Can You Earn Money From Solar Panels
The governments feed-in tariff scheme closed to new applicants on 31 March 2019. However, households that installed a solar panel system before this date and successfully applied for the scheme can still benefit.
The scheme offers cash payments to households generating their own energy through solar panels and other renewable technology.
Those who dont qualify for the feed-in tariff can apply for the Smart Export Guarantee scheme which was launched at the start of 2020. Through the scheme, you can be paid for any excess renewable energy you export back to the National Grid.
All licensed energy suppliers with 150,000 or more customers must provide at least one Smart Export Guarantee tariff, while smaller suppliers can offer a tariff voluntarily.
You will be eligible for the SEG scheme if you generate electricity through solar PV panels as well as any of the following:
- Wind turbine
- Anaerobic digestion where organic material is broken down in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas which can then be used as a fuel
- Micro combined heat and power where heat and electricity are generated simultaneously from the same energy source.
Your installation will need to be 5MW capacity or less, or 50MW for micro combined heat and power. It must also be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme or equivalent.
In addition, you will need to have a meter fitted that can provide half-hourly readings so that your supplier knows how much electricity you are exporting.
How Do Current Costs Stack Up To Past Prices
In 2008, the average U.S. household paid 9.74¢ per kilowatt hour of electricity. By 2018, the rate had increased to 12.57¢ per kilowatt hour.
While a difference of 2.83¢ may not seem like a lot, it grows up to be an annual increase of 2.9%. So, the average electric bill for Americans is 29% more expensive than 10 years ago. Thats a considerable amount of cash that could have gone elsewhere like a down payment, student loans, or retirement.
Your Household Energy Consumption
Next, the amount of energy that you consume in your household also plays a role in what your electric bill will look like after going solar. The national average for electricity consumption of a household in the United States is 897 kWh.
If you live by yourself and can minimize your consumption further, it is very realistic to consume much less than that. Ultimately, you can figure out your monthly energy use with several calculators online.
Before installing your solar panel system, it is important to understand this number so that you can meet your energy production goals. Some people only want to cover a portion of their energy use with solar, but there are also many individuals who want to cover it all.
There are pros and cons to each option, but if you are trying to reduce your electric bill as much as possible then you should install a large enough system to meet 100% of your needs.
Also Check: How Much Electricity Generated By Solar Panel
Find Out How Much You Can Save With Solar
Every property and every solar panel system is different: the best way to see how much you can save with solar is to compare multiple options. Sign up on the EnergySage Marketplace to compare multiple custom quotes from pre-screened, local installers. These quotes will include estimates of your electricity bill post-solar, along with 20-year savings estimates.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Power My House
When asking yourself how many solar panels you need for your home, there are again a number of variables to take into account. The most significant contributing factor here is how much energy you use. While there’s no single answer, a good rule of thumb is that it takes roughly four solar panels per kilowatts needed.
Most solar panels produce around 250W every four hours of full sunlight. So how does this all play out reality?
A 3kW PV system will be sufficient for roughly three residents, according to average energy consumption. Using this formula, a system of this size would use about 12 panels on average.
A more common size for homes in the UK is 4kW, which can provide for three to four residents. If you use the same formula, a 4kW system would need an average of 16 solar panels.
You can always use a solar PV system to power some of your home instead of all of it. That would certainly lower the number of solar panels you need, but may not be as profitable in the long run.
Don’t Miss: Why Is It Good To Have Solar Panels
Incentives Increase Your Rewards
Today is a good day to go solar. There are many state and local incentives that sweeten the pot for investing in a home solar system. Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for comprehensive information on solar financial incentives.
Incentives reduce your overall solar installation, and accelerate the rate of return on your investment. The federal solar tax credit gives you a dollar-for-dollar reduction against your federal income tax. Currently, the residential federal solar tax credit gives you a dollar-for-dollar reduction against your federal income tax equal to 26% of the final cost of solar energy systems you install on your home. This benefit exists through December 31, 2022. In 2023 the residential tax credit will step down step down to 22%. In 2024, the tax credit for residential solar ends.
These reduced initial costs available now, plus your lower electric bills from a home solar installation, make going solar today a wise decision.
How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Produce
How much energy your solar panels produce depends on where you are in the country, which direction your roof faces and, of course, the weather.
Solar panels, unsurprisingly, are reliant on sunshine to operate.
That means those living in the south of England may enjoy higher energy production than someone with solar panels in Scotland.
