The costs for electricity and other forms of energy are on the rise as of 2016 while the price of solar power and panels is dropping, making many homeowners consider making the switch. However many homeowners wonder if the savings in the long run are worth it.
Consider the following information in regards to the cost, efficiency, tax incentives and more that are associated with installing stand-alone solar power systems to help anyone decide if it’s the right choice for them.
The cost associated with stand-alone solar power systems has gone down immensely because of the decline in the price of PV panels. Labor cost as well as those associated with inspections have gone down as well but continue to be the bulk of the overall cost.
The cost of installation has dropped by over 50% since 2008, making it much more affordable for homeowners. However, it still remains to be seen if a stand-alone solar power system is practical for all. Some of the considerations include:
• Hours of direct sunlight each day
• If it’s a stand-alone solar power system or attached to the grid
• The size of the system
• Local permit requirements
As of late, the average cost of a home solar system is around $3.74 per watt depending on the brand used. The average home system is around 5 kilowatts, making the average cost price about $18,000. Of course, no two homes are alike as far as solar needs, and a professional estimate will be more accurate.
Cost to Operate and maintain
A stand-alone solar power system doesn’t need much maintenance aside from regular yearly inspections, and washings every few months. This can be accomplished using a garden hose, or by hiring a professional cleaner. In places where ice can form upon the panels, more inspections may be necessary.
Other operational costs maybe insurance and monitoring performance which is often done from a remote location depending on the contractor. The solar inverter sometimes needs replaced at some point. Expect operational costs to be anywhere from $4,000 to $9,000 total.
Stand-alone solar power systems will last up to 30 years, and are typically warrantied and guaranteed to run at almost full efficiency for 10 years, and around 80 % for 25 years. Many companies also off warranties on parts and labor as an added bonus. There’s a separate warranty on the solar inverter that is brand dependent.
Tax incentives and rebates greatly reduce the expense of switching to stand-alone solar power systems. The federal tax credit gives back 30 % of the cost of the system. This may change in the future but chances are there will always be a credit of some sort as the country continues to encourage the growth of solar power. Many states also give tax incentives, grants, rebates and a variety of other programs to promote solar use. It seems as though since the cost of PV systems is lowering, so are the associated incentives.
Expect bills to plummet even if the system is hooked up to the grid. The amount is dependent upon the system’s size, how much it’s used and current pricing from a local provider. Most tend to save almost $100 per month.
Solar panels generate plenty of heat on a sunny, winter day just as they do on a sunny summer day since they use light not heat. The only thing that can lower output is a large layer of snow on the panels, which is avoided by a quick sweep.
Increase a home’s value
Solar power has become a great asset for homebuyers. Studies continue to show that stand-alone solar power systems add on average about 25k to a home’s sale price.
Is solar a good choice?
The question remains, if installing solar be worth the cost for the home in question. There are many factors that come into play with this decision. There are environmental and social values that come along with these systems that help those who are pursuing the use of green energy.
A solar calculator is a great tool to get an idea of how much it will cost to invest in a stand-alone solar power system. It will give a ballpark figure if solar is a smart investment.