The question of cost, when it comes to solar panels, has a number of facets. The most obvious cost for any homeowner is the up-front price of purchasing (or leasing) a solar system. To offset that cost, however, there may be federal, state and local incentives, such as tax credits. Then, it’s important to consider long-term savings on utility bills once the solar system is producing electricity for the home. This means factoring in the average amount of electricity used on a monthly basis and the size and production of the solar system, as well as any shading the home receives and the direction the structure faces.
All can influence the amount of electricity a solar system can generate. The size of the system, the efficiency rating of the solar panels and the degradation rate of the panels all matter, too. In the long term, and depending on the above and other factors, solar systems can potentially save homeowners a considerable amount of money.
A local Installer can help you calculate how much solar panels could save you in your specific home and location if you choose high-quality, high-efficiency solar panels such as those manufactured by REC.
How much do solar panels cost?
The average-sized residential solar system in the United States has decreased in price over the past decade from $40,000 in 2010 to approximately $17,000 today1 – and that $17,000 doesn’t include the 30% federal tax credit you can still get through the end of 2019 (it steps down after 2019). If you factor in the personal savings due to the tax credit, that up- front cost could be considered closer to $11,900.
After an initial investment, most homeowners have very few costs over the lifespan of their systems. However, solar panels are a long- term investment, so it’s important to make sure your panels are covered by a solid manufacturer warranty.
How many solar panels are needed to power a house?
In order to determine how many solar panels you’ll need, your Installer will review how much you currently spend on electricity and how that expense can be offset by investing in solar panel technology. If you invest in a solar system that generates more electricity than your family uses, you might be able to receive compensation for that additional energy from the local utility company when it flows back to the grid. On the other hand, if you consume more energy than your system generates, you will continue to purchase some electricity from the grid.
Choosing the right size system for your energy needs is crucial. For detailed information on what size system your home needs, contact an Installer today. Investing in a high-quality solar system can be a cost-effective energy solution for your family that lasts well into the future.
The initial cost of a system may be significant, but combined with available solar incentives, the savings you experience over the lifetime of your system can provide a strong return on your investment. Remember that after your system pays for itself by offsetting utility bill costs, you are receiving all of the electricity provided by your solar panels essentially for free.
You could also continue to receive energy credits from your utility company, if they are available in your community. Payback times for solar systems differ depending on the variables we’ve discussed, but a strong motivator for investing in solar energy is the financial return on the investment.