Residential Solar Panels: What to Know About Rooftop Solar Panels

Rooftop solar use has boomed across the world over the last decade, as home solar has become a very prominent investment.

Homes and businesses across the country are shifting away from a fossil-fueled electricity grid and toward a clean energy economy, spurred by the need to reduce emissions in the face of global climate change.

Rooftop solar panel systems for homes are taking off at an astonishing rate during this period of energy reform.

It's past time to give residential solar the recognition it deserves.

Residential solar panels are one of the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to save money in the long run.

Here are some of the key considerations about residential solar systems:

How much has the cost of residential solar dropped in the last few years?

If you're searching for feel-good statistics, the cost of solar energy over the last decade is a good starting point.

Over the last ten years, the cost of solar installation has dropped by roughly 70%.

The residential market has seen a 5% decrease in cost in the last year alone.

Without a doubt, solar has progressed from a cleantech commodity to a sensible home upgrade that millions are considering.

Installing solar panels on your roof is one of the wisest investments you can make in this day and age.

What is the average cost of a residential solar panel system?

The answer to this question is determined by the state and the size of the system.

However, there is data that can assist you in estimating the cost of solar panels.

The most straightforward method for calculating the cost of solar electricity across various system sizes is in dollars per watt ($/W), which indicates how much solar will cost per watt of available electricity production.

Homeowners will pay an average of $2.81/W in 2021.

A price of $2.81/W for an average 6kW system means you'll pay around $16,860 before tax credits and rebates.

Even when installing the same equipment, solar installers' costs vary significantly.

The labor guarantees and skillsets of various installers differ, which is why it is critical to find pre-vetted, competent installers.

Will my solar panels be linked to the power grid? What exactly is net metering?

Many home solar systems will be grid-connected.

When combined with grid-connected solar, Net-metering provides an efficient answer to the question, "How will I power my solar home at night?" Net metering is a solar incentive in which you receive bill credits when your solar system generates more electricity than it consumes.

When your panels aren't generating enough power, you can use those bill credits to cover the cost of grid electricity.

You will not have access to electricity from your utility if you are off-grid.

This implies that you will need energy storage capabilities, a large solar panel system, and backup power provisions to cover you when your panels do not receive enough sun to build a completely off-grid project.

Can I finance my rooftop solar panel purchase?

When it comes to financing a rooftop solar panel system, the three major alternatives are cash purchases, solar loans, and solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs).

If you can afford it, paying in cash for your rooftop solar panel system is the most certain way to save money over the system's lifetime.

With full ownership of your panels and no interest to pay on a solar loan, a cash purchase usually yields the highest return on a solar investment.

Want to own your system from the start but need help with the initial investment? A solar loan could be ideal for you.

Solar loans reduce the upfront cost of your rooftop solar system to $0, allowing you to "buy" your system and then pay it off in monthly installments.

For many solar consumers, your monthly loan payments will be comparable to your previous power bill.

Solar leases and PPAs require no cash down, but the reality is that you do not own your solar system; instead, you host it for a third party who sells you the electricity it generates at a fixed rate.

Notably, since you do not own the system when you enter into a solar lease agreement or PPA, you are not eligible for tax breaks.

How long does it take to install a residential rooftop solar system?

After you've met with the installers and completed all necessary site visits and planning, the actual installation of your home solar system should only take a few days.

Several factors determine the precise time.

For example, if you are implementing net metering, the process will take longer until your panels are properly connected to the grid.

Overall, while the decision-making process for solar panels can be time-consuming, the installation process is quick and straightforward.

How do I know if my house is suitable for rooftop solar panels?

When scouting your home for rooftop solar, there are several things to keep in mind.

One key consideration is the slope and direction of your roof - while this is not a universal rule, rooftop solar panels work perfectly on south-facing roofs with a slope of 15 to 40 degrees.

It's also critical to understand how much sunlight your roof receives throughout the day.

Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity, so if your roof is shaded or otherwise obstructed by trees, chimneys, or anything else, the viability of solar for you will be impacted.

Can you get a solar panel system for your home if your roof does not meet the requirements?

Among the most interesting things about the residential solar sector is the range of options available to homeowners who want to go solar but lack a suitable roof.

Ground mount solar installations and community solar gardens are two popular ways to harness solar energy without having to install anything on your rooftop.

Community solar entails collaborating with members of a group or your neighborhood to share a solar system.

In contrast, ground-mounted arrays are a simple way to own and install your own system without dealing with roofing issues.

What are the tax credits available for residential solar installations? Who is eligible?

There are two simple ways of going about solar panel tax credits.

The federal investment tax credit (ITC), also known as the solar tax credit, is the most important tax credit associated with home solar panels.

As long as you buy the system, the ITC provides you with a tax credit equal to 26% of the total cost.

The other alternative is state solar tax credits which reduce the cost of a residential system by an extra 25%.

You may be eligible for massive tax breaks and solar programs based on which state you live in.

Is solar worth it if I don't intend to live in my house for the next 25 years?

"What happens if I move after installing solar panels?" is a valid concern among homeowners considering solar.

A usual solar panel system has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years.

If you do not intend to stay in their home for that long, you may wonder if solar is still a good investment.

The good news is that solar increases the value of your property and can even help you sell it faster when the time comes.

The housing market is teeming with buyers who are enthralled by the prospect of owning a solar home with zero utility bills.

How much of your home can you power with solar energy?

