As the cost of living continues to skyrocket, smart homeowners are searching for ways to create savings wherever possible. The installation of solar panels is an increasingly popular way to lower bills, with the added benefit of aiding in the fight against climate change.
Solar panels have such a large and growing appeal due to their potential reduction of energy costs, the security of greater energy autonomy and the opportunity to join the alternative energy community — but do solar panels live up to the hype? Are they worth the investment?
While the solar panel pros far outweigh the cons in most cases, there are some factors that need to be examined to know if this energy source is right for your home.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels, or solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, are not new technology. The photovoltaic effect was observed and discovered in 1839, and the first solar panel was created in 1881 by Charles Fritts. Scientists have pursued ways to harness this natural energy source ever since.
Over the past several decades, trusted manufacturers throughout the Midwest and beyond have designed residential-friendly solar panel systems that contain PV cells that, when aimed toward sunlight, collect the sun’s energy and turn it into practically usable electrical charges and electric flow.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
The average cost of the purchase and installation of solar panels can run from $15,000 to $25,000, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy. It’s important to start the process by reviewing your electricity bill and exploring incentives that can reduce the costs over time. Keep in mind that many solar panel companies are offering incentives to local homeowners for $0-down financing, so it’s worth exploring the upfront and tax savings when you research local solar companies near me.
The federal tax credit offers you a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax debt. This means, for example, that if you claim $1,000 in federal tax credit, you’ll lower your tax bill by $1,000. Also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), the federal tax credit has become as beneficial to the government and solar panel companies as it is to the homeowner, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in the U.S. economy, which helps homeowners, too.
Finally, the solar panel system might feed into a bank of batteries, allowing for electricity storage during cloudy conditions or overnight. In some cases, though, the energy might feed back into the home’s energy grid, providing energy to the local utility company, which can result in profit for the homeowner.
Your Home’s Location and Build Make a Difference
Your location in the U.S. makes a significant difference in how effective a solar panel system will be for your home. Some states receive more sun exposure than others, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, Florida and New Mexico. That doesn’t mean you should discount the other states, especially those that have dedicated solar panel manufacturers working to ensure you get the most out of your PV system.
States like Illinois get an average of 198 sunny days per year, which is barely below the 205-day national average. What’s more important in states with less average sunlight is a home’s structural build and its roof slant. Roofs angled toward the sun’s natural path will be more efficient and well worth investing in solar panels. Therefore, if you own a home with a south-facing or west-facing roof, you will gain the most significant solar advantages.
Even if you have structural issues, reputable solar panel manufacturers and installers can work with you to find a workable solution.
Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment?
Although you do have some logistical issues to consider when thinking about solar energy, the benefits make solar panels worth it all. You will enjoy a boost in your home’s value and tax rebates while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and your carbon footprint — and with the right local seller, you can enjoy immediate incentives for installation, a chance to reduce your tax bill and warranties of up to 25 years.