Will Installing Solar Panels Really Save Me Money
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 and whether you are paid for any surplus electricity.
Generally, solar panels installed on the roofs of homes and buildings wont give much financial payback for the first 20 years or so, according to Mike Childs, head of science at Friends of the Earth. But there are huge environmental benefits, depending on where you live and how much electricity you use he says. The average person contributes 12.7 tonnes of carbon per year, but by installing solar panels around 1 tonne of carbon can be saved annually, so the potential is significant.
How Much Do You Pay For Electricity
Your current electricity bill is the largest factor in determining how much youll save by installing solar. You pay your utility company for every kilowatt-hour of electricity you use, and your rate varies significantly depending on where you live. In some parts of the country, like the South, you can pay under 12 cents per kWh in others, like the Northeast, you could pay 20 cents or more. When you go solar, you reduce or eliminate your monthly electricity bill, so the amount you pay for electricity substantially impacts your savings.
If youre not sure where to start in determining your solar savings, try using our Solar Calculator. Our calculator incorporates local electricity rate data to provide you with a customized estimate of what you can expect to save, and just how quickly your investment will pay off.
Should I Buy Solar Shingles
Over the past couple of years, solar shingles, like those offered by Tesla, have captured many US homeowners attention. This is undoubtedly an attractive alternative to consider. Solar shingles promise the best of both worlds. Since the solar shingles also act as a roofing material, you dont have to spend money on two separate projects. But you can still enjoy the benefits of both.
Due to being a relatively new invention, solar shingles are not always the best option for every homeowners needs. The complex production technology behind them makes these shingles very expensive compared to other roofing materials.
Also, solar shingles are much less efficient than classic solar panels. You would need a much larger roof area to generate the same amount of solar power. In the current market, solar shingles upfront installation cost is still significantly higher than just installing a roof with traditional solar panels.
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Considering Getting Solar Panels Here Are The Right Questions To Ask
Solar panels are no longer just for hippies. If youre just as interested in saving money as you are in saving the planet, solar panels can help you do that. Their price has come down, their effectiveness has gone up, and Congress extended a 30 percent federal tax credit for installing them until the end of 2019. All of this means solar panels can now pay for themselves in as little as five years, depending where you live. But are they right for your particular home? Thats a question that raises more questions. Ask yourself these things before making a decision.
Solar Shingles: Make Your Roof Solar
The total installed capacity of solar power in the U.S. reached 71.3 GW in the third quarter of 2019, with new capacity of 2.6 GW added during this quarter. It was also the best quarter in history for residential solar, which has experienced remarkable growth throughout the decade.
From 2010 to 2020, the number of residential solar panel installations in the U.S. has exceeded two million. With increasing innovation in technologies such as solar shingles, residential solar is expected to set new growth records in the 2020s.
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How Do You Sell Srecs
There are a few different ways you can sell SRECs, but the most common way is to partner with an SREC aggregator. Typically, your solar installer will register your solar panel system with an SREC tracking system so that you can start generating SRECs.
You can try to sell SRECs on your own to utilities, however, utilities rarely purchase SRECs from individual homeowners, as they want to purchase from the least amount of sellers as possible.
This is where SREC aggregators come in. When you enter into an agreement with an SREC aggregator or broker, such as SRECTrade.com, they will sell your SRECs directly to utilities in exchange for a small fee.
In some cases, your solar installer may offer to buy all of the SRECs your system is predicted to produce over its lifetime, right when you install the system. This can greatly decrease the upfront costs of installing a solar energy system. The catch is, you will have to sell the SRECs for their current price, meaning you cant take advantage of any SREC market price increases in the future.
The exact options available for selling SRECs can vary from state to state. Ask your local solar company about the best way to sell SRECs in your area.
You Can Still Switch Energy Supplier
If you have solar panels, don’t think this locks you in to your energy provider so you can’t get cheaper bills you can join the MSE Cheap Energy Club to stick on the cheapest deals .
