Plug Load Electricity Estimate
Before we get into heating and cooling, we start with getting an estimate for plug loads the amount of power you need for your household appliances, electronics, well pump, etc.
This is tricky! No two families are alike, and two families living in the same home can have VERY different electricity bills depending on occupant behavior. Once you start to work with a ReVision Solar Design Specialist, well do a more thorough analysis, and ideally get a professional energy designer in the mix to build a more complex model.
Skip to The 100% Solar-Powered Home to get your own rough-order-of-magnitude solar estimate built!Some terminology
Understand How To Pay For Solar
There are many options when it comes to financing a rooftop solar panel system purchase the main three are a cash purchase, solar loans, and solar leases or power purchase agreements .
If you can afford it, paying in cash for your rooftop solar panel system is the most surefire way to save money over the lifetime of your system. With full ownership of your panels and no interest to pay on a solar loan, youll usually see the highest return on a solar investment with a cash purchase.
Want to own your system from the get-go, but need assistance with that upfront cost? A solar loan might be right for you. Solar loans lower the up-front cost of your rooftop solar system to $0, so you can buy your system and then pay off your loan in monthly increments. For many solar shoppers, your monthly loan payments will be similar to your electric bill before solar.
Solar leases and PPAs require no money down, but the catch is that you do not own your solar system you are only hosting it for a third party that sells you the electricity it produces for a fixed rate. Importantly, when you enter a solar lease agreement or PPA, you are not entitled to any tax incentives because you dont own the system.
Lets Say That Youve Decided Not Only To Go Solar But You Want To Go All
If youâve used our solar calculator or looked at the map of solar homes around you, youâll know that going solar is pretty easy and increasingly common. As the price continues to drop, it becomes affordable for more people. But what if you want to go completely solar? What if you donât want to use any fossil fuels at all in your home?
Yes, itâs possible for solar panels to supply all of the electricity your home needs. The first step is to maximize your energy efficiency with insulation, air sealing, and efficient appliances. Then, move off fossil fuel heating to electric heat pumps, and replace gas cooking and water heating with electric. Once youâve done that, a correctly sized photovoltaic system can be used to power everything in your home. But does it make sense?
This guide will explain how you can go completely solar in your home. But before we launch into it, letâs clarify what it really means when we talk about making your house completely solar.
- Want to generate all of your current electricity usage with solar, but leave some appliances, like your stove and furnace, using fossil fuels?
- Or do you want to move 100% of your home energy use to solar? This is called net zero.
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What To Look For In An Unsecured Solar Loan
Unsecured loans with low rates and short repayment terms can help you pay off your solar panel system quickly. In contrast, you may be making smaller payments on a home equity line of credit for 10 or more years.
Annual percentage rate: The APR is the total cost of your loan, including interest and fees. Rates on personal loans range from about 6% to 36%, with the lowest rates reserved for good- and excellent-credit borrowers with little other debt. The APR can help you make an apples-to-apples comparison between personal loans and other financing options.
Fees: Some lenders charge an origination fee, which can be 1% to 6% of the cost of the loan, and is usually taken off the amount youre given.
Term: The amount of time you have to repay your loan helps to determine your monthly payments. With longer repayment terms, you have lower payments but youll pay more total interest.
Use a solar loan calculator to see how the loan’s rate and term affect monthly payments and overall interest.
Start With The Solar Nerd Cost Calculator
To find out how many solar panels you need to meet your current electricity needs, just plug your current monthly kWh usage into the calculator. The calculator takes into account your local climate, and uses your estimate of your roofâs angle and orientation to make an accurate projection of your solar power generation and the number of solar panels that youâll need.
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Residential Pv Solar Panel System Cost
The high upfront costs, which typically includes a concurrent installation of a new roof, are usually the reason most people dont go with solar energy. $15,000 to $25,000 in upfront investment can be a lot when you compare it to a yearly bill of say $1,200 for home energy costs.
In 2022, the national average cost per watt installed can range between $2.80 and $3.50 before the federal solar tax credits. The cost per watt can wary from company to company, and depending on the system size and your homes location. The cost per watt installed can be significantly higher if you go with a large national installer like SunRun, Vivint Solar, or SunGevity.
