Should You Install a Solar Panel System for Your Home?
Solar energy can provide a number of benefits, but it's not the first step to saving money and being more environmentally friendly.
If you want to save on your electricity bill while also reducing the environmental impact of power plants, improving efficiency should be your priority.
An energy-efficient home is not only great financially, but also environmentally friendly because they reduce power use from any source while keeping more money in your pocket and conserving natural resources.
A “high-performance” home provides numerous advantages, including increased comfort, quality, durability, and indoor air quality.
You may not want to install solar panels on your rooftop until you make sure that your home is efficient.
If it isn’t, then the energy generated by those panels would be a waste of money because there might actually just be enough power in order for you and everyone else living at your house all day long without having any sun shining down.
Apparently, investing in an effective home energy upgrade is a lot cheaper than solar power systems.
In fact, it not only has the potential to return more money but also costs less for the same reduction of electricity use as well.
Not only that; if you have increased your energy efficiency then this will decrease what size (and cost) of system would be needed for your needs and save both time and money since you'll need to install fewer panels.
One exception to this general rule is when significant solar incentives are available but are about to expire or may be reduced.
In this case, it may make sense for an individual to install up to half of their annual power needs in order to take advantage of the incentive while it is still available.
You may still have room to improve your home's efficiency by up to 50%, allowing you to make energy improvements later and enjoy the full benefits of energy efficiency as well as solar.
Here are some things to consider before going solar: The Department of Energy has a few websites that can help you figure out the most effective ways for your home's energy efficiency in your climate.
They also show how much it will cost, and what type of system is best for each specific location.
If you're looking for ways to make your home more efficient, get a customized checkup from an expert. This can potentially reduce costly mistakes, wasted time, and money spent on upkeep.
You'll find certified energy professionals at www.resnet.us or www.bpi.org. Before diving into any projects that could have long-lasting effects though, talk with local utility companies.
Ask whether they offer assessments for appliances or discounts/rebates if purchased through them which will help save you money when it comes to electricity costs.
If you want to use solar power in your new home, consider building a “zero-energy ready” home that can handle advanced technology.
The Building America Program Solution Center can provide all of the information and guidance needed for almost any type of project you can think of.
1. Return on Investment (Savings and Payback)
You could potentially produce much or all of the electricity you use on an annual basis by combining energy efficiency and a home solar power system.
Whether you buy or lease a home solar energy system, it is critical to analyze costs in order to make informed decisions about your financial stability in the future.
2. Tax credits, rebates, or incentives
The federal government and many states offer valuable tax credits, rebates, or incentives to homeowners seeking the best energy savings available to any new homeowner.
This is an excellent way for you to save money at home, which will inevitably lead to greater financial independence.
3. Initial Costs
Home solar system installations may have a high initial cost that might seem expensive.
But, they can make you money over time. A solar panel system will pay for itself in about 10 years depending on where you live and how much electricity your home uses.
The installation process will take some time since there are many steps involved with the permitting of these systems to ensure safety when installed properly as well as determining if it's right for your house or not depending on factors like roof type/strength, available area at different parts of the property, etc., which makes them costlier than average installations.
The price of installation may be affected by factors such as the type of solar system chosen, the application surface area, the brand is chosen, and the type/strength of the roof.
4. Maintenance Costs
Solar systems require maintenance every few years to ensure they are running at their peak efficiency and producing maximum power.
Solar cells need regular monitoring, inspection, cleaning of dust particles from the panels with a water-based solution that leaves no residue on top or behind them which can interfere with output performance over time.
5. Replacement Costs
Solar panels are a great investment but it's important to research the cost of upkeep before you make any purchase.
Solar panel maintenance is so critical because, without regular updating, your system will not last as long and produce less power than expected.
Durability also depends on how much time goes by between routine inspections or replacements with new batteries.
For example, if someone were in an area where they have very few cloudy days then their solar equipment has more opportunity for restoration from weathering compared to somebody who lives in an area that gets lots of overcast conditions which can create corrosion within harnesses due to moisture buildup.
6. Average & Annual Electricity Use
It's important to consider your electricity consumption before making any decisions about installing a new system.
A solar power installation may not be cost-effective for you, depending on the current and projected annual usage at home.
7. Expected Energy Generation
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a solar system is the amount of power it will produce.
If you're looking for a low-cost solution, knowing this information ahead of time can save you a lot of money.
8. Utility Company’s Rate/Credit
When your solar panels produce more energy than you need, the utility company pays you a rate. This is called “net metering.”
It works like this: whenever sunlight charges up those cells in your attic to levels of electricity that are greater than what we're using at any given time, it's just too much for our circuitry to handle and automatically transfers energy to the grid which offsets how many kilowatts or megawatts they have come from other sources.
9. Home Value Appreciation Affect
The solar system in your home might actually be a blessing for you because it could help increase the appraised market value of your property.
Not only is this a great way to save on electricity bills and support renewable energy initiatives like net metering; but if you're looking to sell, having one installed can also make all the difference.
10. Expected Productive Life
The lifetime of solar power systems is important. A lot goes into the calculation for this, including how long a system will produce energy and maintain its efficiency over time.
Home solar investment is a tricky game to play, and it's hard to know what the payoff will be. Purchased rooftop solar payback periods can extend up to 20 years without incentives of any kind.
In some cases, less if you are able to get tax credits or other benefits for your purchase working with a contractor who has partnered with cash-rebate programs.
These rebates make installing home panels more affordable so even people on tight budgets should investigate their options before passing over this opportunity.
You also may wish to consider the timing for solar investment.
As costs of solar power systems decline, efficiencies increase and utility electricity rates rise, the payback period gets shorter.
After installation of your system is complete it becomes impractical to upgrade; taking advantage of newer technologies like thermal storage or photovoltaic panels as they are released in the marketplace can be difficult without being able to return back on that initial cost.
11. Offered Incentives
When you consider how much money and time a home solar energy system will save, the cost of this investment is well worth it.
This option offers incentives such as income tax credits, property tax exemptions, or rebates from government agencies or utility companies.
Solar power production comes with an array of benefits that are not to be ignored. Offered incentives vary by state/city with the condition if it is purchased or leased.
You can explore summaries of renewable energy and energy efficiency financial incentives, programs, and policies available at the federal and state levels by visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency at www.dsireusa.org.
The renewable energy industry is always growing, and as the technology becomes more efficient, incentives may change or phase out.
It’s a good idea to check your local utility provider’s website periodically for new programs that are created in order to find what's available on offer.