There are a lot of things to consider when using a solar powered home. For some people, the pros outweigh the cons, while for others it is just the opposite. Read on to find out which category you fall into.
Benefits of solar panels
They are good for the environment – Solar energy is renewable. Its use reduces greenhouse emissions associated with fossil fuels. They also reduce demand for coal.
They are less expensive than conventional power – The average solar panel costs $23 per watt, while coal powered electricity costs around $100 per watt. If you have a high electricity bill, then you could break even in 10 years.
- They are reliable – Solar panels create electricity no matter what the weather conditions are like. You won’t have to worry about blackouts in the winter when it’s colder outside, or in the summer when everyone turns on their air conditioners.
- They help homeowners save money – As previously mentioned, solar panels are less expensive than conventional power. You may be able to sell excess electricity back to the utility company, which lowers your monthly bill.
- They are easy to install – Solar panels can usually fit on a roof without disrupting anything else. If you combine this with energy efficient appliances, then you’ll end up using much less energy overall. However, there is a caveat to this: if your roof is old and leaky, then the cost of damaged items inside your home could make installing solar panels a losing proposition.
- They increase property value – The average homeowner will spend $16,000 on electricity over 20 years. If you can reduce that by half, you’re saving $8000. Additionally, homes with solar panels sell for an extra $2000 or more than similar homes without them. You may also be eligible for tax credits and rebates from the government.
- They reduce environmental impact – Solar panels use what is called a lot-feed in tariff, which means that the government pays you for every kWh you produce. This makes sense because your electricity isn’t coming from a coal plant or from some foreign country. It comes from your own roof!
- Energy independence – If you have a home business, then solar panels can let you work from home. No longer will you need to drive 50 miles just to work in your home office for a few hours. You could also save money by only running the air conditioner when necessary instead of having it run all day long just because you’re at home.
Cons of solar panels
As stated earlier, over 20 years the average homeowner will spend $16,000 on electricity. However, solar panels have a lifespan of only 20 to 25 years. If you think about it, this works out to be about $8000 per year or so. In other words, if something unexpected happens where you have to replace your panels before they die naturally then the initial money saved by going solar may be negated.
You may not be able to sell electricity back to the utility company
Every state is different when it comes to this. In some places though, you won’t get anything for your excess power. The reality is that in most cases you’ll end up with a net increase in your monthly bill because of solar panels (this cost could be anywhere from $2 to $5 per month).
They don’t work well during winter
If you live in an area where it’s cold outside, then there will naturally be less sunlight and therefore less electricity produced. This means that during the winter months, you’ll have no choice but to remain connected to the grid at least part time so you can use more energy than usual.
Little or no tax incentives
Although there are some federal tax credits available, most states don’t offer anything. Also, if you plan on living in your home for over 20 years then you won’t be able to take advantage of the full rebate. To make matters worse, many homeowners who do get tax credits end up using them to reduce their taxable income rather than getting a check from the government every year.
Should you install solar panels?
For most people, the answer to this question is no. However, you may want to consider solar panels if…
You live in a sunny area
Solar power makes sense in places like California and Arizona. Otherwise, don’t bother!
You plan on living in your home for 20 years or longer
The average lifespan of solar panels is 20 to 25 years. If you stay in your home longer than that then it may be worthwhile. On the other hand, if you plan on selling your house within that time frame, don’t bother…
You can get a tax rebate or credit
States like California and Hawaii offer up to $2,000 per year in tax credits for installing solar panels. The federal government is also giving out around $25 billion in tax credits over the next 10 years.
You want to go “off grid”
If you plan on living off the national power grid then this is definitely something you should consider. No longer will you need to buy electricity from your utility company or pay high electric bills once you have solar panels.
The pros of solar panels outweigh the cons, but it still may not be right for your lifestyle. If you’re interested in looking into the technology more then definitely do so before making a decision!
What if I live in an area where the grid power is dirt cheap? Should I still go for solar panels?
No. It doesn’t make sense to invest in solar panels unless you can sell excess energy back to your utility company or get a tax rebate. If you plan on living off the grid, however, then it’s definitely something you should look into more.
Is there any way to find out how much power my house would produce?
There are several free websites where you can input your home’s location, the angle it faces towards the sun, and approximate roof size. Then, using a tool called “insolation” you’ll be able to see exactly how many hours of sunlight fall on your roof. This will give you a general idea of how much electricity you could expect to generate with solar panels installed.
What will happen if I install solar panels but then move?
If you have a classic house with no home equity, then there’s a good chance that the new owner may remove your panels and sell them for a profit. This is because you won’t get any type of tax credit or rebate that would help pay for the panels in the future.
However, if you have a new or highly-appraised home then the new owner should be forced to leave all of your solar equipment intact.
How much do solar panels cost?
The basic answer is around $4,000 although it can range anywhere from $1,800 to over $7,000. However, there’s a good chance you won’t have to pay full price. In fact, the average tax credits available for homeowners is around $2,000 a year. That means you can take that money from the government and use it towards your solar panels!
On top of that, many states offer additional incentives or rebates on top of what’s offered by the federal government. All in all, you’ll probably only spend about $2,000-$3,000 after all is said and done.
Using solar panels to power your entire home is a great way to save money on energy. However, it may not be right for everyone.
Many homeowners are actually better off using their tax rebate or credit towards other things like a new pool or hot tub. And while solar panels offer a lot of benefits, it’s important to carefully weigh your options before investing in them.
Solar panels are the wave of the future. They’re great for the environment, can save you money on your electric bill, and may even increase your home’s resale value!
If you’ve ever considered getting solar panels for your home, then now is the time to do so. The federal government is offering huge rebates and tax credits on these systems, and states like California are giving out additional incentives.