Even if you were not paying close attention, you may have noticed that your utility costs have gone up over the past couple of months. In fact, starting in 2021, residential consumers saw a significant increase in their electric bills since 2008. Based on the data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average retail electricity price for residential consumers increased by 4.3%. Unfortunately, the EIA forecasts that retail electricity prices (although at a slower rate) will continue to increase in 2022.
There are a number of reasons for higher utility bills, from the soaring cost of natural gas to pandemic-related and climate events. Residents in the US are warned to brace for even higher prices until the end of the year. If rising costs of energy are already putting a strain on your budget, you may be thinking about switching to other alternative energy sources, like solar energy. But the question is, “Will solar power save me money?” The quick answer to that is yes. If you have enough solar panel systems installed in your home that can cover the electric consumption of your whole household, you can expect to save around $1,500 a year on your electric bills.
How much does a solar panel installation costs?
Before you call a solar pro near you, you have to note that solar panel installation does not come cheap. To date, cost for this service is anywhere from $13,000 to $17,000, but with the 26% Federal Tax Credit for systems installed in 2020 to 2022, you can save over $3,000 on the installation.
Some factors that affect the overall cost of solar panel system installation are:
- Household’s average energy usage
- Home’s solar potential (the amount of sun it receives each year)
- Average cost of local installation in the area
- Labor costs
- Local solar panel rebates and incentives
It’ is good to note that according to the Department of Energy the prices of solar panel installations will decline for the next few years because of new solar energy initiatives.
How can solar power save you money?
With a substantial investment to get a solar panel installation, you may be asking, “Is it worth it? Will I get my money’s worth?”
One of the known benefits of switching to solar energy is cost savings. It is estimated that solar panels will pay for themselves within 10 years. And with a 25-year warranty on most solar panels, homeowners could rack up to at least 15 years of savings. For areas that receive more sunshine, for example in California or Hawaii, consumers will even have a shorter breakeven period, which means higher savings!
In short, you may have to spend a couple of thousand dollars to have a solar panel system installed in your home, but it will surely pay for itself in the long run.
Other than notable savings on your electric bill, let’s take a look at more advantages of using solar energy.
What are the other benefits of using solar power?
Increase in property value
Reducing the costs of your utility bills may be your top reason why you’re considering to switch to solar energy. Of course, that alone saves you thousands of dollars down the road, but did you know that investing in a home solar power system also increases the value of your property by up to 4.1%?
If you’re planning some home improvement projects because you’re looking to sell your home soon, you may want to add investing in solar power system on your list.
Reliable source of energy
As climate change worsens and we get more extreme weather events, add to that the country’s aging power grids, you sure can expect that blackouts will be more common in the near future. In fact, a study published in 2021 revealed that power failures increased by 60% since 2015. Sure you can buy a generator so you have backup power when electricity goes out, but that power supply could only last so long.
On the other hand, solar power systems do not run out of power as long as the sun shines. This means that you’ll have reliable and unlimited power supply without having to worry if you’ll experience any power outages.
Good impact on the environment
Compared to other sources of energy, solar energy has less impact on the environment. Coal, natural gas, oil – all these traditional power sources are the major causes of green house gases, water and air pollution that creates drastic effect on the environment and even our health. Also remember that these are non-renewable sources of energy, which means they will be depleted in the future, which is again, a huge problem.
When you invest and use solar energy for your home, you can reduce your own carbon footprint in your own little way. Imagine the impact if more and more households switch to clean, solar energy.
Solar panels may look complex and difficult to maintain, but contrary to popular belief, solar energy systems are highly durable and will only require maintenance after several years. The only thing that homeowners will have to think about is rinsing off dirt from their solar panels a couple of times every year and that’s it!
Besides being hassle-free to maintain, home solar systems often come with a lengthy warranty, which also assures you that the unit will continue to perform for a long time. As mentioned above, some companies even provide a 25-year warranty.
Important note: These warranties, while long-term, will only be valid as long as the company who provided them still exists. That’s why it’s highly important that you choose a reputable and established provider.
How do I know if my home is solar power ready?
With all the advantages of switching to solar power, you’re probably already looking forward to having a system installed in your home. However, you need to make sure first that your residence meets requirements and certain characteristics to make it solar ready. Here are some questions to answer to ensure that you can maximize using solar power systems in your home.
What is orientation of your home?
Obviously as your solar panel system will rely on how much sunlight it gets to produce power, the orientation of your home is a huge factor. In the northern hemisphere, the best direction for solar panels to get the most sunlight throughout the day is true south on an sloped roof segment.
You also have to ensure that there is little to no shade as possible that hits the area where the solar panels are intended to be installed as this affects the Total Solar Resource Fractor or TSRF (amount of sunlight the area will receive over the year).
What type of roof do you have?
As solar panels will be part of your home for a long time, your type of roofing should be made of durable materials like concrete tile, asphalt or composite shingle. Take note that the weight of solar equipment is usually around three to six lbs per. sq ft. so your roof must be able to take on this weight.
If you have wood shake or slate tile, you want to look for a solar pro who has experience installing on these kind of roofing materials.
Is your roof in good condition?
Before considering getting a solar system installed, you need to check the condition of your roof first. Again, solar panels are durable and have a long life expectancy. You don’t want to unnecessarily remove them should you need to have your roof repaired or replaced.
Is it time to replace your roof? Read our Guide to Getting a New Roof
What is the climate like in your area?
Yes, solar energy can still be generated even if you live in an area that gets plenty of rains. Even on cloudy days, high-efficiency panels can turn both direct and indirect sunlight to electricity. But before you decide on whether you should switch to solar, make sure to ask a solar consultant to estimate the amount of energy a solar system can produce and your area and if that translates into potential savings.
How can I hire solar pros that I can trust?
The efficiency of your solar panel system will also be highly reliant on the pros that install them. That is why you have to make sure that you’re only hiring reputable solar pros.
Check out our helpful tips to help you find professional solar panel system installers.
- Hire a local – When it comes to finding a contractor, often times, local is best. Find a solar pro that works within your neighborhood or nearby as they will be knowledgable on the local regulations, permits and other restrictions in your area.
- Check out their reviews and ratings – Do your homework and check out what their previous clients have to say.
- Make sure they have the right licenses – Professional solar contractors need to carry certain licenses before they can legally intall solar panels. When talking to a solar pro, as them if they have proof of such licenses. It’s also a good idea to check for certifications too.
- Consider the warranties that they offer – Besides licenses and certifications, you also want to check what types of warranties the solar contractor offers. Check also the finer details if these warranties cover damage like weathering.
- See how much experience they have – A good rule to remember – the longer the contractor is in the industry, the more reliable they are.
- Talk to at least three contractors – Finally, if you want to make sure that you’ll choose the right solar pro, it would be best to talk to at least three solar companies before hiring one. This will allow you to compare the services they offer, as well as their rates.
Same Day Pros can help you find reputable solar pros near you! Click here