Are Solar Panels Worth It For Me
When consumers are seeking cost-effective, environmentally responsible energy solutions, one of the most common questions is, of course, Is solar worth it? There are many factors that influence this decision for homeowners and small businesses. Some of the primary factors that determine if solar panels are worth the investment include the overall cost of your utility bill, your location, qualifying tax breaks, and other savings opportunities. For many homeowners, the rising prices of traditional energy sources make solar installation costs a worthwhile investment. But is it worth installing solar panels for you? Take a look at the variables to determine if solar energy is worth the money.
A Few Final Things To Consider
Solar panels offer many benefits, but they might not be practical in every instance with the high costs and red tape associated with installing them. Fortunately, there are other ways to receive the benefit of solar energy without the expense.
You can use portable solar chargers to power your cell phone and other electronics. They’re inexpensive to buy, and you’re not tethered to a wall while you wait for your device to charge.
Additionally, some areas use community solar. With community solar, multiple units and divide up the costs, saving you money on your energy bills without having to pay the entire price of solar panels.
Discover more about solar panels with these helpful guides.
What Does It Cost To Install A Solar System
Setting up a solar system can be expensive, knowing how to do so is paramount to saving costs.
According to a new analysis done by NREL, large solar installation companies charge 10% more than smaller local companies. Thats the price equivalent of both an inverter and solar racking combined.
Why are large solar companies charging more though?
Its a complicated question and companies like NREL believe it relates to competitor pricing and consumer education!
However, customer acquisition and overhead costs also play a vital role in price hikes.
A word of advice, do not accept the first quote you get from a solar installation company. Shop around, do your research and compare quotes.
You might be pleasantly surprised by how much you can save by just doing a little research.
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How To Determine Your Savings With Solar
The very best way to get a concrete understanding of whether solar panels are worth it for you is to consult with a solar panel installation company near you. Most energy consultations are free and no-pressure. Any reputable installer will provide you with:
- An initial assessment of your roof, its positioning in relation to the sun, your energy costs and your location
- An estimate of the cost of your solar system
- An estimate of how much money you can expect to save over your systems lifetime
One More Important Thing To Know About Solar
Some factors could increase your payback period. Before installing solar panels, you need to inspect the condition of your roof. Panels can last 25 years, so if your roof is not in tip-top shape, you might have to make improvements before installing solar panels. If this applies to you, make sure to add these costs to your initial investment.
Overall, solar power can be an expensive proposition, especially with the upfront costs. However, the long-term efficiency they provide can more than offset the initial investment, leading to savings for years to come.
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How Long Does An Rv Solar Panel Last
By: Author The Drivin’& Vibin’ Team
Home » How Long Does an RV Solar Panel Last?
We all want to do our part to protect the planet, but what do we know about todays alternative energy options? Many claim solar panels are an answer to an overdue problem, but just how obtainable is it for the ordinary person?
Most people know very little about how solar power works, what it costs, and the advantages or disadvantages of using it. If youre one of those people, youre in the right place. Lets get better acquainted with solar power and expand your understanding of the future.
Research Your Installers Credibility And Reputation
To top up your solar panel brand choice, your solar panel system installation company is equally vital. You should ensure you get a solar company with an excellent reputation to ensure your solar panel is installed correctly.
Another factor to consider in a reputable installer is their availability in the event something goes wrong, or professional maintenance is required.
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Maintenance Programs For Solar
Solar energy providers offer maintenance programs that, coupled with virtually no-hassle installation, can take the worry out of the equation. This ease of installation and maintenance can be a much-welcomed change for homeowners who have grown weary of their previous routine of having to schedule delivery of high-costing gas or other energy sources, in addition to the costly repairs that they can incur should their boiler unit or HVAC system unexpectedly require repair.
Solar panels are generally very low-maintenance and since we have a guarantee, there is very little to worry about in terms of adding and using solar panels to your home, offers Emmer. Once they are installed, theres not much you need to do except watch them reduce your bill and make you feel better about your carbon footprint, he adds.
For the most part, the servicing of solar panels is only required when something isnt functioning correctly, and the general upkeep of solar panels wont put a strain on your budget or create unwanted stress as you try to make sure that you keep your solar panels in proper condition so that they can function optimally and continue to save you money for years and years to come. Emmer suggests that solar panel owners plan to have routine maintenance and inspection of their units, which also includes cleaning, at least once per year.
Compare Quotes From Top-rated Solar Panel Installers
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How Much Money Can Solar Panels Save You
The average residential solar system in the U.S. will range $20,000 and $40,000 depending on the home. Heres a quick look at the national averages, as calculated by our EcoWatch experts:
- Average System in the U.S. : $25,000+
- Estimated 25-Year energy burden without solar in the U.S.: $45,000
- Estimated Lifetime Savings of Going Solar in the U.S.: $22,379
Youll notice that the estimated lifetime savings should be close to matching the difference between your 25-year energy burden and the overall price of your system.
That means that if your energy bills are already low, you wont earn as many savings. Inversely, the higher your electricity rates, the greater your opportunity to offset your utility bills with solar. For context, heres a quick look at what those figures look like in a state with high electricity rates like California:
- Average System in California. : $20,000+
- Estimated 25-Year energy burden without solar in California: $51,703
- Estimated Lifetime Savings of Going Solar in California: $35,000+
And heres a look at Montana, a state with low electricity bills:
- Average System in Montana : $22,000+
- Estimated 25-Year energy burden without solar in Montana.: $38,000
- Estimated Lifetime Savings of Going Solar in Montana: $15,000
So whats the takeaway here? The minimum to go solar wont vary tremendously but if your electricity rates are low, your solar system may not generate enough savings to be as worth it.
