Storing Solar Energy Can Also Be Expensive
Something you need to know about solar energy is that it has to be used right away. If it is not used, the energy can be stored in large batteries. You can charge these batteries during the day so that you can use the energy at night.
This is a viable option for those who want to use solar energy the entire day. However, it comes with its own disadvantage.
Storing energy is quite expensive, and not everyone can afford it. In the case where the user cannot spend so much money on energy storage, he can use solar energy during the day, and during the night, take energy from the grid. That is only possible if the system is connected to the grid.
Normally, for people, their energy demand is higher during the day. That means you can meet the needs of your solar energy. Consider using these batteries for solar to dispatch your energy at night or any time of the day.
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Are There Tax Rebates To Owning Solar Panels
Another bonus is that some states offer incentives to encourage you to install solar panels. The particulars will depend on your location, but you can get tax rebates and breaks to reward you for your sustainability.
Plus, the federal government provides tax credits to residents as well, so make sure you check what youre entitled to and take advantage. Again, though, if you’re leasing solar panels, you won’t be able to claim this rebate.
Solar Panels Help Keep Your Finances In Order
Life tends to throw a curveball when you least expect it an expensive car repair, your spouse losing his or her job, and so on. The majority of people who install solar panels on their homes are concerned with saving money on their monthly electricity bills. But what most people dont know is that solar energy prices are actually extremely predictable. Unlike traditional energy formed from burning fossil fuels, solar energy prices are very stable. Homeowners are able to predict how much energy their solar panels will create, how much their solar loans are, and if theyll need to purchase any additional electricity. This allows homeowners to plan their finances smarter and are prepared for any difficult situations Life decides to throw their way.
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You Gain Some Energy Independence
Solar panels use photovoltaic cells to harness radiation from the sun. Once converted from a direct to an alternating current, the panels allow your home to use the energy. In turn, you gain an energy source independent from the utility company, saving you money relative to using traditional energy sources for all of your power needs.
You can earn more on your investment through the sale of offsets. Some states allow you to sell your excess energy back to utility companies, which must purchase some of their power from renewable energy sources.
Moreover, if your utility experiences a power outage, you can use the energy stored in solar panels to keep your home powered through the storm. Overall, solar panels give you a level of power stability and financial flexibility not found in traditional sources.
Cash In On Government Incentives For Solar Panels
Think of government solar incentives like the pizza party your middle school class would win when you brought in the most cans for a food drive. Its that little extra push that drives you to accomplish a goal. And while pizza parties are no light matter, you might find yourself enjoying digging into government savings a little bit more. Check out energy.gov to learn more about current government incentives.
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Should I Go Solar As Long As Its Your Highest Return Investment
As much as solar companies would have you believe, theres no clear-cut answer. Everyones goals and situations are different. While for some its a no-brainer, for others it should be low-down on the priority list.
Your average Californian with more sun than he can shake an ice-cream at? For sure. Your average Greenlander? Maybe not. And if you should go solar, which is the best option? Purchasing, loan, PPA or lease? Clearly, there are lots of variables to juggle. That said, there are a few foundational points wed do well to consider:
Always Put Your Money Where You Get The Highest Return, All Risks Being Equal.
Barring ethical considerations and risk, you always want the biggest return on your investment. So instead of asking Should I get solar panels? ask, Are solar panels going to give me the highest rate of return for my cash?
For example, if you can pay off an extortionate 15% interest credit card debt or go solar with an 8% annual ROI, youre going to get more from your cash by paying off the debt. Likewise, if your home is energy inefficient, spending $10k or so in halving your energy bill will almost always give you a better return than solar, and results in needing fewer panels down the line.
In all but the most extreme cases, purchasing solar panels will save you money. But before taking the plunge, ask yourself if there are things to invest in first. For most people, going solar is not a matter of if, but when.
Know How Solar Incentives And Tax Credits Work
It is possible to save a lot of money when going solar by taking advantage of the solar tax credit and other incentives.
Its important to know how much these are worth, and what the eligibility criteria is for each.
When you use the solar savings calculator, it will show you what incentives and rebates are available to you and how to go about claiming then. There is an almost overwhelming number of incentive programs out there, but the calculator uses a filter to only show the incentives that apply to your address and for customers of your specific utility.
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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.