Energyhelpline estimates that a three-bedroom house in the South of England could expect to save around £400 a year if it had solar panels.
The same property in North Wales would save around £350, and in East Scotland just £300.
The Energy Saving Trust has a calculator that can help you work out how much you are likely to save.
It takes into account factors such as your postcode, direction of your roof, and how much of the day you are at home for.
We looked at home in the South East of England, with a west-facing garden, owned by someone who was mostly out until 4pm each day.
It estimated a potential energy bill saving of £104 with an additional SEG payment of £76 a year .
Also Check: How To Win Sole Custody
Calculating Solar Power Costs
Once the above costs and benefits are determined, a solar system can theoretically be evaluated using the discounted cash flow method. Outflows at the beginning of the project would consist of installation costs , and inflows would arrive later in the form of offset electricity costs .
Rather than using DCF, the viability of solar power is usually evaluated by calculating the levelized cost of electricity , then comparing it to the cost of electricity charged by the local utility. The LCOE for household solar will typically be calculated as cost/kilowatt-hour – the same format commonly used on electricity bills. To approximate the LCOE, one can use the following equation:
LCOE = Net Present Value of the Lifetime Cost of Ownership / Lifetime Energy Output
The useful life of a PV solar module is generally assumed to be 25-40 years. The cost of ownership includes the maintenance costs, which must be discounted to find the NPV. The LCOE can then be compared to the cost of electricity from a utility remember, the relevant price is that which occurs during times at or near peak PV solar production.
Can Solar Panels Power A House
Solar panels can generate enough electricity to power household appliances, but to power an entire house using solar power alone would require a lot of panels. Most homeowners simply dont have that sort of space, but solar panels can provide substantial energy.
It goes without saying that energy needs will vary significantly from household to household. A number of factors will influence how much energy you need, including whether you work from home and the overall energy efficiency of your property.
You May Like: Should Solar Panels Be Connected In Series Or Parallel
How Long Does It Take To Recoup The Costs
Depending on the size of your solar panel system and any money you earn through exporting excess energy back to the National Grid , you can expect to recoup the costs of solar panel installation after 15 to 25 years, according to Green Match.
Although larger systems are more expensive, they generate more energy and can save you more in the long-term. Therefore a 5kW solar panel could pay for itself after 15 to 20 years, a 4kW system would take 16 to 22 years, and a 3kW system would take 21 to 25 years.
Average Cost Of Solar Panels And Installation
To give a customer an accurate savings estimate, first discover how much it costs for them to install solar. While the cost of each solar system depends on many factors, in the U.S. its usually $13,000 $17,000.
However, most solar owners pay far less.
Due to the current Federal Tax Credit for renewable energy systems most customers will save over $3,000 if they go solar in 2021 or 2022. So the actual customer cost of installing solar is $10,000-$14,000 a national average of $12,000.
For a breakdown of state-by-state average prices and the corresponding tax breaks, Consumer Affairs compiled data from EnergySage and SolarReviews:
Table from Consumer Affairs, based on data from EnergySage and Solar Reviews
*Before tax credits, according to EnergySage and Solar Reviews
**From Solar Reviews
Recommended Reading: What Happens To Solar Panels When It Snows
Solar Batteries Are Expensive But May Be Worth It For Those Who Use A Substantial Amount Of Electricity
A solar battery can store any excess power generated by your solar panels that you don’t use at the time, rather than exporting it back to the grid. They aren’t cheap costing about £2,100 for a three kilowatt-hour battery.
The savings you make on your bills can be significant, though. The price you’re paid for each unit of energy you export to the grid is usually much lower than the price you pay your supplier for electricity. So, economically, it makes more sense to store the energy and use it yourself with E.on saying a household with a battery could use 30% more of the electricity they generate themselves.
Another potential advantage of a battery is that it can increase the rate you get paid for exporting your electricity back to the grid. Some firms will pay many times more than the standard amount if you buy certain types of batteries. See what firms pay.
The battery isn’t all about what you generate yourself, either. If you’re on a flexible ‘time-of-use’ energy tariff, with cheaper electricity overnight for example, you can charge the battery at cheaper times from the grid and use it to power your house during more expensive hours.
How Much Are You Spending On Electricity
Before you can know how much you can save on electricity, youll first need to know how much youre spending on electricity. One easy way to find this out is to look at your monthly electricity bill from your utility company. On that bill, you should be able to see how much you spent for the last month, as well as at what rate your electric company is charging you for the electricity.
