While solar panels reduce your electricity costs, you will still have to pay some utility charges. These include meter readings, equipment, and billing.
Your local utility may also offer net metering policies that allow you to sell any excess energy back to them for credits on your electric bill.
Other solar incentives can also reduce your upfront cost and shorten your panel payback period.
Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Solar energy systems generate electricity from the sun and provide homeowners with long-term savings. These savings can be significant enough to offset the upfront costs of a home solar system and increase your property value.
Local electricity rates and your utility company’s net metering policy determine how much you save money with solar panels. Depending on your location, your home’s roof, and your usage trends, you may recoup the upfront costs of your solar panel system in as little as a few years.
To lower your bills even more, you can install a battery storage system or energy management software to optimize household energy consumption and reduce the amount of power drawn from the grid at night and on cloudy days. This can also help you avoid the increasing utility rate tiers many homeowners experience when using grid energy.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The production of solar panels generates a substantial amount of greenhouse gas, which energy savings can offset from using them. A solar panel, or module, consists of a series of silicon solar cells covered by a sheet of glass and held together by a metal frame. Each forum produces a certain number of kilowatt-hours of electricity each month. This wattage is converted to kilowatt-hours per year when you are billed for the power your system has by your utility company.
The more sunlight hits your property, the more energy your solar panels can generate. This can cut and, in some situations, eliminate your energy use.
You can determine how much you would save with a solar installation by looking at your utility bill or visiting an online tool. Once you know your energy consumption, you can compare quotes from local contractors by reviewing customer reviews, certifications, and Better Business Bureau profiles. Additionally, check the online database of state and local incentives to see what credits are available.
Lower Your Utility Bills
When the sun shines, solar panels generate power, which can help you save money on your utility costs. However, your home will continue to rely on grid power during overcast days or at night.
Your local utility company may offer a net metering policy, which credits you for any excess energy your solar panels send back to the grid. The credits you receive can then be used to offset the electricity you consume from the grid at a later time.
Whether you purchase your solar panel system upfront with cash or choose to finance it, the savings on your electricity bills will add up over the years. The savings are even more significant if you have battery storage installed.
You can save on your electricity costs even more with a Time-of-Use rate plan, which gives you lower rates for using less energy during peak hours. Solar also protects you from rising electricity rates in the future.
Increase Your Home’s Value
Aside from reducing your carbon footprint and utility bills, solar panels are also a great way to increase your home’s value. Real estate agents and appraisers agree that homes with solar energy systems sell faster than those without, primarily because buyers are willing to pay more for energy-efficient homes.
In addition, a solar panel system that is sized correctly can save you money even when the sun isn’t shining. When electricity isn’t needed, the system can switch seamlessly between using your panels’ power and importing energy from the grid.
However, the amount of solar energy your system generates depends on many factors, including where you live and the angle of your roof. Your solar panels are more effective when facing south, and they can’t produce as much energy if trees or tall buildings shade your roof. If you plan on selling your home, ask the seller for complete documentation of your solar panel system, including warranty coverage and maintenance records. This information will help a potential buyer make an informed decision and ensure the continued performance of your system.
Add Value to Your Home
While solar panels require upfront costs, they can quickly pay off in a few years. They also protect against increasing grid electricity rates.
Solar panel systems often produce more electricity than your home needs, which can save you additional money by returning excess energy to the grid for a meter reversal or storing it in a solar battery. You can also take advantage of time-of-use electricity plans that charge lower rates for usage during non-peak hours.
The amount you can save with solar will vary depending on your home’s location, local electricity rates, roof size and tilt, and shading. However, solar panel prices have dropped significantly over the past 20 years and will continue to decrease as more homeowners switch to solar.
Before investing in solar, compare quotes from reputable installers to find the best value for your home. Incentives like the federal tax credit and state rebates can further reduce upfront costs, speeding up your solar panel payback and maximizing savings. You can also search for available incentives on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). If you need help determining whether solar is right for your home, consider asking a consultant to run a free assessment of your current energy usage.