Evaluate Your Sunlight Exposure
More sun means more energy produced and a greater potential to save with solar. Certain states, like Arizona and California, average more sunlight hours per day.
Your home’s orientation toward the sun, the amount of shade and its roof type also affect a solar system’s output. You can estimate the efficiency of panels in your area by using the SolarReviews calculator. Enter your address and the average cost of your monthly energy bill.
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What If The Power Goes Out
You might think that owning a solar system would ensure 24/7 access to electric power even when the grid goes down from hurricanes or other disasters or accidents. But thats not the case. In those events, you have to rely on a generator or buy a battery backup for your solar system.
And while the cost of solar panels has dropped more than 70% since 2010, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, batteries can cost as much as $10,000 to $15,000, including installation, according to Solar United Neighbors. Adding battery storage to a solar array can increase costs so much that the savings seen on utility bills are negligible, the groups website warns.
For those who want the peace of mind and can afford the cost, batteries may be a viable option. They work like this: When the sun is shining, your panels produce electricity that you direct to the battery, where its stored until you need it. Unlike a generator, no fuel is needed.
Were going to keep trying to reduce that carbon footprint and power ourselves, she says.
Susan Jacobson is a former editor at The Penny Hoarder.
Lower Taxes & Access To Other Incentives
Tax breaks, rebates and other various incentives vary significantly from state to state, but heres what the average state might offer its taxpayers.
- State Tax Credit: Though only available in about 10 states at the moment, some offer additional tax credits against the price of installing a system.
- Property Tax Exemption for Solar: Without an exemption, the additional value of a solar energy system would add to the assessed value of your property, increasing your property taxes.
- Sales Tax Exemption for Solar: In many states, purchasing a solar energy system is exempt from the state sales tax. This can prevent an additional few thousand dollars worth of taxes in states where sales tax is high.
No matter what state you live in, youre eligible to receive the federal solar tax credit of 26%. You may also hear this referred to as the federal investment tax credit .
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What Is An Srec
Solar Renewable Energy Credits, also called SRECs, are certificates that represent all of the positive environmental impacts of generating clean solar energy. One SREC is generated for every megawatt-hour , or 1,000 kilowatt hours of solar electricity a solar panel system generates.
Utilities purchase SRECs in order to meet state regulations called Renewable Portfolio Standards . An RPS requires utilities to generate a portion of their electricity from a renewable energy resource.
Some RPS requirements have a solar carve-out, which dictates the amount of energy that an electricity supplier must procure from solar. Solar carve-outs help drive SREC markets because they require utilities to purchase solar-specific renewable energy credits.
SRECs are sold independently from electricity. So as a homeowner with solar, you not only earn money from selling SRECs but you also receive net metering credits for your excess solar energy production, which essentially means youre getting paid twice for your solar generation!
Although 38 states and Washington D.C. have an RPS in place, only 7 states have SREC markets:
- New Jersey*
*States that still have an SREC market, but are no longer accepting new applications for the program.
How much can you earn with SRECs in your state?
Solar Energy Systems For Homes Are Durable With Minimum Maintenance
Solar power technology is a good investment as it is extremely durable and will not break-down easily even when exposed to elements for two decades. Solar panels have no moving parts, which makes them less prone to mechanical damage, and they are optimized to withstand tough weather conditions as well as surges in energy without significant damage.
This means that after the initial investment of purchasing and installing solar photovoltaic panels or other solar energy systems, you will be able to start seeing returns on your investment in the form of reduced energy bills without needing to spend money on repairs.
Solar technology is therefore relatively hassle-free and even if something were to happen, most solar panels come with a twenty-years warranty. All you need to do to make sure you receive the best energy output is basic maintenance from time to time.
Some installers may offer a maintenance service that includes checking all parts of the system as well as cleaning the panels regularly for you. If you lease solar panels, this service is done automatically.
But even if you do the maintenance yourself, its not difficult work. In most cases, it just means removing dirt or dust from solar panel surface to enable maximum light absorption. It is not a difficult task that would take much of your time.
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Solar Energy Information Before You Install
Thinking about solar? Heres what you need to know before you buy.
1. You can live in cloudy Britain and still use solar panels
How solar panels work in the UK is exactly the same as anywhere else. You dont have to live in an area with wall-to-wall sunshine to generate solar energy. Solar panels work even through clouds. However, the more sunshine you get, the more energy youll generate.
