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 Well Do Solar Panels Work
Of course, the big question were addressing is here is how well do these things work, and if theyre worth your investment. To help us better understand that, lets look at a few factors.
Specifically, were asking, Is home solar worth it? While the principles may apply to other situations RVs, hunting lodges, etc. were focusing on home use of solar power.
With this in mind, lets dive in.
Things To Consider With Solar Panels
Calculate your sun exposure, costs and savings. In some parts of the country, solar panels will save more money and add more value to your home than in others. For example, someone in Seattle might not get the same value from solar panels as someone in Phoenix because of the disparity in sunshine.
To estimate your savings, you first need to know how many kilowatt-hours you use and how much youre paying for them. The average household pays about 13 cents per kilowatt-hour for 877 kilowatt-hours each month, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Then, figure out what size system youll need. You can use the Solar-Estimate calculator to see how many panels your home would need and how much energy they would generate.
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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.
You Will Need A New Roof Soon Or You Have A Metal Roof
If you are planning to get a new roof soon, then its perfect time to consider installing solar panels. In fact, it probably makes sense to coordinate the re-roofing work with the installation of solar arrays.
While most homes are covered with fiberglass composition shingles aka asphalt, there are some roofs that are covered with metal and/or a single-ply membrane like EPDM rubber, PVC or TPO membranes that are commonly installed on low-sloped roofs.
If you happen to have standing seam panels or a recently installed PVC or TPO membrane roof, then installing solar arrays on your homes rooftop should be a rather simple and straightforward affair.
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Is Solar Energy A Good Investment
The solar energy market is accelerating. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the industry will add 10 gigawatts of new solar capacity annually through 2022. That should increase to an average of 18 to 20 GW per year in the 2023-2030 timeframe. Powering that surge is a dramatic decline in costs. Amazingly, solar is on track to be the lowest-cost source of bulk power in the coming years.
Initial Cost Of Residential Solar Panels
The average cost of a solar power system in Canada is between $15,000 and $30,000. That cost is dependent on several factors, and can be furtherbroken down per province. That price range applies for a 7,500kW system , but changes depending on the size of your custom build.
Additionally, output on the panels is guaranteed for 25 years, so you may need to replace your shingles before installing new panels.
It is a significant investment to be sure, but the up front cost allows you to take comfort in the energy and environmental savings for years to come outlined above.
Balance the initial cost of residential solar panels with the long terms savings.
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How Long Do Solar Panels Take To Pay For Themselves
How long it will take for your solar panels to pay for themselves, and whether you can make money from them, will depend on:
- the cost of your solar PV system
- how much of the electricity generated you are able to use
- whether, and how much, you are paid for electricity exported.
A more expensive system upfront will need to be balanced with how much money you can save by using the renewable electricity it generates , plus how much you can earn from selling any excess.
Which? members can log in to see examples of how long it can take for solar panels to pay for themselves. if you’re not a member, join Which? to see our calculations.
|Out until 6pm|
|Electricity bill savings|
|Smart Export Guarantee payment|
|Years to break even|
You can cut the time your solar system takes to pay for itself by several years by finding the best SEG tariff rate, so you get paid more for electricity you produce. Find out how much you could earn with the Smart Export Guarantee.
If you’ve had your solar panels for a while and get Feed-In Tariff payments, you also get paid for how much electricity you generate. See tips to make the most of your Feed-In Tariff.
How Does Solar Power Work
The first thing to understand is how solar power works and whats involved in a solar panel setup.
Solar panels are made up of a series of . These cells work as a single unit, drawing in sunlight which may be either received via direct sunlight or through daylight and converting the solar energy into electrical energy.
This electrical energy is then translated into useable electrical energy that can be used to power any number of electronics, appliances, or even a power system running multiple units at once.
The solar panel itself is made up of a frame usually metal that has these solar cells placed within the frame. The cells are typically made of glass and silicon.
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Would It Be More Cost
Similar to the question about the payoffs in 5 or more years, the question of should I install solar panels now or wait five years is also important to figure into your overall financial picture.
