Solar panel technology has been evolving for several decades which has led more and more homeowners to look into how they can use green technology to save both their wallets and the environment. But there are still plenty of people who may not have even considered solar panels for themselves—especially if they live in an area with plenty of cloud coverage. They may not realize just how much more efficient solar panels have become or how much the price has come down. The real value of solar panels can be substantial, but homeowners may have to do some digging to really find out just how much money can be saved.
Starting Up With Solar Panels
It's true that solar panels are a serious investment for any homeowner. The returns on their investment are also heavily dependent upon where the home is located. The retail price to purchase solar panels is about $19,000, and even with tax credits and community incentives, the homeowner will still be out of pocket about $11,000 (on average). In addition, if the home doesn't get enough sunlight to power the home, the residents will have to rely on traditional electricity to power their Boulder home. So there's no use denying that the panels will require a major commitment of time, money, and lifestyle.
For the most part, homeowners should be planning to stay in their home for several years to really get the most out of their panels. But with the way the economy works today, people are moving more so than they ever have before. This can make it difficult for anyone to plan to be in their home for 20 years or more—even if that's what they want. But it's clear that panels can save a homeowner far more than they initially cost if a person can stick it out in the home for that long.
While estimates do vary depending on the source, most experts put the average savings for sunny Southern California at close to $30,000 over 20 years. Even in the cloudier state of Massachusetts, homeowners can expect to save roughly the same amount.
Location of the Solar Panels
Solar is a trend more suitable for certain areas and demographics. Another factor to consider when evaluating a solar system is what area the house is located within. Certain neighborhoods and cities value clean energy more than others, making a solar power system more valuable to the home.
Another important factor determining the value a solar power system brings to your home is how much electricity the system is able to generate. The amount of electricity generated from a system depends heavily on the amount of sunlight available, typical weather patterns, and even the angle of your roof. Additionally, power companies will offer different bids dependent on available power generation.
Tax Credits and Incentives
Part of the return on investment for any homeowner is tied up in the priorities of their neighborhood. Some areas in the US are simply more motivated to implement green technology, and they show it by giving homeowners a very attractive financial boost. The website, DSIRE can tell owners more about their eligibility for opportunities in their area.
Even if solar power seems prohibitively expensive in a certain state, there may be enough credits to substantially bring down the out-of-pocket cost. It's also possible to sell excess power back to the grid at the market rates, which can make it even easier to start seeing the true rewards of solar power.
Buying vs Leasing
Solar is not cheap. Homeowners have the choice of purchasing a system outright, or entering into a leasing contract. If you choose to buy a system it can set you back $12,000-$20,000 which you may not see a full ROI once you sell the home. Another option is to lease a system, however typical contracts will lock you in for up to 15 years, making the transfer to a new homeowner tricky.
Homeowners who can't shell out five figures for panels regardless of how much they'll save over time may still be able to use the power of the sun to power their home. Community solar is a program where everyone in a neighborhood invests in panels and then collectively shares the benefits. When solar cells are grouped together, like they are with community solar, they're able to generate more power.
Putting everyone on the same system is a way to tap into this additional power so everyone can enjoy equal returns on their investment. So far, community solar is still a somewhat rare program in the US, but this will hopefully change as property owners and neighborhood authorities alike wake up to the possibilities of green energy.
The Seller's Touch
Even people who do need to move unexpectedly may come up short when it comes to their panels. Solar power not only helps distinguish a home from a sea of competition, it can also be one of the top qualities sought out by home buyers. With the green movement only continuing to pick up speed, some people estimate that a homeowner's resale value can be increased by up to $20,000. Not only are homeowners willing to pay to reduce their own carbon footprint, they're also looking to save money on their own utility bills.
Age of the Solar Panel System
Technology is constantly changing and improving, and the same goes for solar power. Simply put, the newer a system, the more desirable, and therefore more valuable it is.
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer on whether or not a solar power system will increase or decrease the value of your home. Solar should be a personal choice on whether or not you want it for your home at the time being!
When it comes to solar panels and their savings, homeowners need to look past the initial costs to both the direct and indirect savings of solar panels. Between neighborhood incentives, utility bills, and the eventual resale value of the home, there are plenty of ways to get more out of solar power.