The cost of energy from the national grid seems to be increasing daily, and it, therefore, appears prudent to look for alternatives. Also, there has been a powerful, relentless drive towards clean energy, which will tag the environmentalist cords on your heart. Solar energy is a popular way to saving a buck and show kindness to the environment.
Whether installing a solar power system at home or business premises is a financially sound decision is a million-dollar question. Unfortunately, the question doesn’t have a straightforward answer.
You need to determine whether your current cost of energy warrants solar installation in the following steps.
Study Your Solar Energy Needs
The cost of electricity varies from place to place, but the national average is 13 p/KWH. It can go as low as 8p or and as high as 20p depending on location. It is prudent, at this point of your inquiry, to examine your power usage at home.
Determine if you can withdraw or replace some appliances with some others with lower consumption. If the cost of replacing appliances is lower than the cost of installing solar, then you might want to go with that option.
Energy prices fluctuate depending on the state of the industry locally and internationally. Therefore, your focus shouldn’t be just on what is happening now and on what will happen in the future.
Your personal decisions may cause the fluctuation of your energy needs. Are you likely to engage in energy-intensive activities in the future? Consider all these factors when making the decision.
At this point, you need to gather as much relevant information as possible to help you make this decision. An online Solar Calculator can indicate how much you can save, but it isn’t adequate. It is prudent to engage the services of an industry expert to help you with this evaluation.
Consider the Amount of Sunlight per Day
If your energy needs warrant installing a solar system, you need to be sure there is enough of it. Where the sunshine is abundant, you will have sufficient energy to enable you to eliminate all other sources of power.
States like California and Arizona, and others in the southwest have more sunlight than the rest.
The amount of sunlight available to you is also determined by the orientation of your home. The best way is to have your solar panels facing south as this will expose them to sunlight for long.
It is imperative that the panels be exposed between 10 am – 4 pm. You should remove any obstacles, such as trees blocking the trees.
Check and Compare the Cost of Solar Panels
The greatest cost in this project is the purchase and installation of equipment. The cost of installing a solar power system in a typical home ranges between $15,000 and $25,000 before taxes. This figure may seem daunting but remember the panels have a useful life of between twenty-five and forty years. Your real gain will be the money you save in power bills over time.
Remember that you calculated your energy costs, and you can work out whether you will make a saving at the end of the day.
There are a few factors to consider when buying a panel that might help you save some money.
Get multiple quotes and be wary of big players
Buying solar panels and accessories is a big-ticket purchase. Conduct thorough research before spending. Many large installers inflate their prices, and it is prudent to avoid them as much as you can.
The government’s research shows that bigger outfits are $2000 to $5000 more expensive than those offered in smaller establishments.
The allure of the big company is strong because people tend to think they are more knowledgeable. However, many smaller outfits sell at lower prices and offer better after-sales services.
It is prudent to get several quotes; even the US government, through National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), advises people to get quotes from various sellers to save money.
Compare the equipment each seller offers
Equipment plays an essential role in determining your power output. Many sellers with a national reach fail to meet the needs again.
Despite selling at higher prices, they offer you a smaller variety of equipment – including solar panels – for you to choose from. This might inhibit your ability to enjoy the benefits of your investment.
Getting quotes from different sellers enables you to see the different equipment on offer. You will also get different solar panels. Some of them will have better efficiency ratings than others, often at lower prices. The key to making this process worthwhile is doing a lot of window shopping.
Take Advantage of Government Incentives
Governments at all levels have been working to incentivize citizens to use solar power. Some of these incentives include significant tax credits. For example, in 2020, the Federal Government allowed any taxpayer who installed solar power to claim 26% of the amount spent in tax credits.
The percentage goes down to 22% in 2021. These are significant amounts depending on the installation cost, and it may clear your tax bill for you or reduce it considerably.
These benefits vary with changes in time and location. For example, the federal tax credit for solar installation ends on 31st December 2021.
Different states and cities may also give their incentives. Look out for them and claim them they will go a long way in making solar worth it for you.
One can only answer the question of whether solar is worth it or not on a case-by-case basis. Considering all factors above will help you get the most out of your solar installation.
Time is one of the factors that will determine how much you save through your solar installation. The longer you use solar, the more money you will save. You should therefore make the purchase and install your solar system as soon as you are ready.
Installing a solar power system early is a shrewd move because governments are likely to withdraw incentives as solar becomes more popular. Install when you can still get some tax credits from the government.