How To Get The Most Out Of Solar Panels
If you decide to proceed with the installation of solar PV panels, take a look at these tips to ensure you get the most out of them:
- Use more electricity during the day: Solar PV panels are most effective during daylight hours, so think about carrying out tasks such as washing and running the dishwasher during the day, rather than overnight. If you are usually out during the day, inbuilt timers for appliances can come in handy.
- Consider other renewable systems: If you are able to, it can be worth combining solar PV panels with other renewable technologies such as heat pumps, thermal panels and wind turbines.
- Install a solar battery or energy storage system: As mentioned above, this allows you to store energy generated in the day to use at night, reducing the need to use electricity from the Grid.
- Reduce energy wastage: Steps such as turning off lights when not in use, taking shorter showers and draught-proofing your home will reduce how much energy you use. You can read our guide on 14 ways other ways to cut your energy bills.
- Keep solar panels clean: Its important to regularly clean your solar panels you can buy solar panel cleaning kits, or you can install automated cleaners that are a bit like sprinkler systems. Alternatively, you can pay for a cleaning company to do the hard work for you!
If You Decide Solar Panels Are Right For You Find A Registered Installer And Get Three Quotes
As we’re MoneySavers, not electricians, picking installers isn’t our speciality. You can see the firms shortlisted for the British Renewable Energy Awards 2020, run by the Renewable Energy Association, or ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.
As always, get at least three quotes, and get ’em in writing. When comparing quotes, check the following are included: scaffolding, removal of the existing roof and other roofing works, internal wiring works, sorting out a connection agreement with the energy supplier, electrical connection work, and a generation meter. Fitting the panels themselves is a one or two-day job.
Once they’re fitted, registering your panels is a must you’ll need an MCS certificate, which you’ll use to register for smart export guarantee payments with a licensed energy supplier.
Never borrow from solar companies to pay for the panels
Some installers let you buy solar panels on credit. If you don’t have the cash upfront, panels aren’t for you. The loan’s interest could dwarf the savings.
Solar panels are generally low maintenance
The Energy Saving Trust says little maintenance is required on a properly installed, well-designed solar PV system, though you’ll likely need to replace the inverter a gadget that is a key part of the mechanism within about 25 years .
Can A House Run On Solar Power Alone
Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining – which means when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.
Also Check: How To Make Solar Panels More Efficient
Why Are My Solar Panels Not Saving Me Money
Here are some reasons why a homeowner would not save money on solar energy: Their roof size will not allow enough solar panels to compensate for their energy consumption. Their utility company has an awkward network metering program, which brings less savings for the homeowner. Too many beautiful trees overshadow their roof.
How Much Money Does Solar Energy Save Each Year
Tally up the above monthly savings on a per year basis and wed save about $2,500-$3,000 every year on our energy bills!
Add that up over the course of just 10 years, and a solar system would easily pay for itself. And, if your bills are higher than mine, you may be able to save even more!
Recommended Reading: How Often Should You Clean Your Solar Panels
Is Solar Power Worth The Investment
The more sunlight that can be captured in the solar panels, the quicker the solar energy system will pay off your investment. However, if your location gets more rainfall than sunlight, you know that solar power will never be worth the money. It is not worth investing in this alternative source of energy.
Local Average Solar Energy Prices
Both grid and solar energy prices affect how much your customers will save. Some areas have cheap grid electricity . Utilities in other locations charge twice as much for the same amount of electricity. For example, average electric rates in Connecticut are over $18/kilowatt hour, while Hawaiis have risen above $28/kilowatt hour!
In general, higher grid rates mean ratepayers find more value in going solar. However, this also depends on how solar installation costs compare to that states electric rates.
Grid and solar energy costs vary not only by state, but also within each state. So double-check utility rates in your customers particular jurisdiction before estimating their savings.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is It To Solar Power A House
How Electricity Prices Affect Solar Panel Savings
There is a common misconception that solar panels are worth the investment only in sunny places, but this is not the case. If local electricity prices are high, even a modest electricity output can cut your power bill significantly. Generating 2,000 kWh with a tariff of 12 cents achieves the same result as generating 1,200 kWh with a tariff of 20 cents. In both cases, $240 are subtracted from your power bills.
