In Conclusion: Are Solar Panels Worth It
At the end of the day, the cost of solar is only as important as the return youll get from installing solar panels. For most homeowners, solar is a worthwhile investment, and you can break even in as few as 7 or 8 years. From that point on, youre essentially generating free electricity and racking up the savings. During those 7 to 8 years, youll be generating your own electricity instead of paying for electricity from the grid, and any extra electricity you produce you might be able to get credit for thanks to net metering policies .
Of course, just like the cost of solar panels varies by state, your payback period with solar will also vary depending on where you live. As a general rule, places where electricity is most expensive will lead to the most lifetime savings from a solar panel system. Check out our article about electricity rates and solar savings for a more in-depth explanation of how this actually works.
You can read more about the payback and cost-benefit of solar in our article, Are solar panels worth it?. Or, head to our solar calculator for an instant estimate of your savings potential!
How Much Does Regional Climate Affect Solar Panel Installation Costs
The table below shows how much electricity 1 kW of solar panels installed on a southern-facing roof will produce, on average, in the following states:
You can find out how much is produced in the other states, and even down to your specific house, by using this solar power generation calculator.
Annual solar panel production per state
As you can see, solar panels installed in the northeast will produce approximately 35% less power than solar panels installed in sunnier places, like Arizona. Solar panels in Arizona generate more electricity because the sun is typically always shining.
So, a home in Arizona that is using the same amount of electricity as a home in Massachusetts will need a system thats 35% smaller, simply because Arizona gets more sunshine.
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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How Can The Solar Panel Installation Cost Calculator Work It All Out Accurately
There are only two things you need to enter into our solar installation cost calculator: your address and the amount of your most recent electric bill. Our calculator knows the electric rates charged by your local utility, so it can determine how much electricity you used based on how much your bill was.
From here, we use information from the Energy Information Administration that contains the average electric usage of a home in your area for each month of the year. The calculator uses this to estimate what your annual usage looks like. For example, if the average customer in your area uses twice as much power in July as they do in January, then we assume you will too. These usage estimates are typically very accurate.
So now that we know your electric usage, we can figure out how much solar electricity you need to cover it all. The amount of sunshine your area receives allows us to calculate how much electricity a solar panel will produce on your roof, which, in turn, tells us the size of the system you need.
Once we know what system size will work for you, we can figure out the cost. We simply apply the average cost of solar offered by installers in your area to estimate the cost of a fully installed and commissioned solar panel system that will offset 100% of your electric usage.
How many solar panels do you need to eliminate your electric bill?
Evaluate Your Sunlight Exposure
More sun means more energy produced and a greater potential to save with solar. Certain states, like Arizona and California, average more sunlight hours per day.
Your home’s orientation toward the sun, the amount of shade and its roof type also affect a solar system’s output. You can estimate the efficiency of panels in your area by using the SolarReviews calculator. Enter your address and the average cost of your monthly energy bill.
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How Much Will It Cost To Install A Solar Roof
It is difficult to give a cost estimate for solar installation because there are so many factors to consider. However, the cost of solar installation is typically lower than the cost of electricity from the grid.
The capital cost, or upfront cost, of installing solar panels typically ranges from $6 to $10 per square foot. The national average is $3.07 per square foot.
Installation costs are dependent on the size of the roof is covered, the number of panels required,
Solar Panel Installation Cost Data
The average cost to install a 7 kilowatt solar panel system on a home is around $21,000. When you take the 26% federal solar tax credit into account, that cost drops to around $15,500. The price could be even lower, depending on what other state or local incentives are available in your area.
If you are already familiar with the cost of solar energy installation and average solar panel savings and would rather know more about the steps involved in the solar panel installation process, you can read more about that here.
For those of you who are just beginning your solar installation research or just doing general industry research, our solar panel cost guide is a great place to start. We show the most up-to-date data of the average cost of a residential solar panel installation in each state and the average cost for systems using the best solar panel brands on the market, as well as labor costs.
The averages in our guide are great as a starting point for your solar journey, but theyre just that – averages. Those numbers wont be 100% accurate for your situation because your home probably isnt average. Each house is unique – houses in different states can be different, even houses in the same state are different!
