What is the Cost of Solar? 7 Things You Should Know

Source: cnet.com

Did you know that solar energy is the most abundant energy source on earth? The cost of solar power is a lot less than traditional electricity. So, if you’re thinking of solar to lower your utility bills, you’re in the right place.

Read on to learn more about solar costs and how you can reduce them.

Which Factors Affect the Cost of Solar?

The price of a solar panel system is influenced by a variety of factors. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of those factors, check it out.

1. Solar Panel Companies

The company you choose to install your solar panels is the biggest determinant regarding the price you pay. Some companies provide similar services and equipment for vastly different prices.

The first step is to research your local solar companies to find out their prices.

2. Number, Weight, and Size of the Panels

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Apart from the prices of each individual solar panel company you contact, the next determining factor is the amount of equipment you need. When it comes to solar power, one size does not fit all; different households have different energy needs.

The info you need to know to calculate how many panels you need is:

  • Average household energy uses
  • How much open space is on your roof
  • How many hours of sun does your home get?

Households with high energy needs usually require more (or larger) panels. Homes in shady areas with little sun might need more panels than homes in places with a lot of constant sunlight.

3. Federal Tax Credits

People who install a solar panel system are usually eligible for a tax credit which lowers their overall tax bill. The ITC, or Investment Tax Credit, is available until 12/21/23 for new solar panel systems.

It may be available afterward, but the US Congress needs to extend the program.

4. The Type of Panels

If you thought there was only one type of solar panel, think again. There are three main types of solar panels: polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and thin film.

The most energy-efficient panels are monocrystalline, which costs roughly $1.5 per watt. The second best, polycrystalline, costs about $1 per watt, and thin film costs about $1 to $1.50.

5. Solar Panel Manufacturer

Like all manufactured products, solar panels are produced at varying levels of quality. The cost is influenced by the manufacturer before it ever reaches the installation companies.

The higher the quality of the solar panel, the higher the price.

6. Solar Panel Location

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Not only does the type of solar panel affect the price, but where you live affects the price, too. The value of subsidies and credits differs from state to state. Check with your state to see what they offer.

7. The Angle of Your Roof

The more difficult the job, the more it’s going to cost. Most solar panel installation services charge more for difficult roofs. The cost of your solar panel system depends a lot on the type of roof you have.

If it has a lot of angles and little place to stand easily, it might end up costing you more.

How Much Money Do Solar Panels Save?

Solar panels present an upfront cost which makes it difficult to see the savings. Generally speaking, you need to use your panels for a while before the savings start to add up.

On average, solar panels may save you between $1,000 and $1,700 per year, depending on the state in which you live, your energy uses, sun exposure, etc.

Your first few utility bills reflect the change in energy usage and should be less than what you’ve been paying. Keep in mind solar panel systems save money over the long term. If you live in Texas and you’ve recently made the switch to solar energy, you can check out this texas electricity rates chart as a point of comparison.

How Do You Pay for Solar Panels?

Source: forbes.com

Depending on your energy needs, your solar costs for installation will vary quite a bit. However, there are several options to pay for solar panels.

1. Cash

Ah, cash. It’s plain; it’s simple, and pretty much everyone accepts it. If you have enough cash on hand, it’s the easiest way to pay for your panels.

2. Loans

If like many people, you don’t have several thousand dollars lying around, a solar loan might work for you. You can usually have the panels installed via a down payment so you can start taking advantage of your savings right away.

Payment plans include interest, which eats into your utility bill savings. If you get a loan to pay for your solar panel system, try to pay it off fast.

3. Renting

You don’t always have to buy your solar panels; it’s possible to rent them instead. Renting is only available through Tesla, and since you aren’t buying them, you won’t receive any tax rebates or incentives. However, if you move around a lot, renting your solar panels might be better than buying them.

How are Solar Panels Installed?

Source: forbes.com

There are many considerations to make if you decide to have solar power. For a more in-depth explanation of what exactly installation entails, speak with a solar energy consultant.

1. Compatibility Check

Your home must be ready before any installation begins. Your roof needs to be large enough to have space for the required amount of panels, sturdy enough to support them, and in good condition.

2. Choose the System

Once your house has been deemed compatible, you need to choose the size of the system you want for your home. You can choose to go with panels that provide enough power to run a few appliances to generating enough power to sell back to the power company.

3. Obtain Permits

Construction and add-ons usually require permits. Solar panels do, too.

4. Look for Incentives

Look up and apply for programs that are designed to reduce solar costs. They differ by locality and by state, so make sure you’re looking in the right place.

5. Installing

It’s finally time to install your solar panel system. The racking system, panels, heat sink, battery bank, power inverter, energy meter, and charge controller.

If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always hire a solar installation company in your locale.

The Cost of Solar Varies

The cost of solar is affected by many things. The size of the system, type of panels, location, and more. Ultimately, installing solar panels saves most people money in the long term.

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