Residential solar energy installations are on the rise across the U.S. As available technology has dropped in cost, installations have grown more than 1,000 percent from 2006-2013. An increasingly practical and affordable energy option, could solar be a good investment for your home?
The Benefits of Home Solar Energy
Harnessing the sun to provide ‘free,’ clean renewable energy, solar panels could have a dramatic impact in your home energy costs, reducing the need for your home to rely on energy sourced from fossil fuels. With a quick and fairly simple installation that can be accomplished in a matter of days, as the nation’s homes and businesses switch to cleaner, greener technology and energy sources in the fight to slow global climate change, solar energy systems are flying off the shelves at a remarkable rate.
Important Things to Consider When Deciding if You Should Power Your Home with Solar Energy
Is a solar energy system right for your home? Answering these questions can give you keen insight:
- Is there enough available sunlight on your property?
If you live in a cloudy climate or in a neighborhood jam-packed with tall trees, solar panels may not make sense for you. Your local solar panel installation professional, combined with online resources, can help you uncover your solar energy potential, providing estimates of how much solar energy your roof is exposed to.
- Do you have space on a south-facing roof?
This offers the best possible access to the sun’s energy. If you don’t have a south-facing roof or enough roof space, there are other ways, however, including ground-mount solar installations – and community solar gardens if there are others in your immediate area interested in benefitting from a solar investment.
- Does your homeowner’s association allow for solar panels?
Some HOA’s don’t like the appearance of solar panels, making solar energy a non-starter in some neighborhoods.
- What incentives for solar power are available in your area?
Rebates and incentives are often available toward the purchase of clean, green, solar power, including...
- Federal income tax credits.
- State tax credits.
- Local government incentives.
- Utility provider rebates and incentives.
- 100% sales and property tax exemptions in some areas.
- Find incentives in my state through the Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency.
Solar Panels: Are the Savings Worth It?
The cost of solar installations has dropped dramatically, 70 percent over the past 10 years. With an average residential electricity rate of 12.58 cents per kWh and a solar system generating 500kWh per month, savings of $750/year could help you payoff the balance of a solar system swiftly. Homeowners break even on solar system investments in 7.5 years on average, saving extensively thereafter over the long, 25-30 year life of solar systems. Don’t plan on staying in your house that long? Solar additions increase home value and expedite the selling process, exciting buyers with the prospect of seriously shrunken utility bills.