Technically, the answer to this question would be 100%.

Nevertheless, while a solar panel system has the potential to compensate for all of your energy consumption, it is unrealistic to expect that level of panel production every day of the week.

Manufacturers and installers frequently advise homeowners to factor in a 25% buffer when calculating their target for solar panel offset.

The main reason for this is that solar panels cannot always operate at maximum efficiency.

There will be times when a grid connection is required to fully cover your electricity usage.

However, the beauty of net-metering is that you can benefit from excess production days while never paying anything to your utility while still depending on the grid for backup storage.

What is the difference between solar for business and solar for residential use?

A commercial solar project could power a town or a business.

As a result, they differ greatly in terms of scale and cost.

On the other hand, solar panels have a consistent size (between 6 and 12 kilowatts on average).

Due to their small size, rooftop solar panels for homes are an affordable energy upgrade that can result in significant power bill savings for homeowners of all income levels.

Commercial solar, on the other hand, requires a significant investment and a group of investors.

How much money can I save by going solar in 2021?

As solar becomes more popular and prices continue to fall, there's a good chance you've already considered switching to solar.

There are a few key factors to consider when calculating how much money you will save from your solar panel system in 2021.

To begin, you should determine your average monthly power usage and the cost of this usage.

This is simply achieved by reviewing a history of your power bills.

Using the figure you came up with, you can then project how much money you would have spent without a solar panel system in future years.

A solar panel system comprises several parts, including a mounting system, a solar inverter, cables, wires, and the solar panel modules themselves.

The cost of all of this and the installation of the system varies by state, but one simple way to look at these costs is to associate the price with the number of watts (W) installed.

A solar panel system of this size has the potential to meet all of your power requirements.

In many cases, any surplus power generated is fed back into the grid, and the owner is rewarded with energy credits.

These credits can be redeemed for the same amount of power at a later date.

Owners of solar panels can save these credits during the summer and use them during the winter to increase their annual savings.

With this configuration, you can reduce your monthly bill to the absolute bare minimum, which can range from $5 to $20 depending on your electricity company's minimum payment.

This implies you'll save anywhere from 80% to more than 90% on your monthly bill.

Given that a quality residential solar panel system costs between $15,000 and $20,000 after incentives and rebates and that you will save more than $2000 annually on your power bill, the payback period for your solar panel system in 2021 will most likely be between 7 and 10 years.

Suppose you want to get an even more accurate prediction of your payback period.

In that case, you should consider the constantly rising cost of power and other factors, as this will result in even more monthly savings.

The true length of time could be even shorter.

Note, once you've reached your Solar panel system's payback period, you'll continue to save for the rest of its 25+ year lifespan!

How Can You Increase Your Solar Savings?

Installing solar panels is a big decision, just like any other big investment! However, as solar costs continue to fall, this decision is becoming increasingly simple: for most individuals, going solar now reflects a wise long-term investment with significant savings.

But, before installing a solar panel system, you'll want to ensure that you'll be able to reap these benefits by taking a few key factors into account.

Shifting to solar will surely save you money - but how can you increase those savings? Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of your solar panels:

Obtain many quotes

Like any major purchase, buying solar panels necessitates extensive research and evaluation, including a comprehensive review of companies in your area.

By considering various solar quotes, you will increase competition and transparency, ultimately resulting in a higher quality installation at the best price.

Look into smaller installers.

The inflated solar prices are frequently provided by some of the industry's larger solar installers, so it's critical to consider all of their solar options, not just the installers large enough to pay for the most advertising.

According to research, quotes from big installers are generally 10% greater than quotes from mid-and small-sized installers.

If you receive quotes from some of the industry's larger companies, make sure to compare them to quotes from local installers to avoid overpaying for solar.

Explore your equipment options

Obtaining multiple solar quotes allows you to compare the equipment provided by each of those installers.

When looking for the best solar panels on the market, there are numerous factors to consider.

While some panels are more efficient than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment does not always result in greater savings.

The only way to determine the best system for your home is to compare quotes with different equipment and financing options.

There Are More Options Than Ever Before

In theory, everyone agrees that solar power is fantastic.

It not only lowers your monthly electricity bill, but it is also good for the environment, reducing our collective reliance on nonrenewable energy resources.

The only issue is that, for a long time, the costs of switching to solar energy were simply too high for most families.

Fortunately, that is no longer the case.

With new technology being released regularly, solar panels are becoming more efficient and versatile.

Previously, the best solar panels struggled to achieve 15% efficiency.

Currently, 20% is expected, with many manufacturers exceeding the 22% limit on large-scale production.

Recent breakthroughs have revealed new chemistries, such as perovskite-silicon solar cells with up to 27.7% efficiency.

That implies the space required to power your home is smaller than ever, and the chances of finding an installer near you are increasing rapidly.

Over the last ten years, the number of manufacturers has exploded, and this competition, combined with technological advances, has driven the price per watt down from $2.50 to less than $.030 today.

When compared to ten years ago, the quality of panels and systems has also improved.

You no longer have to worry about cheap weak, or ineffective panels because most companies offer top-of-the-line panels that are guaranteed.

Many now provide 20+ year warranties, which was unheard of not long ago.

As a homeowner, you have a lot of freedom to shop around for the best system for your needs.

Even if cost is your chief concern, you can be confident that the product you install will last for many years.

If quality is your primary concern, numerous companies sell cutting-edge, sleek solar panels.

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