How Do I Read This Bill
Clean energy and a reliably comfortable home starts by controlling your energy costs with solar. Most electric bills cover a few standard components. With a home solar system, these components are generally up front and center:
A home solar system wont remove standard service fees. Service fees are the electric companys charges for connecting your home to the grid. Generally, its a flat monthly cost not based on how much electricity you use.
Benjamin Franklin said nothing is certain in this world but death and taxes. Yet, a solar installation sure makes living in your home a lot more fun and financially secure.
Taxes from electric companies are typically based on the amount of grid power used. So, the more electricity generated by your home solar system, the less you pay the tax man.
Here, the financial benefits of using a storage battery are readily evident to reduce your draw from the electric grid.
After the bottom line on your energy bill, electricity use is the component we look at. The electric company charges based on a volume rate .
However, with a home solar system, your electric bill only includes the number of kilowatt hours youve used from the grid. They dont add in any electricity used from your solar panels.
In fact, they dont even see how much solar energy youve used. So, if you only used power generated by your solar panels, the amount of electricity use on your bill would be zero.
The Free Panels Arent Yours
Because both of these types of arrangements a lease and a PPA involve paying for electricity-generating equipment over a lengthy contract period, those free panels that you were promised may be anything but. Once installed on your homes roof, you will still end up paying toward an entire system that is leased or rented, for a number of years. In the end, the savings you may reap from the solar-generated electricity itself may not be enough to make up for those free panels.
What Is Solar Energy In Simple Terms
At its most basic, solar energy is the act of harvesting sunshine to make electricity that we can then use to power our homes and businesses. Nick Cohen, the president and co-founder for Doral Renewables LLC, the company behind the Mammoth Solar project, describes it as a one-step process to convert free sunlight to electricity.
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Consumers Must Use Caution
There are a lot of shady actors in the solar market from the sales company to the panel installer, and then the finance company. Consumers should be wary of scams in the solar industry and use caution while considering a solar power contract. Remember to consider the following:
- Do not feel pressured to sign the salespersons tablet or iPad. There is no rush.
- Insist that the salesperson provide paper copies of all contracts and documents
- Take time to read every document that requires your signature or initials.
- Seek advice from a trusted advisor.
- Get all of your questions answered before signing anything.
How Much Can You Save From Using Solar Energy
Solar power technology has drastically improved over the years, becoming a more efficient energy source while potentially lowering installation and maintenance costs. In other words, solar panels are now made more affordable, encouraging customers to switch to an eco-friendly alternative for generating power while potentially saving money on electrical bills.
That said, some people are afraid to commit, likely because it costs a bit more upfront than traditional electrical line installations. But what if you get to see an estimate or breakdown of the actual money you get to save by using solar energy?
Below is an explanation of your households solar energy savings if you use this as your primary energy source.
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What Are The Labour Costs
When you are given a quote for your solar panel system, labour costs are typically included. There are two common ways of calculating the labour costs for solar panel installations in the UK.
One way is to calculate approximately £300-£500 per person, per day. As it usually requires two people to install the system, a final installation fee is normally £600-£1,000. If you are installing a larger system, it may take more than one day and the costs will naturally rise.
Another way to calculate the installation fee is to charge 20 pence per watt. So, for a 4kW system, you would be paying 20 pence for 4000 watts, resulting in £800.
Estimate Residential Solar Panel Cost
The brunt of the expense with solar panels is in installation and the purchase of the actual panels.
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Minimal long-term expenses can make up for the upfront costs. Most systems dont require much maintenance and are designed to last for 20 years or more with little change to the amount of electricity produced, Nilsen says.
When calculating the total price, consider how much energy you regularly consume your usage is listed on your monthly utility bill and what size system will generate the amount needed. Some tools, like the SolarReviews calculator, estimate the system size for you.
With installation, an average residential 5kW size system costs between $3 and $5 per watt, according to the CSE, which results in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. That cost is before any tax credits and incentives.
If you know your current energy usage, you can calculate how much youll need to pay for solar panels.