For a typical complete 6kW residential PV solar system installed at $2.80-$3.50 per watt by a small local installer, the total average cost can range between $16,800 and $21,000, before the federal solar ITC rebate and other incentives. Yet, if we factor in the 26% federal tax credit rebate through 2022 , then the final cost will range between $13,320 and $15,540. Still, there are enough factors to consider that could lower or raise the total price of the system.
Harness The Power Of The Sun With Understand Solar
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When you were a kid, you probably didnt know anyone with solar panels on their roof. And it wasnt just because everybody needed room for their giant satellite dishes. Back then solar technology was way too expensive for regular people. But now, things are different. Over the last decade, the cost of installing solar panels has gone down about 70 percent thanks to federal tax credits, lower equipment costs, increased consumer interest, and economies of scale. Not only are solar panels more affordable than ever, but when you factor in the money youll save on energy and the value they add to your home, solar panels can make excellent long term investments. But of course, it all depends on where you live. Were not just talking about latitude and longitude, but also the local tax incentives, ordinances, and laws regulating your local power grid. So, Is solar power worth it? is actually a pretty complicated question. But getting the answer is easy with a free estimate and consultation from the experts at Understand Solar.
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Choosing The Right Solar Panels For The Job
If youre limited on space for your DIY solar project, monocrystalline panels are the best option due to their greatest efficiency and similar cost to their polycrystalline cousins.
Polycrystalline panels may be suitable if space is not an issue and youre trying to reduce costs even in small ways.
Thin films arent suitable for small-scale solar installation projects, nor are they worth it.
Which Type Of Solar Panel Is Best For Your Diy Solar Project
There are three major types of solar panels available for residential projects.
Monocrystalline solar modules consist of 60 or 72 solar cells made of silicon uniformly black in color covered in glass and framed in metal. Each cell has rounded white edges. Monocrystalline panels are slightly more expensive than other types, but considerably more efficient. They convert up to 23% of sunlight to electricity.
Polycrystalline solar panels also contain 60 or 72 solar cells, each one perfectly square in a mottled blue color. They convert about 15%-17% of sunpower into usable electrical energy. Polycrystalline panels are slightly less expensive than monocrystalline modules.
Thin film solar cells are lightweight and flexible sheets of a photovoltaic material applied to a solid surface like glass. Thin films are even less efficient than the other types, usually only 10-13%. They are also cheaper.
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How To Calculate The Number Of Solar Panels You Need
Our calculator below is the fastest, easiest, and most accurate way to find out how many solar panels your home needs – and you dont have to do any math.
Our solar panel cost and savings calculator is the fastest, easiest, and most accurate way to find out how many solar panels your home needs – and you dont have to do any math. Plus, well give you the average cost of a solar installation for your specific home and how much itll save you on your electric bills.
However, if you want to put pen to paper and work out the calculations for yourself, follow these four easy steps to find how many solar panels you need.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost For A 2500 Square Foot House
For a 2500 square feet house, installation of monocrystalline panels would cost between $17,000 and $36,400.
According to the Energy Information Administration , a house in the United States sizing around 2,500 square feet requires around 12,280 kWh annually, or 1,023 kWh per month.
It further adds if that house has ample roof space such that there is no shading during the day, it would need between 17 and 26 premium solar panels to produce required electricity.
Here, premium refers to a solar panels which has output wattage rating of about 400 watts . If we go with previous per kilowatt price , then installation cost range can be determined as follows
17 panels * 400 kW per panel * 2.5 dollars per Watt = $17000
26 panels * 400 kW per panel * 3.5 dollars per Watt = $36400
So it can be said that installation cost of solar panels for a 2500 square feet house can range between $17,000 and $36,400. Average cost, thus, comes out to be / 2 = $26,700.
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How Many Kwh Can Your Solar Panels Produce The Complexities Of Production Ratios
The amount of power your solar energy system can produce depends on how much sunlight exposure your roof receives, which in turn creates your production ratio. The amount of sunlight you get in a year depends on both where you are in the country, and what time of year it is. For instance, California has more sunny days annually than New England. But in either location, youll be able to produce enough power to cover your energy needs and say goodbye to your utility billsif you live in an area that gets less peak sunlight hours, youll just need to have a larger solar array system installed at your home. Thus, production ratios differ according to geographic location and a lower production ratio means youll need more solar panels to get the amount of energy production you need.