Of course, the highest possible savings are achieved when you have both abundant sunshine and high kilowatt-hour prices. The following table estimates the annual savings for a 6-kW solar panel system, considering various electricity prices and solar productivity values :Annual Savings with Various Specific Yield Values
This table demonstrates how both sunshine and electricity prices are important when estimating the savings achieved by solar panels. Even sites with below-average sunshine can be viable for solar panels if local electricity prices are high.
The US Northeast provides a clear example of how solar panels can save money even with modest sunshine. These states are not particularly sunny, but they have some of the highest electricity prices in the country. Even if solar panels are less productive compared with sunnier states, their electricity output has a high monetary value.
How Smart Financial Decisions Can Help You Purchase Solar Panels
If solar panels pay for themselves, they can be installed at zero net cost. For example, if you borrow $12,600 for a 6-kW solar system, with an interest rate of 4% and a repayment period of 15 years, the annual debt payment is slightly over $1,100. Typically, the annual savings will be higher than this, and no money will come out of your pocket.
Depending on local regulations, it may even be possible to make money from solar panels.
- Utility companies in the US normally offer net metering, which consists on giving credit for any surplus solar generation you inject into the grid.
- If the power generation from your solar panels exceeds your monthly consumption, there is a balance in your favor.
- Most electric companies carry the balance over to the next month until you consume it. However, in some cases you may be offered cash payments for surplus electricity, which essentially turns your home into a small-scale power plant.
Another financial benefit of solar panels is increasing the value of your home. Property values depend on several factors, but an average home with solar panels is around $20,000 more valuable than an identical home without them. Also, there are many states that offer a property tax exemption for clean energy systems: you will not pay higher property taxes if the increase in home value is due to a solar panel installation.
Recommended Reading: Is An Ein Needed For A Sole Proprietorship
Free Source Of Electricity In The Long Term
EnergySages infographics show that businesses pay off their solar panel buying and installation costs in three to seven years. The real benefit of going solar starts after that period as businesses can enjoy free electric supply for 25 to 35 years, the lifetime of the solar system. Buying and installing solar systems is like prepaying 25 to 35 years energy bills. Solar systems come with long warranties. Most module manufacturers offer a 25-year performance guarantee, Colburn notes. To me, that speaks volumes about the reliability of their products.
Will Switching To Solar Energy Save You Money
The point of having solar panels is to have your home generate its own power. This will then offset your electric bills, if not completely eliminate them. If you generally have a higher electric bill, youll likely benefit when switching to solar.
However, if your electric bills are consistently lower, you may not see much need in switching to solar, as the costs could outweigh the benefits.
If youre still wondering if switching to solar energy might save you money, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you find that your electric costs spike in spring and summer?
- Does your home need a lot of energy, thus costing you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in electric bills?
Also keep in mind that electricity rates are volatile. As an example, the ice and snow storm in the southern states in 2021 caused many electric bills to triple, if not quadruple, due to electric needs. Of course, no one can expect events like that to take place, but if it worries you, getting solar can ease those fears a bit.
Recommended Reading: Do Solar Panels Work In Blackouts
Solar Power Increases Property Value
A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2 has shown that photovoltaic home solar power actually increases the value of a home. The study found that a home solar power system adds about $5.00 per installed watt of solar power. An accepted residential average for a home photovoltaic system is 5KW, which translates into $25,000 added value to the average home.
How Much Do Solar Panels Save On Energy
Many homeowners wonder how much solar panels will actually help you save on electricity use and cost. However, because they are expensive to purchase and install on a home, its important that the benefits outweigh the cost of investing in them.
Also Check: How To Build Your Own Solar System
How Much Can You Save With Solar Panels
Solar energy can save you money in two areas. First, it decreases the amount of energy you have to buy from the grid, thus lowering your energy bill. Second, you can earn money back through payments from the SEG.
Solar panel savings aren’t dependent on tariffs, though. In London, a could save you between £100 and £270 a year from lowering your energy bill. In areas like Manchester and Stirling, you could similarly save between £90 and £230.Average Annual Savings by System Size
|6 kW system||£430|
*These figures are calculated using 250W panels and the average household energy consumption in the UK.
How much money you can save depends on how and when you use the solar-powered electricity. If you are home during the day and use your appliances then, you will get the most out of your investment, but if you only use appliances once the sun has gone down then you will need to draw from the national grid.