The cost of installing solar power systems has been steadily falling as the technology for creating the panels and installing them has dropped over the past several decades.
Since the 1970s, when solar power became a thing available to the general public, the costs have dropped significantly.
At that time, 1-watt of solar cell power cost about $100 from just a bit before to only $20 per watt. Now, the cost is closer to $1-$2 per watt.
Even since 2010, the cost for a solar energy system has dropped by about 70%. Thats pretty massive for only nine years time.
Of course, that ever-dropping cost gives us the dilemma: are solar panels worth it in California or any other state with significant sunshine levels or places like Seattle and Juneau with low levels of sunshine on average?
Energy Storage For Power Access During Blackouts
At $700-$1,000 per kWh installed, solar energy storage is not cheap, but a solar battery can help increase the overall value of your home solar system , delivering uninterrupted power even during blackouts or at night.
If uninterrupted power during blackouts is a key consideration think power outage blackouts in California and Texas, then a PV solar and a battery combo may be worth the higher upfront cost of investment.
Pro Tip: Another option is to allocate a smaller investment to an emergency backup solar power generator, which can be purchased for $250-$2,000, depending on the model.
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Factors That Can Impact Efficiency
Solar power efficiency depends on a variety of factors including proper installation and assessment of the structure. Hiring a professional to inspect the structural design and location of your building is essential in determining what type of installation will best meet your requirements and provide you with the long-term economic benefits of solar power. Empire Renewable Energy offers a range of services for commercial and residential applications:
- Most solar panels are designed with a layer of protective glass over the cells, which sunlight must pass through. The amount of energy harnessed is dependent on the angle in which light is passing through, as well as the reduction of reflectivity of the glass.
- Proper installation of a solar panel is significant to capturing the maximum amount of sunlight. The angle of the panel and the amount of light hitting it are both important factors that will help you maximize efficiency.
- For roof mounted panels, the slope of the roof will impact how much sunlight is hitting the panels throughout the day. Large commercial installations can compensate for the movement of the Earth by installing solar tracking systems, but due to the expense, they are not typically installed for residential use.
Myth #: Solar Capacity Growth Does Not Tell The Full Story
More and more people are writingabout how the solar industry is misleading the public by citing capacity growth trends.
The basis for this is somewhat of a head-scratcher sincegrowth in PV capacity is a very compelling sign of a healthy industryaccelerating to meet the growing demand of the public. But I will humour thenaysayers and outline ‘the whole story’ of solar here.
Solar PV capacity is increasing at ~95%/yr in Alberta . Globally, PV capacity is increasing at around60%/yr. These numbers do not mean thatsolar is already dominating the market, but that it is slowly catching on. The graph below shows the Alberta solar power capacity growth trend of the last decade.
Solar energy represents a tiny, tiny fraction of global energy and even smaller fraction in Canada. Solar energy inAlberta represents about 0.1% of the energy generation profile, with about 90%coming from fossil fuels. The imagebelow shows the breakdown, with solar not even visible.
In Ontario, which has 99%+ of the solar power in Canada,about 1% of theprovinces energy comes from solar. Currently, solar energy plays a minuscule role in the energy generation inCanada and the world.
But this data does not mean that solar power doesnt work,or isnt viable. It simply means thatmore time is required for the solar market in Canada to develop. Provinces such as Albertawould benefit from more solar since the emissions from energy generationare the highest in the country due to coal being the dominant fuel source.
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Is It Worth Getting A Battery In 2021
The payback period for solar batteries typically sits around the 10-year mark, about the same time as the life of the battery. For many, buying a solar battery is not so much an economical decision as it is a lifestyle choice. For many, the key reason to invest in battery storage is power back-up functionality.
At this point in time, there are no indicators to suggest that battery prices are going to decrease significantly in the next 2 3 years. Therefore, it is not worth waiting for battery prices to come down before investing in solar panels.
Reasons Solar Is A Good Long
Are you interested in solar energy but unsure whether solar panels are worth the cost? The reality is that various factors determine how much energy your solar panels generate and how quickly you get a return on your investment. For instance, where you live is a significant factor since solar tends to work much more efficiently in some parts of the U.S. than in others. If your solar panels are properly installed and solar is deemed practical in your area, you can count on not only helping the environment but also gaining a return on your investment in the long run.