Payback Period for Solar Panel Expenses
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Should I Buy A Battery
Adding a battery to your solar system will allow you to store some of the excess electricity it generates to use during a blackout or in the evening and night. A solar system without a battery will not keep you supplied with power during an outage because most residential systems are automatically turned off when the grid goes down.
Batteries can be expensive, especially if you want to run large appliances and provide power for many hours or days. A 10- to 12-kilowatt-hour battery, which can store roughly a third of a homes typical daily electricity use, costs about $13,000, according to EnergySage.
The federal tax credit for rooftop solar systems applies to the costs of batteries that are purchased with solar panels or if they are added in a following tax year. About 28 percent of residential solar systems installed in 2021 included batteries, up from 20 percent in 2020, according to a survey by EnergySage.
The Wirecutter, a product recommendation service from The New York Times, has a detailed guide for buying solar and battery systems.
Homeowners Guide To Going Solar
Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of solar panels have popped up across the country as an increasing number of Americans choose to power their daily lives with the suns energy. Thanks in part to the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s investments, the cost of going solar goes down every year. You may be considering the option of adding a solar energy system to your homes roof or finding another way to harness the suns energy. While theres no one-size-fits-all solar solution, here are some resources that can help you figure out whats best for you. Consider these questions before you go solar.
How does solar work?
There are two primary technologies that can harness the suns power and turn it into electricity. The first is the one youre likely most familiar with photovoltaics, or PV. These are the panels youve seen on rooftops or in fields. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, photons from the sunlight are absorbed by the cells in the panel, which creates an electric field across the layers and causes electricity to flow. Learn more about how PV works.
Is my home suitable for solar panels?
How do I start the process of going solar?
Can I install solar myself?
How much power can I generate with solar?
Will I save money by going solar?
Can I get financing for solar?
How can I find state incentives and tax breaks that will help me go solar?
Is solar safe?
What does mean?
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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.
Other Types Of Solar Loans
Some solar companies offer financing through third-party lenders. These loans can be similar to home improvement loans unsecured with no down payment required. The payment plans could have lower rates than personal loans and longer repayment terms, making your monthly payment lower.
Compare a quote from your solar company with other options to find the most affordable one.
Home equity loan
If you already know how much your solar panels will cost, you can apply for a home equity loan. These loans have lower rates and longer repayment terms than unsecured loans because putting up your home as collateral reduces some of the risk for a lender.
Home equity line of credit
A HELOC is another low-rate option that is secured by your home. Its more flexible than a home equity loan because you can draw on funds as you need them for the project, and you often have the option to only pay interest during the initial portion of the loan.
If youre considering a home-equity option, learn the pros and cons of each before you choose.
A cash-out refinance can get you a new mortgage at a lower rate that includes the cost of solar panels and installation. Its a good option if current mortgage rates are lower than what youre paying and if you can keep closing costs low.
Leasing or getting a power purchase agreement
The U.S. Department of Energy has more details about the difference between a lease and power purchase agreement.
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Is Minnesota Good For Solar Energy
In this article, well discuss whether solar is worth it for the majority of Minnesota homeowners, but whether solar panels are worth it will ultimately depend on your homes configuration and your energy needs. To speak with an EcoWatch-vetted professional who can help you determine whether solar is worth it for your Minnesota home, follow the links below.
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Minnesota ranks 13th in the country for solar adoption, but the majority of solar installations over the past decade have been for utility-scale solar and community solar applications. Understandably, homeowners are left wondering if residential solar panel systems are worth the investment, especially with the above-average price of solar equipment in the North Star State. Below, youll find a handful of factors youll need to consider to determine if solar panel installation is right for your home. Well also include some information on the benefits of installing solar panels on your home in the area and some things you should consider before you commit to this renewable energy source.
How To Get The Best Deals On Solar Panel Purchase And Installation
Like any other investment, it is crucial to ensure you secure the best deals when buying and installing a solar panel system. Its good to be armed with the correct information to secure the best solar panel deal. As discussed above, solar panels can be worth it, making them a significant investment.
So, how do you ensure you secure the best discount on solar panel purchase and installation?
- Research to determine the best cost in your area
- Purchase from reputable brands
- Research your installers reputation and credibility
- Explore various financing options
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Clean Renewable Energy That Fuels The Economy
The rumors are true: Texas is the largest carbon emitter in the United States. With a large population and an even larger economy, the energy guzzling comes as no surprise. The good news is that Texas also has a greater capacity for change.
Not only is clean solar energy good for your budget and for the environment, its also good for the economy. According to Texas Advance Energy, there are more than 250,000 renewable energy jobs in Texas, a number steadily climbing. Texas solar energy is booming, especially since theyre ranked #2 in the U.S. for solar. For solar to become a leading energy source, every home matters. Your house could be the one that leads the charge in your neighborhood. You could have your very own cache of clean energy and reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
How Do Solar Panels Affect Property Values
In general, solar panels have been shown to increase property values. Most notably, a 2015 study published by Lawrence Berkeley Labs analyzed sales of solar-equipped homes in eight different states over 11 years. It found that homebuyers were willing to pay more for homes with a solar PV system across a variety of states, housing markets and home types. Lawrence Berkeley Labs estimated that the premium was about $4 per watt of installed solar capacity, approximately 8% lower than the installation price per watt at the time of the study . Assuming the premium is worth about 90% of the installation price per watt, a six-kilowatt system totaling roughly $15,800 prior to the federal tax credit would see a subsequent rise in home value of about $14,200.
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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.