Should I Get Solar Panels For My House?

Anna BaluchDecember 13, 2019

If you’ve been asking yourself whether you should get solar panels, our quick rundown could help you make that decision. As a general guideline, the more you pay in electricity, the sunnier your location and the greater the financial incentives, the better the case for going solar.

Benefits Of Solar Energy For You

Lowered Electric Bills

The typical solar panel system life cycle is 25 years. That’s a long time of getting free energy. Even if your system doesn’t produce 100% of the energy you use, solar will greatly reduce your monthly electric bill.

In some cases, solar will produce more energy than you use – giving you the option of selling that extra energy to your electric provider. Due to the electricity savings, the average American homeowner pays off their solar system in 7 to 8 years with a return on investment of 20% or more!

Hedge Against Rising Energy Costs

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, residential electricity prices are expected to go up by 1% in 2020. By investing in a solar system, you protect yourself against future increases in electricity costs.

Increase Your Property Value

As home buyers become more educated on solar – and appraisers increasingly take solar installations into account when determining the value of a home – property values are starting to reflect the increased worth that such a system brings to a home.

Qualify For Tax Incentives

If you make the switch to solar, you can save money on your taxes with the IRS tax incentive. In 2020, the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit will allow you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar system from your taxes.

Benefits Of Solar Energy For Your Community

Increase U.S. Energy Independence

By decreasing your reliance on traditional energy sources, you help the country defend itself against price fluctuations in global energy markets.

Create Jobs

According to the Solar Foundation’s 2019 Job Census, there are over 240,000 jobs in the solar industry. Believe it or not, the solar industry has brought about an average of a quarter-million jobs every year over the last 3 years. These jobs tend to be higher-paying and don’t get outsourced.

Help The Environment

If reducing your carbon footprint is important, solar panels for your home could be the answer. A typical residential solar system eliminates 3 – 4 tons of carbon emissions a year. That is the same elimination that would come from planting 100 trees annually.

Can I Afford To Go Solar?

Purchasing Solar Panels

Your price of installation will vary based on the number of panels you need for your energy consumption, your local climate, and other factors. A great place to start is by calling a local contractor. They will be able to tailor a system just right for you.

Leasing Or Financing A Solar System

If purchasing a solar system is not right for you, a leasing plan or solar plan may just be the answer. With a leasing plan, you rent a system and still save on your energy bills – oftentimes with $0 down and no installation costs.

Solar Power Purchase Agreement

Another option would be a solar PPA. A developer installs and owns the solar system on your home. You agree to purchase the power generated by the system – typically at a discounted rate that is lower than your local utility retail rate. The main benefit of this is that often there is no cost or a low upfront cost on your end.

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Run A House?

The size of your house and energy consumption will determine how many solar panels are required to run it. Let’s say you live in an average 2,000-square-foot home and consume about 11,000 kilowatt hours per year.

If you divide the number of kilowatt hours by the average solar panel wattage, which is 250, you’ll find that 44 panels are needed to run your house. Of course, the larger your home is and the more energy you’ll use, the more solar panels you’ll need.

Can You Run Your Whole House On Solar Power?

While it’s possible to run your whole house on solar power, it’s not an option for every homeowner. It takes some planning and lifestyle changes. Here are several things to consider if you’d like to go this route:

●     House location: If your home is in a location that gets lots of sunshine and minimal shade, running it solely on solar power may be a viable option.

●     Roof condition: Since more panels means more weight on your roof, your roof needs to be in optimal shape. If your roof needs to be replaced in the near future, be sure to take care of this before you add solar panels.

●     Energy needs: Ask yourself how much energy you and your family use every day. Do you love to keep the air conditioning up in the summer and crank up the heat in the winter? If so, you’ll need to reduce your energy consumption prior to going solar.

Do You Really Save Money With Solar Panels?

Solar panels can save you money. However, the amount you’ll save will depend on a number of factors. The size and angle of your roof, as well as electricity in your local area, will play the most significant role in how much you can save with solar panels.

In most cases, homeowners save $600 – $800 per year by going solar. If you plan on living in your home for a long time, the cost of solar panels is almost always worth it.

Making The Case For Solar

So, are solar panels worth it? As a rough guideline: If your roof pitch faces the south, southeast or southwest and you pay at least 12 – 13 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity, solar panels could be a good option. But before making that final decision get quotes from multiple installers in your area, don’t forget to ask about warranties and required maintenance for the system.

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    Anna Baluch

    Anna Baluch is a freelance writer from Cleveland, OH who enjoys writing about all real estate and personal finance topics. Her work can be seen on LendingTree, Business Insider, Experian and other well-known publications.