Solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking to save on energy costs. But is investing in solar panels worth it?
There are a few factors you need to consider before making your decision. This blog post will explore four questions you should ask yourself before deciding if solar panels are a good investment for you. Keep reading to find out if solar panels are worth it.
Do You Average Four Hours of Sunshine Per Day?
Solar panels need sunlight to produce electricity. Although this may seem obvious, it’s important to understand just how much sunlight they require to provide a return on investment.
Most experts agree that solar panels need at least four hours of sunlight per day to be a worthwhile energy-saving home upgrade. Any less might help take a dent out of monthly utility bills but probably wouldn’t be enough to make the panels pay for themselves.
People who live in the sunniest states in America are the most likely to benefit from solar panels. The top 5 sunniest states include:
- New Mexico
In addition to being located in a sunny part of the country, homeowners considering solar panels should also think about the placement of their homes.
Solar panels need to be placed in an area with full sun exposure. This means that trees, buildings, or other objects shouldn’t block direct sunlight from hitting the solar panels for at least six hours per day.
Homes that face south, southwest, and west are more likely to benefit from solar panels due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis. However, this rule-of-thumb would be the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere.
How Many Solar Panels Are You Installing?
The number of solar panels installed on a home will directly impact the size of utility bill savings. The more panels there are, the more electricity they can produce, and the more savings homeowners will find in their monthly electric bills.
However, homeowners need to compare the upfront costs with the long-term savings to decide if solar panels are worth the investment. More solar panels also equate to higher upfront costs for installation. Naturally, fewer panels cost less to install.
The most successful solar investors strive to strike a balance between the cost of installation and the energy required to recoup the initial expenses.
The cost to install solar panels varies by state. The national average is $12,000, with a range of $5,000 to $40,000.
The price per solar panel can range from $2.50 to $3.30 per watt, although the price will drop for customers purchasing wholesale. That means the overall cost might be cheaper for fewer panels, but the cost per panel is cheaper when you buy more panels.
When purchasing a larger quantity, it’s essential to ensure proper roof space first. Failure to do so could leave you stuck paying for panels that can’t go on your roof.
What Are the Local Incentives In Your Area?
The break-even point for solar panels is different in every state. Labor costs, electricity prices, and local incentives all contribute to the potential payoff of a solar-electric home.
The cost of solar panels has fallen by more than 70 percent since 2010, making them more affordable than ever for all American homeowners. No matter the initial cost, you need to consider electricity prices in your area before investing in panels.
Areas with higher electricity prices will experience a faster return on investment than those with lower prices.
Utility companies, state governments, and the federal government provide a variety of incentives to help make solar power more affordable for everyone. The most common incentive is a solar rebate.
Solar rebates are offered as a specific dollar amount off the total purchase and installation price of your solar power system. State governments often provide this incentive to encourage homeowners to switch to renewable energy sources.
Some places allow solar-equipped homes to sell energy back to the utility company at a higher rate than it costs to buy energy from them. This is called net metering and helps solar homeowners get compensated for any extra power their panels generate.
How Long Will You Stay in the Home?
The final question to ask when determining if solar panels are worth the investment is how long you plan to stay in the home.
Solar panels have an average lifespan of 25 years, which means they will likely last the entire duration of a conventional mortgage.
People who are planning on living in the same home for many years experience more security in the payoff of their investment. Electricity prices are trending upwards nationwide, so owners will already be positioned to reap exponential savings.
There’s still a chance for returns for owners who plan to sell sooner rather than later. Experts have found that homes configured with solar panels sell for prices that are, on average, $15,000 higher than their equals.
With most solar set-ups costing around $12,000, there’s a good chance that solar panels will be worth it for people looking to sell their homes soon.
Forecast Success For Your Solar Investment
Solar panels are a major investment, and like any other big purchase, it’s essential to do your research before following through.
By asking yourself four simple questions, you can better understand whether or not investing in solar is right for you. Keep in mind that the answer may vary depending on your location – be sure to check with your local government or utility company about available incentives and rebates.
If you decide that solar is the right choice for you, the savings are sure to come rolling in.