Solar panels are becoming a familiar sight in our towns and cities as more families and businesses use clean energy to benefit the environment and their budgets.
You may be put off by talk of up-front costs or unsure about how to install and maintain them, but solar power is an efficient green energy source and long-term money saver that is well worth the investment.
Before you begin researching solar power options for your home, you should consider the following questions:
HOW MUCH POWER DO I NEED?
The type and amount of solar panels you’ll need depends on your home’s energy consumption. Check your last few electricity bills to determine your home’s average consumption so you have an idea of your requirements.
HOW MUCH DO I WANT TO SPEND?
Residential solar systems are typically sized from 3 to 8kW and end up costing between $15,000 and $40,000. The price of setting up your solar power system depends on a range of factors including your home’s location, roof height, and type of roofing, as well as the number, type, and orientation of the panels. You should also factor in contractor site preparation fees.
Many homeowners choose to finance their solar panels with one of the “pay-as-you-go” financing options. This means that a third-party company – the solar provider – owns the solar system and takes care of installation, maintenance, monitoring and repairs.
Don’t forget to research any support schemes you may be eligible for, like the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Solar Incentive Program.
There’s also a 30% personal tax credit for residential energy, applied to solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells.
HOW MUCH WILL I SAVE?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most solar systems pay for themselves within 5 years. In some places in the United States, the payback time can be as little as three years. The electricity your solar system generates beyond this point brings in long-term savings.
U.S. Department of Energy also states that a solar electric system raises the property value of a home with $20 for every $1 in utility savings over a year.
Once it’s up and running, the environmental and financial benefits of solar power will have you beaming.
Have you considered solar powering your home?