Residential solar is an excellent investment for homeowners looking to save money over the long term. However, many people need more time to switch due to the upfront costs. Several factors affect your solar estimate, including household electrical demand and panel wattage.
While solar power is an expensive investment, it will pay itself in energy savings over the long term. A qualified solar company can walk you through your situation and ensure your solar estimate makes sense for your home. One of the most critical factors affecting your solar system’s size is your electricity usage and the sunlight your roof receives. Bring your electric bills to a solar consultation and have the solar company help you determine how many panels your house needs. Ideally, your roof should be south facing with no trees or structures obstructing the sun to maximize the solar energy available. This will help your solar panels produce more energy, reducing the number of panels needed. Once your installation is complete, it will take time for your local utility to inspect and approve the system. Be aware of how long the process typically takes, and be bold and ask questions if you’re feeling pressure to move along quickly. You want the process to be fair and thorough.
The equipment you choose to power your home or business significantly impacts solar energy costs. Many options include purchasing the system in one lump sum or spreading the cost over time through a loan, lease, or PPA. The type of panels and inverters you select play a significant role in the final cost of your solar system. Panel efficiency, wattage, and warranty are all important factors to consider as you weigh your equipment options. Other factors affecting a solar system’s output include its location and latitude. Solar systems installed in northern states are likely to produce less energy from their modules than those in southern states due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis and shorter daylight hours in the winter. Additionally, a home’s specific energy consumption and available roof space are essential considerations when designing a system that will meet a homeowner’s energy needs. A professional solar consultant can help determine your average daily usage and recommend an appropriate system size to achieve your desired energy goals.
The energy savings from solar can be substantial, but so too can the upfront costs to purchase and install a system. Fortunately, there are options to help offset these initial costs, including loan and lease programs that allow you to pay for your solar system over time. Another significant factor is local and state taxes. The tax rate on solar equipment is generally considered personal property, with a depreciation floor of 30 percent. This depreciation allows you to claim a significant portion of the project cost as a tax credit on your federal return. Some tools consider local and state taxes for a more accurate solar estimate.
Moreover, these estimates are updated regularly to reflect changing electric rates and net metering structures in your region. These changes are reflected in our calculations, so you can see how your projected energy savings can evolve over the years. In addition, the tool enables you to compare loan and lease options for your home, helping you determine the system’s recommended size and financing alternatives.
Accurate electric usage data is the first step toward understanding how your home, farm, or business would benefit from solar electric generation. Collect each month’s electric bill and locate the section that lists the kilowatt-hours used. Using this information is the only way to ensure that your potential energy savings are unique to you and can help properly size your solar system.
Solar installers are familiar with federal, state, and local incentives that help to lower the cost of going solar. This includes the 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC), property and sales tax exemptions, and grants. These are offered by governments and utilities across the country. To estimate the number of panels you need, determine your household energy usage in kilowatt-hours. This can be found on past utility bills or by contacting your utility provider. Then factor in your location to determine the peak sunlight hours. The more sun your roof gets, the more power you can generate. Also, consider your financing options. Purchasing with cash offers the highest value over time, while a lease or loan provides immediate energy savings with zero monthly payments.
Additionally, some localities may offer subsidized loans or incentives for homeowners who purchase their systems. This can include cash back, property tax exemption, waived fees, and expedited permits. Also, changes in government trade policy can affect prices. For example, tariffs have recently increased the price of imported solar cells and modules.