Then comparison shop for solar panels as you would other big-ticket items, such as a car or TV, says Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of the solar marketplace EnergySage. Some companies lower installation costs through rebates and other programs.
Aggarwal recommends getting quotes from three to five contractors. EnergySage compiles solar companies customer reviews, certifications, Better Business Bureau profiles and other information to help you find reputable providers.
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Be Cautiousbe Patientno Need To Act Today
Many door-to-door solar sales representatives often ask the consumer to make quick, on-the-spot decisions about obtaining solar power for the home. It is not unusual for the homeowner to feel pressured and need to act immediately.
Solar power can be an exciting and environmentally-friendly way to go green while potentially saving money on your electric bills. Often consumers view the change to solar power for their home as an investment in the future with benefits for generations to come. But before you or your family chooses solar, you should determine if solar is right for you and your home.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Across the nation, there are many companies that offer solar power systems. But consumers must investigate the advantages promised by the solar company and evaluate whether solar panels would provide benefits to their lifestyle and their pocketbook.
Average Solar Bills In Vic
Solar households in Victoria pay an average of $309 a quarter for electricity, our survey found. More than half of Victorians said they are happy with the solar feed-in tariff, although only 18% were attracted to their solar plan by the payback rate. Regardless, most Victorians are happy with their choice to install solar. Victorians paid an average of $5,657 for their solar installation.
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What Happens To The Solar Panels If I Move Out
If you get solar panels installed and later decide to move home, you can’t take the panels, smart export guarantee or feed-in tariff payments with you.
Solar payments are paid to the owner of the property where the solar panels are installed, so normally when you move, the new owner will receive the payments.
While you could physically remove the panels from your old home and install them on the new one, you still wouldn’t receive payments, as the panels would be considered ‘second-hand’ and so not eligible for the scheme.
It’s also worth noting solar panel installations are tailored to each home to fit the roof and be positioned to maximise the level of sunlight they receive so it’s likely they wouldn’t perform as well if you installed them on a different home.
Appliances That Consume A Lot Of Electricity
Certain household appliances consume a lot of energy. You can swap some for energy-saving alternatives, while being aware of how much electricity they consume may be good enough for other items. This way, you can be mindful of your usage and potentially cut down on costs.
- Refrigerator Having a fridge at home is necessary to keep groceries and produce fresh, but it generally consumes a lot of energy since its turned on 24/7. The average consumption of a 16-cu. ft. fridge is 1,200-watt-hours per day. Get a size that fits your familys needs and keep it a couple of inches away from the wall for proper ventilation.
- Water Heater Warm baths are incredibly relaxing, but if you take pleasure in having long showers, know that a water heater can consume 4,500-watt-hours per day. While its alright to indulge every once in a while, being mindful of your shower time could help reduce both your electric and water bills.
- Air Conditioner While a must-have during the summer months, its one of the appliances that is most easily overused. The type of air conditioner, the size of the room you are keeping cool, and how long its running are factors contributing to a higher electrical bill. Set timers, if possible, to control your usage.
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Tax Incentives Can Help A Lot
Homeowners can receive a one-time tax credit of 26% off the purchase price of a solar system. If the initial solar panel investment typically costs around $20,000 in your area, the tax credit would net you $5,200 when you next file taxes.
What’s more, some utilities offer incentives and rebates for installing solar power. Check with your local energy supplier to see if they offer any incentives.
Tax Incentives And Rebates
One big reason to consider a home solar system is that it normally comes with a package of federal and state tax incentives, credits and/or rebates designed to encourage solar energy usage. These incentives and rebates offer a substantial cost benefit to homeowners suffering from sticker shock at the upfront purchase price of a home system.
Federally sponsored incentives come in the form of the Investment Tax Credit . The ITC is a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar systems installed on qualifying residential and commercial properties. The ITC was originally put into place in 2006 with an effective end date of Dec. 31, 2007. It has been extended four times since it was first enacted. The last extension ending December 2019 at which point the ITC will ramp down to 26 percent in 2020 and sunset at 22 percent in 2021. Homeowners use the credit when they purchase solar systems and have them installed on their homes. The credit is applied to the homeowners federal income taxes for a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction. The dollar amount of the credit is based on the amount of investment by the homeowner in eligible solar property.
