If you’re thinking about solar power for your home, this article is for you!
Some things in life are all about timing. This is especially true with the big things… the purchase of a home or car… a home remodel… or perhaps installing a home solar panel solution. The fact is that knowing when to make a purchase is important. If you’ve been thinking about adding solar power to your home, you are probably at a great time. Solar power has decreased in cost dramatically over the past decade. Electrical rates have risen. Special programs and financing options are now available to make home solar power more affordable. And many rebates and incentives are still being offered. If you are tired of paying high monthly bills for power that harms the environment, maybe it is time to make the move to a brighter future with solar power!
In many cases, the right home solar solution can fully power a home’s electric system. But the installation for enough solar paneling could cost far more than you want to spend. That’s part of the timing. You need to know what you can spend and what you want to spend it on. You also need to explore your options because there are programs and other ways to implement a solar solution that don’t necessarily mean you having to come up with a bunch of cash.
Using electric company power is not getting any cheaper. On average, depending on your location, electrical rates are increasing between 5% and 8% a year. At that rate, in ten years, your cost of electricity could have increased by 50% to 80% or more! When you start taking into account the increasing costs of electricity – as well as the flexibility in plans and financing for solar power, you may find that there is a great option to fit both your electrical needs and your budget.
If you can afford a down payment (not that one is required, but they may help) maybe it is time to think about going all the way with your solar system. The numbers game when it comes to electricity is subjective. Depending on where you live, the company you use, the weather in the area, and your solar capacity, the range you pay for electricity can vary substantially. If you’re looking at a solar solution, you need to first evaluate your situation:
- Review your average monthly cost of electricity.
- Evaluate how much you think electricity will increase over time (the average has been around 6% to 7% or so per year for the past 40 years)
- Use our cost calculator on our home page to see how much your electric bill will cost you over the next 20 years. You may be surprised at what a solar solution will save you!
Let’s say you live in an area where your cost per Kilowatt Hour is around 12 cents (.12/kWh). And your average monthly electric bill is around $300. If you wanted to put in a system that would reduce your electrical usage by 80% (cutting your electric bill to $60 or so a month), that system would probably cost between $30,000 and $37,000.
That sounds like a lot, right?
Well… let’s look at the other side of the equation. You’re saving around $240 a month. Over ten years you’ll save nearly $30,000! And that’s assuming that there is no increase in electricity rates. Add in a 5% annual increase in electrical rates and your 10-year savings jumps dramatically. And that’s just over 10 years.
Over 30 years, assuming modest increases in electricity rates, your home solar power solution could very well save you over $100,000!
Plus the solar solution will probably increase the value of your home and help the environment at the same time. And, depending on where you live, you may find rebates and tax incentives to help you save even more!
Why location matters with solar power:
There are two main reasons to use solar power: To save money and to help save the environment. But depending on where you live, solar power may be less efficient. Making the switch to solar is a great idea, but using solar in Boston, MA is different than in San Diego, CA. So if you want to get the best and most efficient system with solar power, read this article and learn something about location… location… location.
Let’s start with what a solar powered electrical system is. By compiling multiple photovoltaic cells together and adding a little sunlight, one can convert the sun’s energy into electrical power for their home. A photovoltaic (PV) cell is a semi-conductor coated with an anti-reflective material that draws in sunlight. By drawing in sunlight a PV cell is able to convert the energy in light and convert it into electricity by collecting and redistributing electrons broken apart by the conducting process. What all of this comes down to meaning is that sunlight is essential to the efficiency and functionality of a PV cell system (which is what most commercially available solar panels are made of). Did you know that different parts of the country get more sunlight than others? It is probably obvious, but did you now that the difference could be upwards of 5 hours of sunlight in a day, which is a difference of more than 5,000 watts of power a day. You may also not be aware that solar power systems work on cloudy days as well as on sunny ones. They’re just less efficient on days when there is cloud cover.
So if saving money is the key to a quick transition for you, think about where you live and what kind of weather your area experiences. Let’s take two realistic but opposite locations in the country San Diego, CA and Detroit, MI. You can check a solar map, like this one, and what it will tell you is that these two parts of the country experience very different amounts of solar energy use.
Now…if you live in or around Michigan, don’t lose hope yet. All it means is that you might need to take some extra steps to making solar worth it. Most of the country is just fine for using solar, but the parts that aren’t require more solar products for the system. You may want to add a battery to hold a charge. Once light is converted into electricity it can be stored in a battery for use when there is no sunlight. But this isn’t necessary. Most solar systems today keep you home connected to the electric grid for times when your solar power system isn’t generating enough electricity to power your home.
This doesn’t have to be all about how effective solar power is though. For example, did you know that just living in certain areas requires you to pay more or less on your electricity bill? For example, look here at the national average by state. Solar can be a truly viable option for saving money in states like Hawaii and California where electricity is high and sunlight is never scarce. But it may also probably makes sense in more northerly regions where, even though sunlight is more scarce, utility rates may be very high.
The bottom line is this. For most places in the US, it makes clear economic sense, over the long term, to install and use a home solar power system.