Your energy provider doesn’t need to be the same as the supplier that pays you for your solar-generated energy, so you’re free to switch.
Also, with a modern SMETS 2 smart meter, two firms can use the same device, so you don’t need to get a new smart meter.
It’s just as simple to switch your supplier for the export tariff, and as rates vary wildly between firms, make sure you’re always getting the best rate possible see what each firm pays.
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Your Electricity Costs Are Already Low
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 96% of homeowners have installed solar, or are considering doing so, to save money on utility bills.
This makes perfect sense. Many American households spend hundreds of dollars every month on their power bills and solar panels are often the most effective way to slash that amount. Financial modeling by SolarReviews shows 25-year bill savings in the amount of $62,803 for solar panels installed in San Francisco in 2021, for instance.
However, some homeowners dont spend very much on electricity. This could be because of one or more of the following factors:
- You have a small home
- You have a small household size
- Your home and appliances are energy efficient
- You enjoy low electric rates from your local utility
If thats you, and you pay $50 or less a month for electricity, then installing solar probably isnt worth the time and effort.
Find out how much a solar system would cost for your specific home
Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels
If you were trying to decide between installing solar shingles or installing traditional solar panels on your roof, here are a few advantages and disadvantages to consider beforehand. The benefits of solar shingles include being more aesthetically pleasing than bulky solar panels, being more cost effective , and are able to be removed and reinstalled if you were to move homes.
The disadvantages of solar shingles is they can sometimes be less energy efficient than regular solar panels, you will need a particular roof slope with high sunlight exposure, lifespan is less, many solar installers do not offer solar shingles yet as they are still growing in popularity. Traditional solar panels can also produce more energy per watt in comparison to the cost of solar installation.
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How Can I Find The Best Deal On Solar Panels
If you’re considering installing solar panels at home, it’s worth finding out if you could be eligible for funding or financial help. Elliot Clark, project officer in the home energy team at the Centre for Sustainable Energy, said: Start with your local council as authorities may be awarded funding to install solar panels on suitable houses, although it is likely to be reserved for homes with a lower household income or those in receipt of mean tested or disability benefits.
The Microgeneration Certificate Scheme provides a list of accredited installers. Clark adds: We recommend going onto the governments Trustmark website where you can search by area and solar panel installer. Theres also the Renewable Energy Consumer Code which installers can sign up to.
Should I Install Solar Or Get My Roof Fixed First
Weve all heard the story of the chicken and egg and the question of course is always which came first?
Well, the same can be applied to a roof and solar. Should you do the roof first? Should you do the solar first? Of course, the answer depends.
Certainly solar can be installed on existing roofing materials. However, there must be assurance that the roof is in really excellent condition. For example, if you have a 20 year warranted shingle that is 18 years old, it would not be appropriate to install a 30-year life expectant solar system on that deteriorated, near the end of its life, roof. Now, if you have a 30-year shingle, for example, which was installed six years ago, and has had no apparent issues of any kind, then itwould be perfectly appropriate to install a solar system on that surface.
So, you may be asking how do I know for sure? Well, the answer is really pretty simple, contact a fully licensed and insured Roofing and Solar contractor. Raneri and long is that company ! Because we have vast experience in both situations you can be pretty well assured that youll come up with the correct answer.
Raneri and long Roofing & Solar has been in business since 1986, starting primarily as a roofing contractor. In 2008 Raneri and long installed its first solar system.
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Is Your Roof In Good Condition
During a roof inspection, a roofing contractor will check your roof and attic for potential signs of damage, such as leaks, as well as for proper ventilation. In addition to damaged shingles, other roofing components may also need to be replaced. Its always best to repair or replace these items before solar installation begins.