In most parts of the U.S., there are excellent tax breaks, rebates, credits, and other incentives to accommodate homeowners and business owners interested in using solar power. Look into the solar incentives where you live. In Wisconsin, energy tax credits, solar rebates, and incentives are available. To name one, both homes and businesses get a tax exemption for solar equipment. The overall value added to the property as a result of installing a solar system is completely exempt of property taxes.
2 Cut Utility Costs
Solar panels offer an excellent long-term benefit of providing savings on the cost of utilities. Monthly electricity charges can be reduced by up to 20%. In the short term, it may not seem to be cost-effective, but if you take into consideration that solar panels typically last for 25 years or more, you can see that the long-term benefits are undeniable.
3 Rising Energy Costs
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Do You Really Save Money With Solar Panels
For most people, solar panels are a significant investment, but after the initial cost, all they do is save you money and make you money.
Theyre also cheaper today than they ever have been before, because of a 70% drop in price since 2010. This, combined with their enormous environmental benefits, makes it worth it to get solar panels.
To find out how much it would cost you to install solar panels, fill in our quick form and youll receive free solar panel quotes from local, professional installers.
Aesthetics Of Residential Solar Panels
You may be reluctant to have seemingly unattractive solar panels installed on top of your home or free standing in your yard. Most residential homeowners in Ontario put solar panels on the roof, while rural homeowners tend to put them on the roof of their house, shop, or in their yard.
For custom home builds, you can tailor the positioning of the solar panels in order to optimize the aesthetics. For example, a south facing roof is best, east and west facing are good, north facing is just OK.
It’s a relatively new technology and some arent used to the futuristic look, so you might want to forego the benefits for a more traditional home.
Having said that, the improvement of solar aesthetics is becoming a top priority for residential solar panel manufacturers. As a result, those homeowners on the fence due to aesthetics will be more willing to make the leap.
Please note: Recent changes in regulations state that if the property owner pays residential rates for hydro, then no ground-mounted solar panels will be allowed all panels must mount to the roof or wall of a building. Furthermore, this building may not exist for the primary purpose of acting as a support for the panels. A local building official will be required to certify that the building has another primary purpose.
All of the above should be factored in your decision. Consider whether up-front costs and aesthetics outweighs saving money and the environment. In our estimation, its worth it!
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How To Save Money Going Solar
One of the biggest advantages of installing residential solar panels is a 30% federal tax credit on the total cost of a system. That means homeowners but not renters can subtract the credit from the federal income taxes they owe, in effect reducing the price of their solar purchase by nearly one-third.
Congress authorized the credit through 2019, but it will decline to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021 and then disappear. The credit could save the average homeowner $5,000 or more , according to EnergySage, a solar marketplace with a calculator to help estimate savings.
It may seem obvious, but access to sunlight is important. If your roof is deeply shaded by trees, mountains or buildings, solar panels wont work well. Unsurprisingly, California leads the nation in residential solar capacity, but some of the others in the top 10 may surprise you.
Its important to have a basic idea of how the panels work as well. Also known as photovoltaic panels, they are mounted on the roof of a house and use sunlight to produce electricity. An important part of any solar system is a box called an inverter, which often is installed in the garage and converts electricity produced by the panels into the kind thats required to operate home appliances .
Solar Energys Future Has Never Looked Brighter
Solar energy was already on track for significant growth before the election of Joe Biden as the countrys 46th president. However, with his pledge to put the U.S. on a path toward an emissions-free future, the new administration could supercharge the sectors expansion. He set a bold goal for the U.S. to generate 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. The president is proposing extending tax credits and making direct investments to accelerate the shift to clean energy.
If Bidens plan passes Congress, the solar industry could grow even faster in the coming years than current projections suggest. Thats why investors should consider investing in solar energy stocks. First Solar, Brookfield Renewable, and SolarEdge Technologies stand out as being among the best options, thanks to strong financial profiles and visible growth outlooks.
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