Deep Energy Retrofits May Never Pay For Themselves
Thereâs something of an 80/20 rule when it comes to net zero homes. That is, you can spend relatively less money to get most of the way toward a net zero house, but the final steps to get to 100% energy self-sufficiency can get very expensive.
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What Are The Costs Of Installing Solar Panels
The average cost to install solar panels is $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the size of your roof. To break it down further, according to EnergySage.com, The cost of solar panels as of July 2021 is about $19,300 after tax credits .
Likely, youll save more than this over the long run. While the exact figure depends on how much energy you generally consume and the average cost of electricity in your area, switching to solar power generally leaves you with a bill thats 20 percent the price of your previous ones. That number rises to 40 percent for homes with electric heating or air conditioning systems!
Better yet, state governments also offer tax incentives for those who install renewable energy systems like solar panels .
The Falling Price Of Solar Energy
Currently, solar panels are one of the more easily accessible forms of renewable energy. Solar energy attracts people in large part because of its many benefits, ranging from significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to increasing home value by an average of $15,000. With enough panels installed in Texas to power more than 350,000 homes, it is no longer uncommon to see solar panels affixed to the roofs of residential homes and businesses.
This expansion is also due to the falling price of generating solar electricity. Solar prices in Texas from 2014 to 2019. This decrease is even more dramatic across a longer time frame, as solar panel installation costs in the United States dropped by 70% from 2009 to 2019. In response, demand for residential solar panels and solar power in general has grown tremendously.
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One More Important Thing To Know
Some factors could increase your payback period. Before installing solar panels, you need to inspect the condition of your roof. Panels can last 25 years, so if your roof is not in tip-top shape, you might have to make improvements before installing solar panels. If this applies to you, make sure to add these costs to your initial investment.
Overall, solar power can be an expensive proposition, especially with the upfront costs. However, the long-term efficiency they provide can more than offset the initial investment, leading to savings for years to come.
System Panels And Equipment
The cost of your system is also dependent on the number of panels you need and the type of panels you select.
The average home solar system is 5kW, although larger homes may require a 6kW system. Assuming your system uses 250-watt photovoltaic panels, that equates to approximately 20 panels per home, at the cost of roughly $11,000. Of course, prices increase from that starting point for larger systems requiring more panels.
Home solar systems also typically require an inverter. Most solar companies will design your solar system with these components included, but selecting specific inverters or batteries, such as a Tesla Powerwall, may increase your overall cost.
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Heating Your Home With Solar
Exterior heat pump unit installed on a metal base with sound dampening hardware
Do you have a roaring, monstrous sounding boiler firing your home today? Dread the idea of putting such a monster into your new home as well as a tank full of toxic, climate-damaging fuel? Well, good news! Your solar-powered home of the future needs no oil or gas at all!
This is all possible thanks to modern heat pumps. Modern cold-climate heat pumps work by using a refrigeration process similar to the way your homes refrigerator works. Warmth is extracted from the ambient outside air and transferred into your home. Since the heat pump is moving, not creating, heat, it is highly efficient. Powered by solar, a heat pump can heat your home for the equivalent of around $1/gallon for oil!
While its possible to keep drafty old homes warm with heat pumps, they are far more effective when used in a tight, well-insulated house, hence our recommendation that you build one!
If you build a good quality house, then you can heat primarily with heat pumps, and install a small backup system to supplement the heat pumps during periods of extreme cold weather.
Since heat pumps are powered by electricity, you can use solar power you bank in the summertime as your fuel source in the winter!
Watch our quick video on solar heating and cooling:
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For Common Appliances
How many solar panels do I need for individual electricity loads?
There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesnt always result in higher savings on your utility bills. The only way to find the sweet spot for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.
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Calculating How Much Solar Panels Will Cost For Your Specific Home Given Its Location And Electricity Use
Our solar panel calculator is the easiest way to determine the costs and savings of a solar panel installation for your specific home.
All you need is your address and the value of your monthly electric bill, and our solar calculator will determine your local utility companys electricity rates and how much power you use in order to tell you:
- How many solar panels you need to power your home
- How much your solar panels will cost
- How much your solar panels will save you