How Much Electricity Can I Generate With Solar Panels
Most residential solar panel systems on the market today have a peak capacity of between 1 kW and 4 kW. This is the maximum amount of energy that it can generate on a perfectly clear and cloudless sunny day.
However, the amount of energy that you can generate depends on the solar panel itself, its positioning, and the ambient weather conditions. The majority residential solar panels on market today rated to produce between 250 and 400 watts each per hour.
Account For Tax Credits And Incentives
If you have been wondering is solar power worth it, tax credits and incentives may be all you need to hear. The government offers solar panel state incentives for going solar. Most people are eligible for the federal solar tax credit which currently returns 26% of your total installation costs as a credit toward your federal taxes. There may be local incentive programs that stack with the federal credit for even more savings to help ensure your solar panels are worth the investment.
The credit applies to your entire project upfront costs, not just the equipment. Shipping, permitting and contractor fees can all be claimed .
1. Subtract the total value of incentives you can claim from the costs you calculated in steps 2 and 3. That money is paid upfront, but returns to your pocket in the form of a credit come tax season.
Example: * 0.74 = $12,927.06.
Once tax credits have been taken into account, you will have spent about $12,927 to install your system, assuming you hired an installer.
What Is A Solar Panel
A panel, which is specially designed to soak up the suns radiation and then use it to generate electricity.
They convert light into electricity.
Its usually called photovoltaics by some scientists, which means light-electricity.
A solar panel is an assortment of solar cells that absorb the suns rays and convert the heat energy into electric energy, making it useful to light up different appliances or electronic devices.
Solar panels use the sun, our most crucial star as a source of power generation, which not only generates electricity but also helps plants grow, provide humans with Vitamin D, and calms a stressed mind and is now one of the most powerful and familiar sources of energy.
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Are Residential Solar Panels Worth The Cost
There are several key steps to take if you are a homeowner wondering, Is going solar worth it? First, review your electric bill. If you have a higher bill, you are more likely to benefit from switching over to solar energy. Solar panels generate their own power and can greatly offset or possibly eliminate your monthly electricity bill. However, you must also consider that electricity rates and usage, the primary components of your electricity bill, are innately volatile.
If a utilitys electricity prices fluctuate, so could the amount of savings, states Garrett Nilsen, the deputy director of the solar energy technologies office at the U.S. Department of Energy. Similarly, if energy consumption changes, the amount of savings can also vary.
With that in mind, check out EnergySages resource to find the average annual solar cost savings in your state. It provides insights into annual solar energy savings, the average price for solar panel installations by region, and the average electricity rate by state. Of course, one of the first steps in making the decision to go solar is the cost of solar panels, which varies by region.
Rapidly Rising Electricity Costs
Lets face it, domestic electricity costs are rising rapidly across the nation, especially in Los Angeles, California where residential electricity rates have increased by over 10% from June 2020 to June 2021. Across California, prices have risen by 7% in the same time period.
There is no reason to expect that the rapid increase in electricity and home energy costs will be curtailed any time soon. In fact, with the rapid adoption of sustainability and ESG policies such as moving away from coal and fossil fuels, domestic energy costs are likely to continue to rise over the next decade, especially in states with limited natural resources.
A growing adoption of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles also puts an increasing demand on the electric grid and existing infrastructure. Expanding and upgrading the existing infrastructure to support rapidly rising number of BEVs and PHEVs on the road will likely continue driving up electricity rates over the next 5-10 years. These dynamics are projected to accelerate as states like Washington, Oregon, California, and others incentivize or mandate policies that foster adoption of electric vehicles by 2030 and/or beyond.
If you are concerned about the rising electricity rates in your home state, then investing in a PV solar power system will help offset the effects of rising energy rates while also reducing or even eliminating your current electric utility bills.
Your Quote Appears Too Good To Be True
Youve heard the old saying: if its too good to be true, it probably is. And unfortunately, it applies to the solar industry.
The massive growth in the solar industry means that the rise of highly-rated local solar companies has also been accompanied by fly-by-night operations.
