What’s the truth about solar?
You’ve heard about the benefits. It’s clean. It can help you save money.
It can increase the value of your home, and so on, but you’ve also read about the cons. For example, current solar technology cannot generate energy unless the sun is shining, which means you could experience interruptions.
Some also say larger utility-scale PV systems can lead to land degradation, and that it has an environmental downside. That’s because solar panels may contain hazardous materials that make proper disposal a challenge, which makes a lot of people wonder, “Are solar panels worth it?”
Here, we’ll talk about the factors that could influence whether going solar will be a worthy long-term investment for you.
If you talk to solar panel vendors and installers, of course, the answer is always a yes. It doesn’t explain, however, why every home in the US hasn’t gone solar. To see why some homeowners are hesitating, you need to take a look at the factors that could make solar worth it or not for you.
How much do you pay for electricity every month? The amount you pay your utility company depends on how much energy you consume, and where you live.
That means if you’re in an area where you have high electricity rates, your savings from going solar will also be bigger. A solar calculator can help you crunch the numbers so you can estimate how much you’ll save over the years, as well as when you’ll break even on your solar investment.
Adding solar panels to home isn’t cheap. The savings come much later, which is why some homeowners have second thoughts about going solar.
Now, if you’re willing to invest in a residential solar system, you could still save some money by choosing your installer wisely. Another way you can save is to source the equipment yourself. (Tip: Try to learn the process of solar panel production so you’ll at least have an insight on why there are variations when it comes to the pricing of solar panels).
This way, you’ll only pay for the installation, but take note. Before you buy the cheapest solar panels available, make sure these are the best options for your home. In most cases, it’s better to go for high-quality equipment that won’t require frequent repairs or replacement.
You should also check the solar incentives and rebates you qualify for. These will help bring down the cost of installation further.
Let’s say you don’t have enough cash to buy solar panels. Your other options include leasing them or getting a loan.
However, here’s the thing about leasing: When you opt for a solar lease or power purchasing agreement (PPA), it significantly reduces your return on investment (ROI).
For one thing, this prevents you from claiming any solar credits or incentives. These all go to the installer because they own the system.
For another thing, the interest rates can add up over time. This could get to a point where your solar savings become negligible. If you’re considering a lease, make sure you go over the contract and do some projections to see if the whole thing’s worth it.
One question some homeowners ask about going solar is, “Should I get solar panels if I live in a not-so-sunny area?”
The answer is yes if you’re connected to the grid. You see, even in some states such as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, the local incentives plus the higher electricity costs make solar financially viable.
Of course, you still have to consider things like the suitability of your roof for solar panels, as well as the average solar prices for your city. For the most part, though, if your home is grid-tied, solar is worth it in the long run.
If you’re leaning towards going solar, there are some tips to keep in mind when solar panel shopping. These include the following:
Should you go for a more well-known contractor or should you try to find a smaller contractor? It depends on your home type and energy needs.
The best way to go about your search is to consider all solar companies in your area. Yes, it can get overwhelming, but you don’t want to pay more than what’s necessary for your solar panel system installation. Remember, just by getting 3 or more quotes, you can save as much as $10,000.
Solar panels are more affordable these days, but it doesn’t mean you should rely on them alone to reduce your energy bills.
Always keep in mind that reducing energy consumption is more cost-effective than energy production. If there are certain areas of your home that need to be more energy-efficient, work on those first.
Perhaps, you can check if your insulation and windows need upgrading, or maybe you should have your old roof replaced with a cool one. These can also help reduce the cost of the PV system and translate to bigger energy savings for you every year.
Solar panels are built to last and their warranty should reflect that. This is why most will advise you not to buy inexpensive unknown quality panels. You’re never sure if they’ll last as long as advertised (usually 25 years or more).
Another thing to think about is your solar tax planning. Consider hiring an expert to make sure you get accurate information about the solar credits and incentives you qualify for.
Now that you know what factors could make going solar a yes or a no for you, don’t hesitate to keep learning about it and other clean energy options.
But if you’re still asking, “Are solar panels worth it?” you can check out our other articles. We also have tons of posts on renewable energy and other related topics, so be sure to check those.
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