Solar energy is a renewable, clean, and sustainable energy source that is becoming increasingly popular as the cost of solar panels continues to decline. Solar panels can be installed on homes and businesses to generate electricity, which can help to reduce or eliminate electricity bills. In addition to the financial benefits, solar energy also has several environmental benefits, such as reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
This article will discuss the benefits of solar panels, the return on investment (ROI) of solar panels, and some different types of solar systems available.
What are the benefits of solar panels?
Solar panels offer several benefits, including:
- Solar panels reduce electricity bills: Electricity bills can account for a significant amount of your monthly expenses. With a solar panel system, you will create free power for the entire 25+ year lifespan of your system. Even if you don’t produce 100% of the energy you use, solar reduces your electricity bills, which means you save a lot of money.
- Solar panels increase property value: Studies have indicated that solar-powered homes sell for more than non-solar-powered properties. And when you consider that solar allows you to cut or eliminate your electricity expenses, it’s easy to see why. This is because solar panels make your home more energy-efficient and attractive to potential buyers.
- Environmental benefits: Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source that does not produce greenhouse gases or other pollutants. By switching to solar power, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment. The electric sector contributes to 27% of America’s carbon emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Carbon emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants contribute to local air pollution in locations around power stations.
You may lessen your environmental impact by adding solar panels. Installing a solar panel system on your home allows you to avoid purchasing carbon-emitting electricity from the grid by drawing directly from your solar panels. Even if you’re not consuming solar energy right now, you’re reducing the need for carbon-emitting generating by putting it on the grid. A typical domestic solar panel system will reduce carbon emissions by three to four tons per year, which is the equivalent of planting more than 100 trees each year.
- Solar panels provide a high return on investment: Solar is one of the most beneficial investments you can make. The average American solar buyer receives a return on investment (ROI) of 20% or higher, with most solar panel systems paying for themselves multiple times during their decades-long lifespan. Try getting that return on investment from equities!
ROI of Solar Panels
The ROI of solar panels depends on several factors, such as the cost of electricity in your area, the size of your solar system, and the amount of sunlight that your home or business receives. However, in general, solar panels can provide a good ROI over time.
According to ConsumerAffairs, the average ROI for solar panels in the United States is about 10%. However, the ROI can be much higher in some areas. For example, in California, the average ROI for solar panels is about 20%.
A positive ROI means that the amount of money you save on energy bills or make from your solar panels will be greater than the initial investment cost throughout the lifetime of your solar panels, which is usually between 25 and 35 years. Crossing that threshold normally takes approximately 10 years with the federal solar tax credit and around 13 years without it.
How to Determine Your Solar ROI
To calculate your solar ROI, follow these steps.
Compile your initial expenses.
Add up the total cost of equipment and installation to get an idea of how much your solar energy system will cost you. This includes everything from solar panels, wiring, inverters, and batteries to labor, permit fees, taxes, and inspections.
Consider tax incentives or credits.
Many states provide tax credits or incentives for homeowners that install solar panels, such as property tax exemptions and cash rebates, which can drastically lower your expenditures. Determine whether your state offers such programs and account for them in your calculations.
Calculate your potential energy savings.
Your electricity prices will be determined by factors such as where you reside, the size of your home, and your energy consumption, so look into average rates in your area or analyze your most recent utility bills to determine how much you’re now spending for electricity.
You should also anticipate what you’ll pay in future years based on recent energy bill trends and expected rate hikes from your electricity provider over time.
Total your total savings over the life of your solar panels and add them together.
Use this formula to calculate your ROI.
ROI = ((total savings minus total cost) / total cost) multiplied by 100
Divide your net savings by your total upfront cost, then multiply by 100. The product is a percentage representation of the predicted ROI of your home’s solar panel system.
For example, if you spend $20,000 on a solar panel system and save $30,000 in energy expenses ($1,200 per year) over 25 years, your ROI is 50%.
Types of Solar Systems
There are two main types of solar systems: grid-tied solar systems and off-grid solar systems.
- Grid-tied solar systems: Grid-tied solar systems are connected to the utility grid. This means that when your solar panels generate more electricity than you need, you can sell the excess electricity back to the utility company.
- Off-grid solar systems: Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the utility grid. This means that you need to store the electricity that your solar panels generate in batteries so that you can use it at night or when the sun is not shining.
Which Type of Solar System is Right for You?
The type of solar system that is right for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances. If you want to reduce your electricity bills and increase the value of your home, then a grid-tied solar system is a suitable option. If you intend to be more energy independent, or you live in an area with frequent power outages, then an off-grid solar system may be a better option for you.
The power of solar extends far beyond cost savings. It’s a transformative journey that offers significant returns on your investment. By understanding the price of solar panels and the numerous factors that impact it, you can make an informed decision that not only benefits your wallet but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable future for all.