Can You Save More By Building Your Own Solar System
Programs like Backyard Revolution are offering how-to guides that will allow you to successfully develop your own solar system. This can seem like quite a tempting option especially when you consider the money that it is likely to save you.
Here are some qualities of DIY solar systems.
- Solar systems that have been developed completely from scratch using raw materials
- Perfect for off-grid systems to power sheds or motorhomes
- Completely achievable for anyone with an intermediate or above-average level of DIY skill and knowledge
If you want to know more about how you can build your own solar system from scratch, read through our other post here for everything you could ever need to know.
Read Also: How To Form A Sole Proprietorship In Florida
How Much Do Solar Panels Save Average Cost And Energy Savings
Let’s be honest. While customers are delighted to reduce their carbon footprint by replacing fossil fuel power with clean energy, they generally go solar to reduce something else: their power bill.
So when your prospects consider a solar power system, they’re pretty focused on its potential to lower costs and increase their nest egg. Which means that they have one question above all: How much will solar panels save me?
Since the answer can vary among customers, each deserves a clear, accurate, thorough financial estimate. Here, we’ll look through national and state averages before detailing which factors will affect your customers’ individual solar savings.
Damage To Your Solar System
It should go without saying that damage is going to lead to reduced solar panel efficiency, but we have mainly covered the kind of damage that occurs as a result of human error. Sadly, there are many other forms of damage that can occur over time that may potentially lead to substantial energy bleeds and a loss in savings over time.
- Weather damage
- Damage due to power surges
- Damage as a result of wildlife
- Damage due to human interference
Unfortunately, some of the above issues are completely unforeseeable. Ultimately though, the damage that they present is also entirely detectable. Whether you are able to discover issues with your system largely relies on how regularly you check your system and how closely you monitor its performance.
For instance, if a curious critter in your area managed to bite its way through one of the power cables on your solar system, this is going to be immediately detectable when you have a monitoring process in place. If you do not, you will only discover the issue when you start to lose energy and subsequently also savings. It is the same for weather damage from falling branches or similar. If you have a monitoring system in place, you should be able to detect immediately if there is an issue.
If you do not use monitoring and provided you have annual inspections or regularly clean your panels, then you are likely to be able to spot and isolate any problems of this nature quite rapidly.
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What About Loans Versus Up Front Cash
Conventional wisdom says youll save more with a cash purchase.
Often, thats true.
But say youre ready to go solar… only you dont have that cash right now?
Or what if solar isnt the best use for those particular funds?
Its likely a solar loan will be a little more per month than your utility bill was. Look at it like a hedge against rising utilty rates . So while your neighbors utility bills get higher and higherwhile youre paying your system off, youre locked into one monthly fee you can safely plan for.
For a while, youve just shifted paying your monthly energy bill to your bank instead of your utility company.
So without spending your own money up front … your month to month bills have stayed roughly the same, or risen a little due to the loan payment being slightly higher$20 seems to be an average number for our homeowners who go solar with a loan.
The best part?
Those payments end once youve paid for your solar energy system. So while the rest of your neighbors are still paying their utility bills month after month, youve got extra funds each month for good wine, weekend trips, or who knows, maybe finally getting that electric car.
Interested in seeing whether a solar loan versus cash would make more sense for you?
Both are popular choices. We crunch all the numbersso you can get a clear picture of what makes most sense for you.
Commonly Asked Questions Related To How Much Money Solar Panels Save
Why is my electric bill still high with solar panels?
Although solar panels are a form of renewable energy, they still produce a finite amount of electricityan amount thats consistent with the size of your system. If you require more energy than your solar panels are capable of producing, you will still owe money on your electric bill. And in some cases, it may still be high if you significantly increase your energy usage or if your system was not sized properly to meet your energy needs. If your bill suddenly increases and you havent increased your usage, make sure to contact your installertheyll likely want to inspect your system to ensure everything is working properly.
How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves?
There are many factors that affect a solar panel systems payback period including the initial cost of the system, financial incentives, your average electricity usage, and the estimated electricity generation. Some of these factors are easier to calculate than others, but on average, it takes between 7 and 8years for most homeowners who shop for solar on EnergySage to get their solar panels to pay for themselves. Read this article to find out if switching to solar is worth it for you.
What are two disadvantages of solar energy?
Also Check: What Batteries Are Used For Solar Panels