For a more detailed estimate, you can enter your zip code in the calculator below and get all of our solar panel cost estimates, plus youll be able to see exact bids from solar companies in your area.
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Frequently Asked Questions: What Else Makes Solar Panels Worth It
Theres a whole lot more to know about solar than just are solar panels worth it. Here are a few other questions people commonly want answers to about the worthiness of solar panels:
How much do solar panels cost?
As of July 2021, solar panels cost about $20,474 for a 10 kilowatt system. That includes the generous 26% federal solar tax credit, but not additional local rebates and incentives you may be able to take advantage of.
How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves?
Most property owners who get solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace will break even on their solar investment in seven to eight years. After that, youll be generating free electricity and racking up the savings!
Should you wait to buy solar panels?
Even though the cost of solar panels continues to fall, its usually not worth it to wait. The longer you wait to go solar, the more savings youre missing out on. In the long run, its worth it to go solar as soon as possible for most shoppers, instead of hoping for a much cheaper price down the road.
Is Solar Power The Right Fit For You
Every business and homeowner is unique. But if youre struggling to keep up with rising energy costs, its worth running through the numbers. Solar PV is a proven technology that delivers measurable savings that start on Day 1 and continue to grow for the next 30+ years.
Let us help you determine whether solar power is the right fit for your home or business. To get started, request a free property inspection from our energy experts today.
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A Wrench In The System
Some time towards the end of May, our energy meter conked out. It started showing some error and was not reading the power usage. The person who takes the meter reading informed me that the meter needs to be replaced. So June bill was all wrong. As you can imagine, getting a government worker to have something replaced takes a long time if you dont want to bribe them. And that is what exactly happened.
I kept calling the good people at the electricity board several times to get the meter replaced. Each time they would have some excuse for not coming, their responses ranged from we have a staff meeting right now to the staff is getting COVID shots today to line man is busy and so on. Just look at the number of times I called one person . I called almost everyday to ask if he was going to come fix the meter.
Thankfully all through the calls, they were polite in their responses. I was understanding and spoke politely too. Perhaps they have some legit reason for things to move so slowly. Anyway, they did not ask for any bribe nor did I offer any. Eventually, two months after identifying the faulty meter, they fixed it in August. Not bad for a government service.
The Cost Of Solar Panels In Bc
Theres a reason why solar photovoltaic systems are on the rise throughout much of rural British Columbia. Regions like the Okanagan are home to countless food producers, vineyards, farms, and other businesses many of which have enormous energy requirements. And to offset skyrocketing utility bills, theyre increasingly turning to clean sunshine to power their operations.
Moreover, this trend isnt limited to the commercial sector. A growing number of residential BC customers are also going solar as well. This is especially true among those who warm their homes with electric heating.
You might also be thinking about installing Solar panels on your own home or facility for the reasons listed above. Before you do, however, its important you understand the various components that make up the cost of a successful Solar PV project. This analysis is essential when determining whether solar is the right fit for you.
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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 which is a key part of the mechanism within about 25 years .
Of course, though, things can go wrong. If so, check the installer warranty you get it can cover you for up to 20 yeas. If the panels are damaged by something unexpected, like a storm, you may also be covered by buildings insurance check with your insurer before you have them installed.
Take Out A Loan To Cover The Domestic Solar Panel Uk Cost
- If you dont have the capital then the second option is to get a loan to pay for them. This method will allow for a considerably longer term investment but will still offer some reward and offer the comfort of protection from rising energy costs. The loan and cost of the system should break even within the lifetime of the system if worked correctly.
- unfortunately, there is no longer a way to receive free solar panels, this is due to the end of the FIT on the 30th March 2019. Any schemes that did exist are no longer viable.
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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.
How Will You Pay For Your Solar System
Whether you choose to buy or lease your solar panels will have a major impact on your savings. If you have enough to make a cash purchase, youll save more than with any other option but even with a zero-down solar loan, your savings could still be in the tens of thousands. While solar leases and power purchase agreements require no money down and promise a maintenance-free option, they come with a trade-off: your total savings will typically be just 10 to 30 percent of your utility electricity bill.
