Empowering Energy: Assessing The Worth Of Solar Panels In The US

by | May 26, 2023 | Environment, Renewable Energy

Home » Environment » Empowering Energy: Assessing The Worth Of Solar Panels In The US

Although the cost of solar power is found to be marginally higher than the cost of utility electricity, homeowners might consider putting in solar panels power to prevent future potential fluctuations in energy costs, or they may desire to think outside their private financial motivations and use solar for sustainable living. Choosing whether to install a PV solar system may appear to be a difficult undertaking, but consider that a system of this kind is a long-term investment. From a budgetary standpoint, solar electricity is a good option in many places.

How Do The Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are not a new technology, but their operation remains mysterious. The good thing is that they are relatively straightforward. Photovoltaic cells are found in solar panels. When exposed to sunlight, these cells absorb the energy and convert it into electrical charges. During this process, photons (light particles) strike electrons off atoms, resulting in an electric flow. This method generates direct current, also known as “DC.” The issue is that modern electrical systems employ alternating current, abbreviated as “AC.” As a result, inverters are required in solar systems to convert DC electricity to workable AC electricity. This inverter connects the solar panels to the home’s electrical system.

In some circumstances, the sun’s rays could supply an array of batteries, enabling the house to retain energy for an entire night when cloudy conditions make effective electric generation impossible. In other circumstances, the system may be wired directly into the home’s lines, enabling the user to return energy to the utility company for a profit. A solar energy system, depending on its size, can drastically reduce a homeowner’s power bill. In rare situations, the system’s output may offset the bill. This depends on various circumstances, and these criteria may influence whether solar is worthwhile.

How Are Solar Panels In The US Beneficial?

Transitioning to renewable energy helps cut your electricity bills, lessen your carbon impact, and increase the value of your property. However, your location, current energy rates, and local solar incentives can all influence whether such a significant investment is viable for your home. These elements will be discussed further below.

Rates And Consumption Of Energy

Solar panels in the US are a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels. This equates to reduced utility bills for homeowners in high-cost locations. The average American home spends $122 per month on electricity expenses, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Yet these rates vary nationwide, with some households paying as much as $180 for energy. Residents in higher-than-average-rate states, such as California, will benefit more significantly from a system of solar panels than those in low-cost states.

The amount of energy consumed also influences the extent to which the installation of a solar energy system can assist your home. Going solar will not result in long-term savings for homes with minimal energy use. Most respectable solar firms will examine your average energy consumption and calculate the possible savings from going solar. A system featuring solar panels is only advised if your energy use or power rates are reasonable.

Tax Credits At The Local, State, And Federal Levels

Solar incentives, credits, and rebates can help homeowners save money on solar panel systems. For example, the federal solar tax credit gives a tax break equal to 30% of your solar installation expenditures. There may be further state tax credits and benefits available in your region. The utility company might offer one-time refunds.

Your state may also have net-metering programs. Under these programs, customers can trade surplus electricity back to the grid for credits on future power bills or rewards at the end of the calendar year. On the other hand, one can install a solar battery pack to store excess energy during a blackout, days with minimal sunlight, or times when power rates are high.

Location

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems perform best in places with enough sunlight. Solar panels will operate in adverse weather but not produce the total power output. In a location with overcast or wet weather all year, the solar power system might fail to produce its highest energy output, reducing your long-term savings. The residence should be devoid of any obstructions, like surrounding trees and other buildings, that could create shadows on your panels. Even a few hours of blockage per day can diminish your panels’ generated electricity and reduce your potential savings. Homes facing south, southwest, or west in the northern hemisphere get the most significant amount of sunlight, leading to optimal solar energy generation.

Property Worth

Any home improvement project, including solar panel installation, can increase the value of your home. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States Department of Energy, every $1 saved on electricity costs enhances the value of your property by $20. If your system of solar panels saves you $800 each year, that adds $16,000 to the value of your property. The increased value of the property may only sometimes result in higher property taxes. Several states have legislation to prevent homeowners from paying higher taxes for renewable energy projects.

Design Of The Roof

The shape and angle of a home’s roof are critical factors in solar panel installation. It will require a sufficient roof area to install enough solar panels. The number of panels needed is analyzed by energy use and the sort of solar panels chosen. Because excellent solar panels are far more efficient, fewer panels will be used to supply electricity to the home. When extra roof impediments, like chimneys or skylights, restrict the available area, these solar panels assist in preserving space. Choosing low-cost solar panels that generate less power will require more panels and more roof space. For maximum sun absorption, boards should be positioned at an angle of 15 to 40 degrees. The solar installer may need specific installation equipment to set it to the appropriate pitch if the house has a steep angle. It is a more complex installation that will raise labour costs.

Solar Panels’ Total Cost

solar panels

The entire solar system will cost more than just the panels. Payment has to be made for labour and extra equipment, as well as recurring maintenance and servicing costs or add-ons like a solar battery or an electric vehicle (EV) charger. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar panel prices have decreased by 60% in the last decade. A typical solar energy system now costs roughly $20,000, though pricing varies depending on system size, local rates, and the solar installation chosen. The final cost is also calculated based on the financing option selected. Families who invest in a solar system will enjoy a greater return on their investment because interest rates will be avoided, and solar incentives will be available.

You will also be eligible for solar incentives when you select a solar loan. However, interest rates will increase your overall expenses over time. Other possibilities, including a solar rent or power purchase agreement (PPA), enable individuals to lease their system rather than purchase it. These choices are less expensive in the short term but exclude us from incentives and will not raise the house’s value.

The price of solar panels in the US is influenced by several factors, including the kind and model, the dimension of the installation, and where someone lives. As a result, the national average is roughly $16,000, although it can range between $3,500 and $35,000. However, it is crucial to note that solar panels in the US can save you money in the long run by producing electricity. These savings often cover the initial installation costs of solar panels in the US. It’s also worth mentioning that government incentives and tax credits are frequently offered for homes that install solar panels.

Bottom Line

Solar panels are only suitable for some. Several factors, such as local weather, financial incentives, and electricity pricing, influence whether a solar system is worthwhile for your home. In ideal circumstances, a solar system provides long-term energy savings and enhanced house value. To maximize their return on investment, families adopting solar panels in the US should choose the correct financing alternatives and benefit from state and federal tax benefits. Solar energy systems are suitable for the environment.

Solar panels in the US offer the lowest environmental impact compared to other energy generation sources since they create power without releasing greenhouse gases or needing fossil fuel extraction, transportation, or combustion. Although the manufacturing and disposal of solar panels have an environmental impact, using solar energy instead of fossil fuels or other energy sources will undoubtedly reduce pollution and environmental deterioration.

Also Read: An Overview of Solar Panels

Author

  • Dr. Tanushree Kain

    Tanushree is a passionate Environmentalist with a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences. She is also a Gold medalist in Master of Science (M.Sc), Environmental Sciences. She has 6 years of experience as a guest faculty in Environmental Sciences. With her combination of technical knowledge and research expertise, she can create clear, accurate, and engaging content that helps users get the maximum information regarding environmental topics.

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