2. You need a south-facing roof
Ideally, you need a south-facing or south-west facing roof. With the latest technology most homes could benefit from solar PV. Only north facing roofs are not suitable.
3. You shouldnt need planning permission
Good news most homes dont need planning permission to install solar panels. However, if you have a flat roof or live in a conservation area you might want to check with your local council before going ahead.
4. You can still switch suppliers
Of course, you are still free to switch suppliers if you have solar panels. No matter which energy supplier youre with when you get them fitted, you can still change.
5. You need a certificate
Youll need an Energy Performance Certificate and a rating of D or above to qualify for a FiT. An EPC rates a building on its energy efficiency, A is the most efficient and G is the least efficient. Gov.uk can point you in the right direction of an accredited energy assessor.
If youre not ready for this step, but are trying to be more environmentally-friendly, then take a look at our low-carbon tariff.
Pending Policies & Changes To Incentives
The solar industry is young and still developing, so current state incentives and policies are subject to change. In some cases, it may benefit you to wait for more progressive policy, but in others it may hurt. In response to the success of solar and other renewables, some powerful energy companies are lobbying against net metering policies, putting some in jeopardy. For this reason, we dont recommend waiting and seeing and its best to do some research on the current state of solar incentives in your area.
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You Should Definitely Purchase Solar Panels If:
You Live Somewhere Sunny
The more hours of sunshine you get per day, the more energy you can generate daily from your panels. The more energy you generate every day, the bigger your cost savings, and the higher your ROI for solar panels. Thus, the sunnier it is, the more lucrative solar gets. So if you just happen to live amidst white sandy beaches, tanned bodies and piña coladas, smile. Going solar is definitely on the cards.
The Cost of Your Electricity is Ridiculous.
The higher the cost of electricity, the more money you save every month by going solar, and the greater your ROI. If youre getting bled dry by your utility company, take it as an omen from the solar deity above. Go solar.
You Want a Reliable, Low-Risk Return on Investment.
Investing in solar panels isnt the same as betting on the next Uber. Its not risky, so you arent gonna be making it rain hitting the angel-investing jackpot. Instead, solar is a no-nonsense, low-risk investment thats always going to save you substantial amounts of cash over time. If low-risk, guaranteed reward is your cup of tea, it doesnt get better than purchasing solar panels.
You Want Control
Having your own panels truly puts you in the driving seat of your financial destiny. No unexpected price rises. No corporate drama. Just a sound, cash-generating asset.
Plus, you can finally sleep easy, knowing that youll be energy self-sufficient for any change-in-world-order that comes our way.
Solar Power Can Use Underutilised Land
You may continue to wonder why solar power. With the increasing need of solar energy, its become easily accessible to most of us. Across countries, there are vast land that are far away from big cities or capitals, and are not used for anything at all.
With solar power, we can actually make use of the land and subsequently generate great value solar energy provides a source of power for everyone. In this way, we dont need to use high priced land that might be better suited for other applications.
You might have heard of solar farms – panels used to harvest solar energy in large numbers. This highlights perfectly how solar power makes use of underutilised land. For instance, a 45 acre solar farm has been recently built in the UK, and its able to power 2,500 homes.
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Is My Roof Right For Solar Panels
Before you commit to solar panels, youll also need to think through practical considerations, like the state of your roof and how much sun it gets.
If you have a bevy of old-growth trees shading your home in the summer, you may want to check out community solar instead of having to clear-cut your yard to put up a solar system, said Angela Hemmila, owner of local installer Solar Rising, based in southeastern Massachusetts.
Or, if your roof is old, you may need to replace it before installing solar.
Even if your roof is structurally sound, it could be oriented in a way that just doesnt get much sun. Solar companies have tools to model expected production, but you can explore for yourself with Googles Project Sunroof, which builds on Google Earth data to calculate how the light falls on individual houses.
Should I Go Solar Or Not
Why should I go solar? Everyones got an opinion. And in the age of information, everyones got an opinion online. Which is handy for wasting years of your life. But not so for finding anything resembling the truth.
Thats where we come in.
See, we know a thing or two about solar. And its our mission to wade through the flotsam of speculation to find the solar facts, so you dont have to.
So, sit back, relax and pop a cold one while we answer the topic of the day:
Should I go solar?
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