Many Homeowners Don’t Realize How Easy it is Switching to Solar Power
Have you considered solar panels to help power your home? If so, you join the ranks of more than a million of Americans who are using this clean energy source to save money, become less reliant on big energy companies, and help the environment.
Solar panel installation continues to become more affordable. Incentives from government programs help sweeten the deal. In addition, advances in technology make these units more efficient and longer-lasting.
What does this mean for you? You can easily pay off your investment in less than ten years. Since many solar panels have a warranty of 20 to 25 years, you will actually be earning money while others are still paying large monthly bills to the electric company.
Why Choose Solar Energy? Consider the Benefits
Whatever your reasons for choosing solar energy, you should be aware of the many benefits including:
- Lower energy costs. It’s estimated Adding solar panels saves a typical household well over $100 each month in energy costs. This will vary depending on where you live and the solar panels you choose. Since many solar panels easily last over twenty years, you could see how these savings keep adding up.
- Quick return on your investment. While the initial costs of installing and solar panels may distract some potential buyers, many find the monthly savings pays off these units between 5 to 10 years.
- Government incentives helping to offset costs. The federal government currently offers an investment tax credit (ITC) helping homeowners deduct part of their solar panel costs from their taxes. This can be up to 30% of the cost of the solar panel system. In addition, state and local municipalities may offer other incentives and rebates.
- Increased home value. If you plan on eventually selling your home, solar panels can be an enticing perk for homebuyers. Homes with solar panels tend to sell quicker for more money.
- Environmentally friendly energy. Fears of climate change and the effects of carbon dioxide emissions is almost a daily news topic. You have an easy way to stop or reduce your reliance on expensive oil, coal, and natural gas consumption. A house powered by solar panels for twenty years can offset carbon dioxide emissions equal to driving a gas-guzzling car for 100,000 miles.
Any of these benefits sound appealing? We thought so. By now you’re probably wondering how to get your home equipped with solar panels. And, of course, what will they cost. Let’s take a look what happens during a solar panel installation.
The Solar Panel Installation Process
Planning is a big part of the solar panel installation process. You want to start by exploring your home’s energy efficiency. A home energy audit may help you understand your household’s energy usage, where you may be wasting energy, and steps to improve efficiency. In addition, you want to assess the solar potential of your home. Mapping services can help you determine if solar energy is a good choice.
If solar energy is a good fit for your home, your next step is to choose an option for using solar energy. In the past, you had to purchase the equipment and have it installed with your own money. This is not the case anymore. Here are some options that may be available in your area:
- Purchasing a solar energy system. If you have the means to purchase a solar energy system outright or with a home equity loan, this may be your best option. By doing so you get the most financial benefits from your purchase.
- Community or shared solar programs. Some people don’t have the money or roof space to host a solar system. They can, however, team up with other like-minded individuals or organizations to purchase a solar system on or off site.
- Solar leases. Instead of purchasing your solar power system, you can lease it from a third party. This requires less of an upfront investment. You simply pay fixed monthly payments over a period of time, which is typically less expensive than your current electricity bill.
- Power purchase agreements (PPA). Another option to consider if you don’t have the money to purchase a solar energy system is a PPA. A developer takes care of installing and maintaining your solar panels and you agree to purchase the power generated by the system.
- Solarize programs. If your community has a solarize program, you may be able to purchase a solar energy system at a discounted rate. This program works by pooling the buying power of several people in a given community. Then, essentially, you can get a bulk discount on equipment, installation, and electricity rates.
Once you choose a solar energy option, the installation process begins.
Solar Panel Installation: What to Expect
After you sign a contract, an engineer will visit your home. The engineer evaluates your home’s electrical system and roof to ensure the solar panel installation and operations will be safe. Next, the paperwork begins. Incentives from federal or local governments as well as building permits need to be filed. The installer generally takes care of most of this work. Make sure you choose an installer familiar with your area, because building codes vary based on cities, counties, and states.
Once the paperwork clears, it is time to choose the equipment. Your installer will provide you with a few options based on your energy needs and the setup of your home. You may want to do some research before making a final decision to ensure you are getting the best product for your money.
Then comes the day of installation. You may have waited a few weeks to a couple months for all the paperwork to clear. Luckily, for most homes, installing the solar panel only takes 1 to 3 days. After that, someone from your town will come to inspect the system. If everything looks good, a representative from the utility company will do a final evaluation and approve your connection to the power grid. These inspections may take a couple weeks to a month.
Once everything is cleared, you are ready to enjoy the security, savings, and environmental benefits of solar power.
What Does Solar Panel Installation Cost?
Each home is different. Each household used electricity differently. As you could probably guess, the costs of solar panel installation varies based on equipment, how much work goes into installation, and your particular region.
Here are some estimates for a relatively average 5 kw solar panel installation:
|Region||Low Estimate||High Estimate|
|Midwest, West, & Southwest||$15,000||$17,500|
For larger homes or those with more energy needs, a 10kw system may be a good option. Here are some estimates:
|Region||Low Estimate||High Estimate|
|Midwest, West, & Southwest||$30,000||$35,000|
There are several tools on the internet to help you get a customized estimate based on your location and energy needs. While internet tools can be helpful, consulting with a professional solar panel installer will give you a much clearer picture of what you actually need and the exact costs.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Solar energy isn’t just a “pipe dream” of the future. Many people are already taking advantage of the financial and environmental benefits of this clean energy source.
Are you ready to find out how solar energy can help your household? Prudent Energy Solutions & Services would love to speak with you. We will listen to your wants, help determine your energy consumption, and find the best solar panel solution for your home.
Why keep throwing away your money to energy companies and leaving your carbon footprint on the environment? Talking with an experienced solar panel installer now can completely change the way you use energy.