How much do solar panels save? With new developments in renewable energy happening everyday, our world has seen a gradual shift from the traditional power sources to new and innovative ones. Among them have been a transition to solar panels both for commercial and residential use. As homeowners become attune to the benefits of this power source, the idea to adopt them to aid in their own energy consumption may arise. At the end of the day however, making the switch for many comes down to one thing: the cost. In order to determine that, most will look at what they must spend on solar panels versus what the panels can actually do for savings. Though some people were early to the adopt the panels, only recently have they become cost-effective enough to justify their installation for the typical homeowner.
Do Solar Panels Save You Money?
Location can play a significant role in just how fast individuals see returns on the use of solar panels. In the United States, it is the areas towards the south such as Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas that are among the sunniest in the nation. For some of the more northern states where it remains cloudy during the winter season, solar panels may take decades before they finally save the homeowner money. Other factors can affect the amount of saving that is actually done, such as the rates that you pay for energy, the amount and size of panels your home relies on, as well as the angle of the panels.
How to Save With Solar Panels
The actual process of saving with solar panels does require an understanding of a few things and a bit of research ahead of times to ensure that the benefits of solar panels can be maximized. For those who are considering solar panels or even those who are on the fence based on uncertainty about whether they could be used for their home, here are some steps to follow to ensure you actually save money in the next few years if you choose to install solar panels now:
Review Your Current Electric Cost
Part of determining the impact of solar panels is knowing what your current cost of electricity is and what that stems from. Take a look back to see what the average cost of energy for your home comes out too and also determine what the rate you pay is. Understand that rates may be subject to change over time or based on the plans of certain energy providers so the actual cost of electricity that is incurred may vary over time. Once again, location can play a role due to the differences in electric rates and based on the state in which you reside, you may save more or less than other areas.
Determine The Amount Of Sunlight You Receive
In order to get the most out of your solar panels, it is necessary for your home to be exposed to a fair bit of sunlight. Part of that relates to the nature of where you live as certain states are naturally predisposed to more based on a more southern position. Another important thing to consider is the amount of shade around the home. Trees and other coverage may block out some of the direct sunlight that the panels require to generate energy, making homes that are under cover less ideal for panels. Something else that can improve the performance of solar panels is being faced towards the south at an angle(roughly 30 degrees). Installation on various kinds of roofs including composite and tile can range slightly in difficulty based on type, but metal standing seam roofs are considered one of the easiest to install in.
Check out which solar credits and rebates are available.
Finding a rebate or incentive for installing residential or commercial solar panels could provide a means of support for those looking for way to finance their installation project. To find these opportunities, you can visit Energy.gov, which maintains a regular listing of all the states and the rebates available to homeowners, businesses, and other groups. It also includes special rebates offered by city governments. Especially for those with concerns on the speed in which they realize returns for this means energy, these offerings present a viable option for easing the burden of the investment in renewable energy and can be enough to provide individuals with the means of moving forward with installation.
Know the market costs for solar panel installation.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous contractors will try to charge you much more than the market rate for installing a solar system. In most cases, that’s what’s going to eat away any savings you might experience. You should be charged somewhere in the ballpark of $5 per watt, or about $15,000 and in some cases $25,000 for a typical 3000-watt system. For those who plan on taking advantage of rebates and incentives, understand that this is the cost before those take effect. It is important as both an individual or a business that you know the averages and do your research. Your usage might vary, but the average US household consumes 900 kWh per month. If you install an average 3 kWh system, that system will generate about 450 kWh per month, which would account for half of your electricity bill. If that bill runs $100, you’ll save about $50 per month for the life of your system.
When do you actually start saving money?
To figure out how much solar panels save, you’ll need to determine the time in which the initial installation cost is finally offset by the savings cost. In the event installing solar panels cost $15,000 and you can save $50 per month on electricity, you will need to divide that initial amount by the amount you save monthly. Doing the math you’ll find that it will take 300 months to break even on the system. Divide that by 12 months per year, and it takes you 25 years to make up for the cost of the solar system. After that time the solar panels will truly save you $50 each month.
Are Solar Panels Worth It?
In the event the savings from your solar panels come 25 years or so down the road, the question then becomes is installing them really worth it given the time leading up to when you start saving? The answer to that question is likely a yes for those with plans to stay in their homes that long or for those with plans to keep the house in the family. If that is not the case, you’ll have to find a way to reduce the installation costs or find a way to access credits. Another option exists as giving it more time before you really start considering installation may see the process become cheaper or the returns greater, offsetting the inherent expense. In any case, now that you know how to make solar panels pay off, you can jump on the opportunity when it arises.