The decision to switch to renewable energy in your home should not be made lightly. While residential solar panels are more popular now than ever before and boast multiple benefits—including savings on electricity bills and a more sustainable home, many homeowners are put off by high solar panel cost. Before taking the leap into solar, researching its pros and cons is essential. Here we take a look at a few of the top concerns surrounding residential solar in order to determine whether solar really is worth the cost.
Solar across the country
While everyone knows that solar panels give you the most bang for your buck in sunny areas, homeowners who live in more temperate climates think that installing solar will provide little to no return in terms of energy savings. Contrary to this belief, solar power actually works just as well in areas that have fewer sunny days. Without getting too technical, the important things to consider here are the direction, efficiency, and total annual output of your panels. So if you have previously rejected the notion of solar panels for your home because of your geographic location, it might be time to revisit the idea.
Choosing the right brand for you
As with any consumer product, the discrepancy in pricing between solar panels from different companies can be substantial. Shopping around for the best product for your home at the best price can help save you as much money as possible during both the installation and lifetime of your solar panels. Comparing the cost of going solar across a variety of local and national companies can help you find a deal that is right for you and your home. Prices will vary depending on the size and type of panels you choose to install, your local area, and the installation company itself (bigger companies don’t always give the best deals), so make sure to do some research and weigh your options.
Get a discount
After you’ve found a solar installation company that will give you a good deal on a product that is right for you and your home, you might be surprised to find out that there are more savings to be had for residential solar users. Finding out about local and national grants and incentives for renewable energy products can ease the financial burden even more and perhaps sway your solar vote to the ‘aye’ column. The Investment Tax Credit is a national government-funded solar tax incentive scheme that saves you 30% on the total solar panel cost and is available to all residential solar owners across the country. Other grants may be available for your local area, so it’s a good idea to check with your local government before you purchase. Finally, consider the way you want to pay for your solar panels: paying in full up front generally offers the highest savings when compared with taking out a loan or paying in installments, but choosing the payback option that is best for you and your budget is always a good idea.
Estimate your savings
Before you make your final decision, take the time to calculate approximate solar panel cost savings for your chosen solar unit – making sure to factor in your regular energy bills and the local solar market. This task may seem daunting at first, but there are several handy tools you can use to simplify the process. Local solar contractors from reputable companies should also be able to estimate your savings based on local data and past statistics. Remember, electricity rates vary according to the size of your house and the area you live in, so getting a quote that is unique to you will help narrow down what may seem like a long list of indecipherable figures.
After all is said and done, you are the only one who can decide whether the initial solar panel cost will be worth it for your home. Researching products, cost variances, tax incentives, and energy savings will take some time and effort, but can provide you with the information you need to make an informed and careful decision.
Courtesy of Ryan Martin / Money Pit