The price of photovoltaic modules has diminished so much they now cost 99% less than what they did 40 years ago. This steep price drop is a result of improved technology, batteries, and learning rate. That’s why experts forecast solar panels to have an even deeper penetration this 2021.
Let not forget how solar power is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy. For starters, it has a carbon footprint that’s about 18 times less than coal. So, not only can it save you a lot of money, but it can also be an environmental saver.
Just like any other investment, though, there are several solar panel installation considerations. Don’t worry, though, as we’ve rounded up some of the most important ones that you should know below.
1. Your Home’s Electricity Consumption
The average US household consumed 10,649 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2019. This translates to around 877 kWh usage per month or about 29 to 30 kWh per day.
Suppose your home’s energy consumption aligns with the national average. In this case, you need a system capable of generating 877 kWh a month to eliminate your electricity bills.
2. System Size
Each solar panel can produce anywhere from 250 to 400 Watts of power per hour. Now, keep in mind that their final output still depends on how sunny it is, so panel location matters a lot. This is why solar panel roof installations are the most preferred set-up for such systems.
In any case, the number of solar panels dictates the final, collective output of a solar PV system.
Suppose you live in California, where solar panels bask in at least five hours of sun on most good days. Let’s also say your panels have a 300-watt rating. In this case, the output calculation would be 5 hours x 300 watts = 1,500 watts-hours or 1.5 kWh per panel, per day.
Assuming you have a daily consumption of 29 to 30 kWh, you’d then divide that by 1.5 kWh (panel output). That means you’d need at least 20 solar PV panels to eliminate your electricity bills.
3. Solar Panel Cost
According to Consumer Affairs, the average home solar PV system in the US costs upwards of $11,000 to under $15,000. That’s after the 22% federal solar tax credit set to expire after December 31, 2021. That’s a lot of dough, but it does go toward a full-size system that can help you eliminate your electricity bills.
4. Buying vs. Leasing Solar Panels
Speaking of the tax credit, it’s only available to solar panel system owners. This means you need to be the actual owner of the PV system to qualify for the incentive.
For this reason, it’s best you buy the panels rather than lease them. If you lease them, their owners will still be the lessor, the party who leases the panels to you. So, leasing means you won’t qualify for the tax credit.
Besides, you can finance the purchase of your panels. Solar companies offer zero-down, low-interest financing programs.
You can think of these as car loans, except that they’re for solar panels. You take out a loan to buy and install the panels, so they’re legally in your ownership. That means you can qualify for the federal tax credit.
5. Solar Installation Company’s Upfront Charges
When you do start googling “solar providers near me,” be sure to review their upfront charges. Only some companies offer $0 upfront programs for system design, permitting, and installation. Many others may require you to make a down payment, which means you’d have to shell out money from the get-go.
Now’s the Best Time to Go Solar
As you can see, investing in solar panels for your home can yield long-term savings. However, you’d want to start the installation this year so that you can qualify for the tax incentive. Besides, the sooner you can use your system, the sooner you can say goodbye to your electricity bills.
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