Many homeowners wonder how much solar panels will actually help you save on electricity use and cost. However, because they are expensive to purchase and install on a home, it’s important that the benefits outweigh the cost of investing in them.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
The cost of solar panels can range from $15,000 to over $50,000 for any given homeowner. The amount you spend is greatly determined by how much energy you need the panels to produce for your home. There’s also the additional expense of solar battery packs.
All of these purchases can, however, be seen as an investment. Especially because solar panels will continue to produce electricity for your home long after they are installed and the initial costs of purchase have been paid off. Most solar panels continue producing electricity at at least 80% efficiency for 30 years. After 30 years, the panels will keep producing electricity but less efficiently.
Cost Compared vs. Savings
Although solar panels are expensive upfront, they do save on how much you’re spending on electricity. According to the Department of Energy, the average American spends about $110 on electricity a month. That adds up to $1,320 spent on electricity every year.
Let’s assume that you spend $15,000 on your solar energy system. If you’re able to save even $1,000-$1,200 on your electricity, then you’ll be able to pay off a solar loan in 15 years and get free electricity for the rest of the life of the solar panels. That’s a bargain when it’s all said and done.
Another benefit that is often found when purchasing solar panels is the tax credit. The federal government offers a tax credit of 26%. This credit can be applied to your federal income tax or be cut as a check that you can use towards your solar loan. In many cases, this refund can significantly help you offset the cost to get your panels up and running.
Location Can Determine Savings
Where you physically place solar panels on your home, as well as where you live, can drastically affect how much electricity your panels produce and how much money you save on electricity.
Homes located in the south have the advantage of producing energy throughout more of the day because the days are significantly longer in warmer climates. Homes located in the north that don’t get as much sunlight in the colder times of the year can still save big on solar panels. One of the advantages of panels in the north have is that solar panels will operate and function best in cooler temperatures.
Another way that location can determine savings depends on your local electricity rates. Solar panels will save more money when you are paying higher electricity rates. Rates in California, for example, are much higher than the national average, and those who live in areas with higher electricity rates will experience much higher savings than the average homeowner.
Lock in Your Cost for Electricity
On average, the rates for electricity rise by around 1% every year. As humans continue using more electricity over time, the rates are likely to continue rising. That can pose some problems because with electricity becoming more expensive every year, homeowners need to find ways to power their homes while using less electricity.
Solar panels help you lock in the cost of your electricity. This means that the amount you spend on electricity annually is going to stay the same for the life of your solar panels, except, of course, that you’ll have to pay for the electricity that your panels don’t produce for you.
Is Your Roof Right for Solar?
Solar panels work best when they get lots of direct sunlight. Depending on how your roof is set up and what direction it’s facing, it may be difficult to find a spot for solar panels that will maximize their efficiency.
Roofs with heavy trees or obstructions in place can make it hard for your solar energy system to produce electricity. For example, if your roof has a lot of trees paired with how closely the solar panels are to each other may make it difficult for any one panel to get direct sunlight. Solar panels can still produce electricity when they’re in the shade, but the efficiency will be significantly less.
Roofs that face different directions can also be problematic because they’ll produce less electricity throughout the day than roofs with south-facing slants or more flat surfaces.
To determine how much solar panels will save for your home, take a look at how many hours of direct sunlight you receive throughout the day and how much shade is being cast on your roof by trees. Solar panels can be more worth the investment if you have an ideal layout to maximize the amount of sun they get.
How to Calculate Your Solar Needs
There are many resources online that can help you determine how much solar you need depending on your location, monthly electric bill, and what you’re willing to spend.
These tools will allow you to get a ballpark of how long it’s going to take for your system to pay itself off and how many solar panels will be needed to produce an ample amount of electricity. At Sun Badger Solar, we want our customers to be fully equipped in the decisions they make about their solar energy systems. To help you better understand how much solar will cost you and how much you can save, check out our solar calculator.
How Much Can Solar Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
Solar energy is a great way for both homeowners and business owners to reduce their carbon footprint. When people use solar panels to produce electricity for their homes and businesses, they are able to reduce how much carbon dioxide is released into the environment.
When you invest in a home that has solar panels, you’re investing not only in your future but also how we live and leave this planet for those that come after us. You’ll reduce how much pollution goes into the atmosphere and reduce the amount you contribute to it.
Many businesses regularly use solar to help make their business more carbon neutral. Of course, carbon neutrally is something that’s always going to be difficult for businesses to fully obtain, but solar energy, along with other renewable energy sources, can be a huge help and asset to the business.
How to Find a Solar Partner for Your Solar Installation
Finding the right solar partner to help you undergo your new solar system installation can sometimes be difficult. There are many factors that go into how much you’re going to spend on installation and how long it’s going to take.
Some companies will charge more for installation so they can sell the solar panels at a lower cost than what your retail store is selling them for. This allows homeowners to get their solar system installed cheaper but then end up paying more in the long run.
Look for Companies that Offer Warranties
When you’re trying to find an installer, it’s essential that you find one that will offer you a workmanship warranty on the installation.
The workmanship warranty will give you peace of mind and allow you to know how much that company cares about the quality of its installation. Your solar panels are an expensive investment – it’s important to find a partner who is going to take good care of them for years into the future.
Price Isn’t Always Everything
It can be tempting to hire a company that offers the cheapest or more cost-effective rate. But, what you might gain in cost savings you could lose in quality. Some companies will charge low rates upfront and then not even fully complete the installation for months on end.
Before you sign a contract with any company, make sure that they are going to provide the best possible installation. You don’t want your solar panels installed by the cheapest or fastest installer. You want them to have been installed properly so that your money is well spent.
Watch Out for Solar Scams
With how popular solar panels have become, there are many scams that try to take advantage of homeowners. You’ll see companies advertising low rates or using a high-pressure sales tactic and then not follow through with what you had agreed on in the contract.
Do your research on the company before you decide on them. Checking reviews, Googling them, and looking into their website are all great ways to learn more about the company and what it stands for. Read this blog post for more info on how to avoid solar scams.
If you’re still unsure if solar is right for your home, reach out to us. We’d love to answer some of your questions and help you make the right decision. Sun Badger Solar is a premier solar installer that offers the highest-quality solar energy products and installation.