The latter category of companies offer solar panel installations at bargain-basement prices, either because they offer low-quality equipment or because they have an unsustainable pricing model that will see it out of business within a few years.
Given that solar panels are designed to last at least 25 years, we recommend you steer far away from such solar cowboys.
Learn more: 10 tips for getting the best solar quote
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So Are Solar Panels Worth It For Your Home
As you can see, there are many factors that go into determining if solar panels are worth it for your home. The return on a solar investment depends on where you live, your roofs features, your electric rates, and who installs your panels.
The easiest way to answer the question are solar panels worth it? is to use our solar calculator to get an accurate cost and savings estimate tailored to your home and energy usage.
Then you can be on your way to powering your home with clean energy – all while cutting your electric bill.
Find out how much will a solar system cost you after federal, state, and local incentives in 2021
Utility Bill Rate Design
Good electricity rate design allows you to save money when you save energy. This might sound intuitive but not all provinces are same. Superior designs have low fixed monthly fees and tiered electricity rates. Inferior designs have high fixed fees and flat electricity rates.
Alberta score near last in this respect having flat rates and high fixed monthly fees averaging $40.
For example, reducing your electricity bill from 1,500 to 750 kWh per month will save you 54% on your electricity bill in British Columbia, 48% in , but only 41% in Alberta!
Note that fixed monthly fees dont disappear even if you switch to solar youll pay them as long as you remain connected to the grid. But this isnt a bad thing $40/mo is a small price to pay for using the grid as your back-up energy source!
The only way to completely remove your fixed costs is to go off the grid, something most homeowners in Alberta dont do because of high battery costs.
Disconnecting from the grid also means that you wont be able to participate in the your utilitys net billing program.
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Calculate How Many Solar Panels You Need For Your Home
The average American home needs between 19 and 23 solar panels based on the average electricity usage of 877 kilowatt-hours per month. Installing that many solar panels would cost between $13,000 and $16,200 after the federal solar tax credit.
However, chances are your energy usage doesnt line up exactly with the U.S. average, plus the number of solar panels you need depends on several other factors, like the location of your home and what kind of solar panels you choose.
So how exactly do you figure out how many solar panels you need? Weve got you covered.
Calculate how many solar panels you will need to power your specific home
How Efficient Solar Power Is In Your Area
First off, the climate, terrain, and surrounding factors will greatly determine how efficient youll find solar panels to be.
Obviously, the sunnier your climate, the more effective solar panels will be.
Long winters think the far north of Alaska produces much lower efficiency rates in solar power, as well. For these locations, off-the-grid power should definitely be a combination of solar and wind power for full coverage.
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What Should I Know Before Going Solar
As we can see, solar energy can result in years of long-term savings. But residential solar power generation is not without its caveats. It is a serious investment that could take years of even decades to pay for itself. Its important to keep your expectations realistic and do as much research as possible to ensure that youre making the right decision.
Common considerations include
How Much Sun Does Your Home Get
Your home needs steady sun exposure to make the most of a solar system. Florida is known for its beautiful sunny weather, but its still important to look at your specific situation. Your homes orientation, roof structure, and shaded hours all impact your panel installation. Homes that receive long sun exposure, without much shade, can generate the most power.
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I’ve Got Solar Thermal Panels Can I Get The Smart Export Guarantee
Unfortunately, no. The smart export guarantee is only available on what’s known as solar PV, which catch the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that can be used to power household goods and lighting.
Solar thermal, which allows you to heat water and can cut down heating bills, isn’t covered. However, help is available for these types of solar panels under what’s known as the domestic renewable heat incentive scheme.
This guide shines a light on solar PV, as that’s where you can earn money by selling the electricity you don’t use back to suppliers, as well as save on your electricity bills. According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, well over half a million British homes have panels installed.
Popular Home Storage Batteries
There are now several batteries on the market, from the relatively well-known Telsa Powerwall to lesser-known products such as the Sonnen Eco.
Special note about about the Sunrun Brightbox: its a rebranded version of the LG RESU. Im not sure if the software is the same, but the LG software gets a pretty low rating, so this is something to keep in mind if youre thinking of getting the Brightbox.