Currently, the United States average cost for a month of electricity for any given household is $115. Depending on where you live, how big your house is, and how much electricity you use, this number could vary dramatically. In some cases, families can get their electricity bill below $50. In contrast, other families with large homes could spend upwards of $500 during the warm summer months when their air conditioners are constantly running.
After you see how much you spend on electricity, your solar installers will be able to put together a rough estimate of how many solar panels youll need to help compensate for your electricity usage.
Read Also: What Insurance Companies Cover Solar Panels
Review Your Electric Bill
Solar panels generate their own power and can therefore greatly offset your monthly electricity bill, if not eliminate it. The higher your bill, the more likely you’ll benefit from switching. But you should note that electricity rates and usage the main charges on your statement are volatile.
“If a utilitys electricity prices fluctuate, so could the amount of savings,” says Garrett Nilsen, deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s solar energy technologies office. “Similarly, if energy consumption changes, the amount of savings can also vary.”
Visit the EIA website to view the most recent prices per state.
Do Solar Panels Hurt The Resale Value Of Your Home
This is one of the major aspects of going solar that so many people seem to overlook. Often, it is assumed that going solar is not only going to save you money but that it is also going to be a worthwhile investment. It is a known fact that when you lease solar panels, this can be very detrimental to the value of your home because whoever buys your home is then going to have to take on the lease too.
However, when you purchase a solar system outright, there are going to be no additional costs after the installation. As such, because solar provides a source of constantly renewable energy, it only makes sense to assume that any prospective buyer of your home is going to see your solar system as advantageous.
In The US, having solar panels installed on your home can potentially have these advantages among others.
- They can increase the resale value of your home by roughly 4.1% on average.
- Owning solar panels can make your house-selling process quicker and easier as the prospect of having no energy bills can be incredibly attractive for some buyers.
So, not only did your solar system provide you with some amazing long-term energy savings when you installed it, but it also turns out that in some instances having it on your property might actually net you some serious extra money when it comes to selling your home.
To give you an idea of what this would look like, here is how much an additional 4.1% of your homes value represents across a variety of typical house values.
Also Check: Are Solar Panel Prices Dropping
How Does Net Metering Work With Solar
If a system generates an excess of power during the afternoon and the homeowners run the AC at night, the electricity used to cool the house isnt added to the meter. The electricity meter actually runs backwards to credit homeowners for the energy they added to the grid! Once you run out of your energy credits, your meter goes back to running forwards, and on the next sunny day, it will run backwards again. Net metering allows the excess electricity produced by your system to cover the times it doesnt produce enough.
How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels
How much does solar cost to install? On average, it costs around $13,142 to install a solar system. How much it costs to install solar panels depends on how many solar panels you need to generate energy for your home. The good news is, how much solar panels cost upfront is offset by the savings and return on investment they earn.
The average cost of solar panels and their upfront cost can be offset by the federal tax credit, which currently sits at 26 percent. After 2020, the tax credit will step down to 22 percent. So the sooner you take advantage of the full credit, the better. The federal tax credit was created to encourage investment in solar systems and renewable energy, and claiming it is a matter of filling out the right IRS Form.
Besides the federal tax credit, solar panels increase property values while lowering utility bills. Compared to gas or electric heating systems, solar panels save you much more in the long-run. Your solar panel system can pay for itself in three years!
You May Like: Is Silver Sol Colloidal Silver
When Will Solar Panels Get Cheaper
Solar panels are still quite expensive for most households, but they are expected to get cheaper over the long term. Increased demand for solar panels has led to increased production, bringing down overall costs.
However, the price of solar panels is still likely to be prone to some fluctuation. For example, shortages of some raw materials may sometimes cause the price of solar panels to rise temporarily, but the long-term trend still indicates that they will generally get cheaper.
What Are The Environmental Benefits Of Using Commercial Solar Panels
So, we now know what financial and reputational benefits solar panels can bring to your business, but how can solar panels for commercial buildings actually help the environment? Well, to put it simply, solar panels offer a way of providing some or all of the energy your business requires to function with a reduced dependence on fossil fuel-created energy. This in turn allows you to reduce your carbon footprint and do your small bit to slow down climate change and protect the environment.
If you also look at the bigger picture and the knock-on effects that installing commercial solar panels might have, by becoming an adopter of green energy you are also promoting renewable energy to other businesses by showing it is a realistic and sustainable option. More businesses may opt to also change their energy consumption habits and look to go green as a result, which can only be good for the environment.
Don’t Miss: When Should A Baby Start Solid Food