs in your area simply lead to more money being saved as a result.
- With additional tax credits and rebates, you can make further savings on your tax bill that help to dramatically enhance the amount of money you can make over time from relying on solar technology.
- It takes the average American household roughly 10 years to cover the upfront costs of a solar system and start making profit. How fast profit can be achieved all depends on your location and the amount of available peak daylight hours in your area.
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How Much Money Do Solar Panels Save You On Electric Bills
The first step to understanding how much solar can save you is to calculate how much you are currently spending on electricity every year. For example, the average annual electricity use required for a U.S. household is 10,649 kilowatt-hours . Multiply that by the national average electricity rate as of October 2020 and youll find that the typical American family is spending just under $1,450 a year on electricity alone.
Then, you have to consider the volatile nature of electricity prices and determine what utility rates will be in years to come. When you compare the cost of utility electricity with home solar, you should keep in mind that you can expect electricity rates to increase annually. Over the past decade, national electricity costs have increased at a rate of around 2.2% per year. Utility rate inflation is an added incentive for solar: when you generate your own energy with a rooftop PV system, youre locking in energy costs at a constant rate so that you no longer have to consider variable utility rates.
To provide a snapshot for typical bill savings from a solar installation, the following table offers state-by-state data for 20-year savings estimates with solar. The data incorporates a number of assumptions:
- System size: 6 kilowatts
- Electricity demand: 10,649 kilowatt-hours per year
- Utility rate inflation: 2.2%