Solar Panels vs. Traditional Electricity: The Benefits of Saving Energy
It’s tricky being self-sufficient when you rely on public utilities. Utilities that provide everything from your air conditioning, to the water running in your faucet, to your plumbing, to the garbage you leave on the curb. Paying your utility bills can be a pain, and there’s not always much you can do to cut down on costs without compromising your lifestyle. There is, however, an option, install some solar panels. Solar panels utilize the sun, a 100% renewable resource, to generate electricity. A typical solar panel produces 200 watts of electricity, enough to power smaller appliances like your laptop or television. Depending on where you live, how many solar panels you install, and how efficient the solar cells inside the panels are, you can generate enough electricity to power your entire home. Here’s the best part, utility companies would be paying you for any excess electricity that makes it back to the grid.
Why You Should Install Solar Panels
Going solar means saving money, you as the homeowner, get to benefit in the immediate future and 20-34 Years down the road. Solar panels are renewable, which means they’re reliable, and you’re spending money at a fixed rate. Within the first year of installing your solar panels, you can expect to receive 30% of the cost back in tax returns. You’ll receive rebates from your utility company, and your house value will significantly increase. Here’s why you can really benefit from them.
- You have financial options. If you’re unsure whether your home is a good fit, or concerned about the initial costs of solar panel installation, there’s the option of a solar power purchase agreement (PPA). If you sign up a PPA, the solar installers will own the solar panels, but install them free of charge. They will take care of all the maintenance, monitoring, and repairs in exchange for a discounted price for the electricity generated. It’s basically leasing your roof for solar panels.
- You’re saving a considerable amount of money. Monthly savings on your electric bill can be anywhere from $100 and up. Homeowners on average can save up to $30,000 in 20 years. It depends on where you live. Residents of Hawaii can save up to $64,000 in 20 years!
- A ten year or less payback period. Any homeowners, who pay upfront to install their solar panels, can expect to see some serious savings in 10 years or less. Solar panels usually have a warranty of 25-34 Years, which means you’re possibly making money after the 10-year mark.
- Your home value will increase significantly. If you plan on selling your home than you would really benefit from solar panels. With solar panels, the average price of a home increased by $17,000 and sold 20% faster than homes with solar panels.
- There could be state incentives. On top of receiving 30% of the cost back in tax returns, your state could also provide Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). SREC’s are incentives for both homeowners and utilities to generate power through renewable energies. Homeowners receive an SREC for every 1000 kilowatt hours produced by their solar panel system. They can then sell those certificates, and the value for them depends on the market. Residents in New Jersey, for example, can earn up to $5-7,000 a year.
- You’re cutting down your carbon footprint. It’s not often when something you do saves money and the environment, but that’s the beauty of solar panels. The average residential solar panel system can cut out 100,000 lbs of carbon dioxide in just 20 years.
- Your utility company could be paying you. Some states and utilities provide performance-based incentives (PBIs), meaning they pay you, a solar panel owner, a per-kilowatt credit for the electricity your panels produce. Unlike SRECs, you don’t need to sell PBIs through a market. Rates are usually determined when the system is installed.
How Good is the Warranty?
Solar panels typically last up to 25-34 Years, but it takes a long time for a solar panel to deteriorate. Over time, they produce less electricity, but just because your solar panels are past their warranty, don’t mean they’ll break immediately. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar panels past their warranty degrade at a rate of 0.8% per year. Your solar panels could last up to 50 years before ever getting replaced.
Solar panels do require maintenance, however, and can be prone to defects. Here are some problems you can encounter with them.
- Cracked or broken glass.
- Damaged wiring, such as loose solder connections.
- Fluctuations in power generated.
- The inverter breaking.
- Damages to your roof.
If you notice any problems with your solar panels, contact a professional immediately. A licensed solar thermal technician knows what to look for and can provide the best options for repair. The faster you act, the more damage you can prevent and money saved.
It’s Time to Start Saving Now
You may have a hard time being self-sufficient with everything, but your electricity no longer has to be one of them. The idea that not only can you save money, but make money with solar panels, is an amazing reality.
Don’t wait until you’re the last house on the block, install solar panels and call Current Electric today!