How does this play out in the real world? Check out the EnergySage Solar Calculator to see how your long-term savings will differ depending on whether you choose a cash purchase, a solar loan, or a solar lease or community solar, if thats something youre considering!
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Type Of Solar Panel Systems
The type of solar panel system you chose will greatly affect the cost. Grid-tie, grid-tie solar and energy storage, and off-grid solar are all options differ in price. Remember, the best solar panels for your property will fulfill your needs and meet your price point.
Lets break down the primary purpose of each system:
- Grid-tie: You have access to the utility grid. Your primary goal is to save money on your electric bill
- Grid-tie solar and energy storage: You have access to the utility grid and your primary goal is to have backup power when there is an outage.
- Off-grid: You do not have access to the utility grid. Your primary goal is to live where it is not accessible.
Once you identify your goals, you can make a final decision based on price.
If you have access to the grid, you can lower the cost of solar panels by using a grid-tie system. When you choose a grid-tie system with energy storage, you have the potential to save even more. Storing electricity in the grid doesnt cost anything, and you may be able to sell your stored energy . An off-grid system is a significant extra cost.
With an off-grid system, youll need to purchase batteries which represent almost half the cost of an off-grid solar system.
If you have the option, we recommend connecting a grid-tied system. However, off-grid solar will still save you money in the long run if you want to live away from a utility grid.
Browse our grid-tie solar kits and off-grid solar systems for up-to-date pricing.
How Much Money Can You Save With Tax Credits
Weve gone into greater detail about tax credits in other articles on our website, so we wont go into great detail about tax credits here.
However, you can generally expect to save about 30% off your solar panel installation costs with tax credits. Always check tax credits with your government, state, or jurisdiction. In some cases, youre better off waiting a few months to install solar panels because a tax credit is coming next year. In other regions, governments are ending tax credit incentive programs so you should rush to get your solar panels completed before the incentive program ends.
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How The Installation Process Works
The solar installation process is quite simple. The process might be different for other solar installers but for us there are four basic steps involved:
1. Free Appraisal after a quick phone call and some number crunching, you will be provided a very high-level ballpark estimate remotely, based off satellite imagery in the area.
We ask that you provide your address, and kWh consumption as well as some general information on your goals and what you hope to achieve and when you hope to achieve it.
Those last two points are extremely important to us everyone has different goals and we want to really make sure we are taking care of your exact needs.
Although estimates can be given remotely,visiting the site is prudent prior to installation. During a site appraisal, your existing electrical infrastructure will be inspected noting any upgrades that may be required. Similarly, your trusses and/or shingles may be inspected to ensure that a solar power system is viable on your home.
If your trusses, membranes or general structure are not in perfect condition, a Professional Engineer will be called to verify the structural integrity of the building.
2. Proposal we will then draw up a detailed proposal for you.
3. Construction Most solar panel installations can be completed in just one to two days.
Additional Solar Panel System Costs
There are a few things youll want to add to your solar energy systems total cost to get the most accurate price estimate. Here are a few additional factors that will impact how much your solar panels will cost:
- Labor costs Local labor costs for solar installation will change depending on your area and the average costs solar installers charge in your area.
- Installing solar mounts The costs to install the racks that hold your residential solar panels will effect cost as well. There are a few options for solar mounting.
- Installing solar inverters A solar inverter will need to be installed to transform direct current power from the panels into the alternating current you can use in your home
- Other costs: There may also be costs for any local permit fees, inspection fees, and taxes on the solar panels.
With the fall in solar panel prices, these soft solar panel costs now constitute the bulk of what you pay when you install solar for your home.
Fortunately, as more people adopt solar power, soft costs have fallen as a resulta trend thats very likely to continue in the future. An analysis by the federal governments National Renewable Energy Laboratory discovered that installed prices have fallen at an average annual rate of 13% to 18%.
Always make sure to speak with a local solar professional to get a more accurate estimate of what your installation will cost.
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