Heres a quick rundown of the four most popular batteries in the US market:
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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
How Long Do You Plan To Stay In Your Home
A home solar array will deliver benefits for years to come. Youll enjoy reduced energy bills thanks to generating your own power. These monthly savings will add up over time, eventually paying for the installation costs.
But what if you plan to sell your home in the next few years? Luckily, you dont need to worry about staying in your current house for a set amount of time to recoup your installation fees. Prospective homebuyers are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars more for homes with solar panels.
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So Are Solar Panels Worth It
With FIT payments having stopped for new installations, the money-making potential has dropped drastically. Unless the panels drop in price, you could be looking at 25 years + before you see a return. So unless youre in your home for the long run, its just not worth it. And most reports suggest that solar panels dont increase the value of your home and in fact, could decrease it.
Edited to add that since writing this article, we invested in a hot tub. I say we, it was actually my wife. However, solar panels have certainly reduced running costs.
The Home Improvement Project That Pays You Back
When you install solar panels on your home, those panels will start capturing energy from the sun to create electricity. These little power producers will offset your usual electric usage, reducing your monthly electricity bill as soon as the system is on. Over time, the money you save on your electric bill provides a return on the money invested to install solar panels on your home. How many other home improvement projects will actually pay for themselves? Not many. That granite counter top, though very beautiful, sure wont!
On average, homes on the front range in Colorado will see a payback period of 10-14 years. For some people its sooner, others later it depends on your energy usage and utility rates. One interesting development is the increasing popularity of electric cars. People who go solar now and then add an electric car to their household later are likely to see a faster payback they are now running their car off their solar with low-cost electricity instead of paying for gasoline.
Youll see more financial gain in a shorter amount of time if your household has high electricity use and higher utility rates. If you consume less electricity, you will still see long-term savings and a return on your investment over time. Either way, a solar system is also a hedge against the inevitable increases in electricity rates over time, as the panels on your home will insulate you from these rising costs.
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Which Appliances Do You Want To Run On Battery Power In A Blackout
If you dont have high-draw appliances such as air conditioning or an electric stove, the simplest configuration is to have the battery power your entire house. However, big appliances can rapidly drain even a large battery. For example, a high-end âprosumerâ electric oven can draw in the neighborhood of 10,000 watts. Cooking a turkey with one of these would deplete a Powerwall in short order.
One solution is to buy more batteries, but the more economical approach is to connect only the most critical appliances to your battery. To do this, your contractor can install a subpanel called a critical load panel. The electric circuits in your house that you decide are most important to keep powered in a blackout – such as the one that your refrigerator is on – will be moved to that panel.
You donât need a critical load panel, but most installations will probably need one. Discuss your power requirements and budget with your solar installer to decide if its right for you.
In a blackout, your solar battery will send power to the critical load panel. Circuits that are not on that panel will remain dark.
How Do I Sell Back Solar Energy
A Feed-In-Tariff is a plan introduced by the UK government in 2010, aimed at paying people back for the energy they produce but dont use. This way, homeowners are incentivised to opt for renewable energy sources, which is both better for the environment and for their wallet.
Participating licensed energy suppliers partake in the scheme in order to encourage solar energy amongst their customers. How does it work? FIT payments are made through smart meters. FIT payments are made quarterly based on the meter readings you provide to your energy supplier.
This system was replaced by Smart Export Guarantees in 2019.
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How Much Do Residential Solar Panels Cost For An Average 2000 Square Foot Home
Solar panel cost is often measured as the cost per watt of solar. This makes it easy to compare the relative value of solar systems of different sizes in terms of the watts of power they can produce.
Our data shows that the average cost of a residential solar system in 2021 is $2.85 per watt, before the federal tax credit. At that price, a typical 7 kilowatt home solar system would cost $19,950. The cost would fall to $14,763 after claiming the 26% solar tax credit.
The cost of residential solar panels has dropped dramatically over time. In fact, it has fallen over 70% in the past decade.
In 2019 alone, the cost of solar dropped by 5%.