Replacing Your Roof Its A Great Time To Add Solar
If youre thinking about replacing your rooflike millions of other homeowners every year in Americayou may also be considering adding solar at the same time. In fact, an average of 2.3 million single-family, detached homes per year will require a roof replacement over the next decade. If just a fraction of those homes go solar at the same time, it would represent significant progress toward U.S. decarbonization goals. Heres what you need to know.
First, costs: the average cost to replace a roof is about $10,000, depending on the size of the roof and other factors, and it will last anywhere from 20 to 50 years depending on the materials used. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory , the average cost of installing a residential rooftop solar array is $19,000. Combined with a roof replacement, the total bill can amount to nearly $30,000 however, NREL researchers estimate that when done together, the average cost could be $25,000, potentially saving homeowners an average of $4,000. You may also be eligible for the federal tax credit for solar photovoltaics, which could increase your savings by providing a tax credit for 26% of the cost of solar arrays installed in 2021 or 2022. You can find other potential savings at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Thinking about taking the plunge into solar energy? Check out our Homeowners Guide to Going Solar to learn about how to get the process started.
David Robinson: What Tesla’s Mistakes On Cost Of Solar Roof Installation Mean For Buffalo
The Tesla RiverBend Gigafactory, left, and PVS Chemicals manufacturing plant, right, flank the Buffalo River as it winds beneath South Park Avenue, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.
Deputy Business Editor
I’m the News’ deputy business editor. I grew up in New Hampshire, went to Syracuse University and started working at The News in 1985.
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Just before Halloween in 2016, Elon Musk stood on the “Desperate Housewives” set in Hollywood and unveiled the solar roof that he believed would revolutionize the solar industry.
Three years later, he predicted that 2019 would be the year of the solar roof the central product Tesla planned to make at the South Buffalo factory that state taxpayers built for the company at a cost of nearly $1 billion.
Today, Teslas Solarglass roof still isnt ready for the mass market, and this week Musk admitted that the company made significant mistakes that underestimated how difficult the new roofing product would be to install on some roofs.
The bottom line: While Musk said demand still is high for the solar roof and production at the Buffalo factory is going just fine, the rollout of the solar roof remains limited because its so complicated to install.
The problem is not in the Buffalo factory. Its in getting the solar tiles installed on the roof.
Estimate Residential Solar Panel Cost
The brunt of the expense with solar panels is in installation and the purchase of the actual panels.
» MORE: Compare solar loans and apply
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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Why Is Your Roof The Key To A Successful Solar Panel Installation
When you start looking into solar panels for your house, youll learn about all of the many brands that are available, as well as other critical photovoltaic system components like the inverter and the racking that keeps the panels in place. The roof of your home is rarely discussed. Thats a pity, because your solar panel system relies heavily on your roof.
While some homeowners opt to place their solar panels on the ground or even on carports for easier cleaning and maintenance, most solar panels are installed on the roof. That implies the roof must be able to support the solar panels.
Your roof is more than simply a collection of bricks or tiles affixed to the top of your house. A roof is essentially a multi-layered structure that works together to insulate and protect your home.
A typical roof is made up of the following components:
- Water and ice barrier
- Tiles or shingles
If any of these layers is broken, it can compromise the overall structure of your roof, making solar panels an unwise investment.
How Much Does A Solar Panel Cost
Prices have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from $11,000 to $15,000.
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The Final Verdict: Should You Buy A Tesla Solar Roof
The Tesla Solar Roof is a gorgeous product with a prohibitively high cost to install. Right now, its largely a premium solution for early adopters who dont mind paying more to access cutting-edge technology in high demand. Anyone who invests in the Solar Roof should also be willing to contend with more frequent maintenance than a traditional solar array might require.
Lastly, you should be willing to wait for production to catch up to demand. Just know that youll be running on Teslas schedule, and theyre a lot better about generating hype around new products than meeting production deadlines.
Not All Homes Are Suitable For Solar Panels
To maximise what your panels can make, it’s best to make sure your home is right for them:
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