Solar is no longer an option only for the wealthy, but an opportunity for anyone looking to gain control over monthly utility bills, and make a long term, low risk-investment.
U.S. Department of Energy
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Your Home Solar Systems Energy Production
Maximizing your solar installations energy generation is key to having reliable, robust electricity for your household. While bigger is not always better, the size of your home solar system directly affects your electric bill.
Unless you can dependably benefit from net metering, often your best bet is installing solar panels that cover 100% of your electricity needs. Be sure to calculate in more kilowatt hours to your system if you intend to increase your electric usage, like charging a hybrid electric vehicle or heating a hot tub.
To achieve maximum energy output from some rooftops, it may be advantageous to install premier, smaller solar panels with a higher electricity yield. Yet, with more available roof space, you can likely meet your electricity needs with larger, lower cost, standard efficiency panels.
Home solar systems typically range in size between 5 to 10 kilowatts. The solar installation size and other factors like shading influence the amount of electricity produced. On average, a 5 kW solar panel installation will produce about 8,000 kilowatt hours a year. This clean, sustainable energy is sufficient to cover the annual energy requirements of many households.
When considering what your electric bill will be with a solar installation, check out your cost benefit of a home battery. Adding battery storage to your solar installation significantly strengthens your financial security from rising electric rates.
Are Solar Panels Cheaper Than Electricity
At higher points, the sun is much cheaper than electricity. Energy companies are developing ways to deliver energy at a much lower cost than conventional electricity, without forgetting the environmental impact. The sun is easily installed on the roof and takes advantage of previously available resources.
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How Much Will My Electric Bill Be With Solar Panels
Recent research from the Rocky Mountain Institute shows that monthly electric bills for a typical home in Westchester County, New York may rise to $350 a month by 2030.
Yet, the same household may spend $260 or less a month if theyve installed solar panels and battery storage. The time for solar is now.
Going solar can reduce your electric bill dramatically, to the point where its not a significant player in your monthly budget. Some fortunate homeowners can even eliminate their electric bill.
Mistakes Many Solar Owners Make When Calculating Their Savings
Your solar savings are a lot more that the part of your bill that shows a credit for solar power! Heres that part of my bill highlighted in red:
You can see that I got a credit of $193.44 for my 3 months worth of exports. Many people read this as:
Hmmmm. $200 savings every 3 months. Thats only $800 of savings per year. The bloody salesman said Id save over $2,000 per year! What a crook! My $8,000 solar system is gonna take 10 years to pay off before I start seeing any return on my investment! Solar is a complete con!
This common analysis is wrong on a number of levels:
#1: The 8c rate is a Net feed-in tariff. This means that you are only paid 8c kWh for solar electricity that you export. Solar energy that is not exported saves me around 31c per kWh , because I don’t need to buy it from the grid. I explain how this works in great detail here.
#2: Your savings from a solar system are much more than just the amount your electricity company credits you on your bill for your exported electricity . In fact, most of your savings are likely to be totally absent from the breakdown on your bill.
Funny that it’s almost as if electricity companies want the benefits of solar power to look a lot smaller than they really are.
Lets use an example to explain:
Say your household uses 3,000 kWh of electricity per quarter. If you don’t have solar panels, this means that you’re paying around 31c per kWh for every kWh.
Now, let’s bring solar into the equation
$556 $54 = $502 .
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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.
All That To Say Its Possibleeven Likelythat Switching To Solar Energy Will Save You Money
Its also possible it wouldnt.
Thats because several variables have to sync up to turn solar panels into savings.
An expert can help you quickly put your solar puzzle together.
Youll need answers to questions like:
How sunny is your roof? How much energy does your family use? How many solar panels fit on your roof? Does your utility offer net metering? Etc etc.
You can easily see theres no one-size-fits-all answer.
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