Going solar is a balancing act between hefty up-front costs and potential savings. You can protect yourself against future utility rate hikes by locking your energy costs with a home solar system. Key factors determine your total system cost, including hardware and soft costs. These include your home’s electrical demand and panel choice.
Your average solar panel costs will depend on your location and energy needs. Online calculators can help you determine what size system suits your home and what energy savings you’ll see from the panels. Your roof’s pitch and access to the area for installation can also affect the price of your solar panel system.
If pros need to work on a steep, tree-covered, or otherwise challenging rooftop, it can add up to more than you expect. Finally, local solar incentives can also affect the cost of your new system. These vary by state, including rebates, tax credits, or property tax exemptions.
Considering all these factors will help you decide if solar is worth it. But the most important thing is to understand how your electricity costs and usage will be affected by your switch to solar and if your system can offset or eliminate them. If so, it’s a wise financial decision.
Cost of Panels
Solar panels are one of the most significant costs homeowners must consider when switching to solar. This includes hardware (panels) and soft costs, such as installation and permitting fees. The type of solar panel used will also impact the overall system cost.
Thin-film solar panels, for instance, are cheaper to install and require less maintenance than crystalline options but may not produce as much energy. Panel size is another factor that impacts the total system cost, as larger systems use more panels and produce more energy.
Lastly, homeowners must consider federal and state solar incentives to make going solar even more affordable. For instance, the federal investment tax credit (ITC) allows homeowners to deduct up to 30 percent of the cost of their solar power system from their taxes. This helps reduce the initial upfront cost and can be combined with other rebates for a more streamlined solar panel installation.
Solar panels are a long-term investment, but you can still install them and never worry about them again. Getting them cleaned and inspected by professionals is essential to maintaining your system’s performance and reducing overall costs.
Cleaning and inspection prices can vary based on where the solar panels are located, their size, and whether or not they’re rooftop or ground-mounted. A steeper roof can add to the price since contractors must use scaffolding to access the panels.
In addition, a more extensive array of panels will take up more space and require more time for inspection and cleaning. Many homeowners proactively purchase a maintenance plan for their solar panel installation, saving them on annual cleaning and inspection costs.
These are usually bundled with the system’s warranty, protecting the solar panels against unforeseen damage like hail and hurricanes. These types of warranties can range from 10 to 25 years and are in addition to the manufacturer’s warranties on the solar panels.
Solar homeowners can save even more on energy costs by adding a home battery to their system. These batteries allow homeowners to pull energy from their system when their utility company charges more for power, such as during peak hours or a grid outage.
Solar battery systems cost between $8,000 and $13,000 installed on average (before tax credits), depending on size and brand. These systems can also be purchased under a complete payment option where the homeowner owns the system, allowing them to qualify for incentives such as the 30% Residential Clean Energy Credit until 2032.
When added to a solar panel system, a home battery can reduce the time it takes for homeowners to break even. This is because it provides homeowners with around-the-clock electricity, essential for those on time-of-use rates or whose utilities use demand charges.
The additional benefit of this feature is that it also gives homeowners energy independence by reducing their reliance on the grid. As a result, many states have special exemptions on solar battery sales and installation.
Solar panels sit on your roof quietly and generate electricity from the sun each day. That’s great, but knowing what’s happening with your system can be challenging if you need a solar monitoring solution.
Solar energy monitoring systems use sensors to track the power production of each panel in your system. The data is then sent to a communication device like a gateway via hardwiring, wifi, or cellular technology.
The gathered information will help you make informed decisions about your solar system and how it is performing. It will also provide a detailed breakdown of your kWh consumption and help you understand variations in your electricity bill and usage patterns over time.
Additionally, solar energy monitoring can help you optimize when to use your electricity-hungry appliances and avoid peak demand hours.