As the power grid becomes more unreliable because of climate change, property owners are trying to find alternatives.
Texas was front and center of this debate because ice storms wreaked havoc on energy sources like wind and nuclear making it almost impossible to keep up with energy demands. About 4 million people were without power.
If you’re a property owner, your best bet is to install solar panels to limit your liability on the utility companies. You also need to weigh the costs of solar vs. the return on investment.
How much money do solar panels save? That’s the question you need to find out to calculate the return on investment.
There’s a lot to learn about solar panels. Read on to find how much solar panels cost, how much you can save, and how to get the installation done right.
How Much Money Do Solar Panels Save?
You’ll find that there are a lot of variables at play when you calculate how much solar panels cost and how much money you’ll save.
In the United States, the average electric bill was $115 a month in 2019. In Hawaii, the average monthly bill was $168 while Utah had one of the lowest rates at $76 a month.
As you can see how much you’ll save depends on how much you already spend on electricity. The type of solar panels and where they’re placed also impact savings.
A solar panel with a small storage capacity might not save you as much as a unit with a large storage capacity. The solar panels need to be installed in a place where they can capture the most sunlight.
Finally, the climate needs to be advantageous. You have to get enough sunshine to capture and store solar energy to see the most benefits.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have solar in not-so-sunny places. You Just won’t maximize the benefits like someone living in a warm and sunny climate.
With all of these things taken into account, how much money do solar panels save? Homeowners can see savings anywhere between $40 and $180 a month.
What Is the Cost of Solar Panels?
Now that you know how much you can save with solar panels, you have to calculate the cost to purchase and install them.
First off you need to figure out how much wattage you need. That determines the size of the solar panels required to do the job. The larger the cells, the higher the cost.
Next, you need to calculate the number of solar panels you’ll need and where they’ll be installed. If they’re installed in a difficult place like a sloped roof, that can pose challenges for installers and increase your price.
When you choose your solar panels, you’ll learn that manufacturers price their solar panels differently. You can find that a solar panel installation is as low as $9,000 or as high as $45,000.
The good news is that you can take advantage of incentives to lower your installation costs. The federal government offers a tax credit for as much as 22% of your installation costs. There are some qualifying factors that you need to know about, but this can lower your costs a great deal.
States have separate incentives on top of the federal tax credit. This makes the prospect of solar much more affordable. It’s best to check with solar companies near you to find out more about these programs.
When you add up the costs and savings of solar, you can end up with a significant return on investment in several years.
Finding a Solar Installation Company
If you live in a residential neighborhood, chances are you’ve had someone knock on your door to tell you everything you need to know about solar.
Should you work with these companies? There may be good things and bad things about them. If you want to find a reliable solar installation company to work with, then follow these guidelines.
Do Your Own Research
There are websites that are devoted to solar installers. These are usually affiliate sites or aggregate sites. These sites list installers based on price, similar to vacation sites.
These sites can lead you in the wrong direction because they prioritize everything based on price and price alone. The prices listed are often starting points.
They don’t include a lot of add-ons, they’re for inexpensive equipment, and they often don’t meet your specific needs.
Your best bet is to search for local solar installers, look closely at the reviews and testimonials, and contact a few of them individually.
Get Several Estimates
You should get several estimates to install solar panels. You should find that the estimates are relatively close to each other. If you find that one estimate is incredibly low or high compared to the others, you can dig deeper and ask why.
You may get a couple of companies say that it doesn’t make sense to install solar panels because of the orientation of your house. One company might tell you the opposite. You protect yourself from a bad deal by getting several estimates.
Licensed and Insured
This is the most important question you can ask a solar installer. They have to be licensed and insured to do any work on your home.
The problem is that only a dozen states have specific licenses for solar installers. Most states require an electrical or plumbing contractor’s license.
Check with your state and county to find out what the license requirements are and find out if the installer meets them.
Get the Most Out of Solar
How much money do solar panels save? That depends, but there’s a high chance that you’ll be able to recoup your investment over several years. You might be able to see a return on your investment sooner if you take advantage of all of the incentives and rebates available.
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