It’s no secret that going solar is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the number of residential solar installations in the U.S. stood at around 3 million as of 2021.
There are many reasons why people are making the switch to solar. For many, it’s a way to save money on their energy bill. Others are motivated by the environmental benefits of going solar.
Whatever your reasons for going solar, there are a few things you should know before making the switch.
What Are Solar Panels, and What Do They Do?
Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are devices that convert sunlight into electricity. These panels are typically made from semiconductor materials like silicon, which absorb the sun’s rays and then produce a flow of electrons in response.
The electricity generated by solar panels can be used to power a wide range of applications, from small household devices like lights and alarm clocks to large-scale infrastructure like electric vehicles and public transportation systems.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?
The rise in popularity of solar power is due in part to the many benefits it offers. Let’s look at a few of the most significant benefits:
Save Money on Your Energy Bill
The average U.S. household spent about $117.46 per month on their energy bill in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
By switching to solar, you can significantly reduce your energy costs. In fact, going solar can save the average homeowner about $600 per year on their energy bill.
Over time, these savings can add up to thousands of dollars.
How much you’ll save depends on a number of factors, including the size of your solar panel system, the amount of sunlight your area receives, and the rate you’re paying for electricity.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Solar panels are a clean and renewable source of energy. This means they produce no greenhouse gas emissions when generating electricity.
In fact, solar panels reduce carbon footprint by about 20 times less than coal-powered electricity sources.
This is good news for the environment and helps to combat climate change.
Increase the Value of Your Home
A recent study by Zillow found that solar-powered homes sell for an average of four percent more than comparable homes without solar panels.
This translates to an extra $15,000 on the sale price of a typical home. And, in some markets, such as San Diego and Honolulu, homes with solar panels sell for even more.
Get Paid for the Electricity You Generate
In some cases, you can actually get paid for the electricity your solar panels generate. This is possible through a process called net metering.
With net metering, you receive a credit on your energy bill for the excess electricity your solar panel system produces. This credit can be used to offset the cost of your energy bill in the future.
Net metering policies vary by state, so be sure to check with your local utility company to see if it’s available where you live.
Get a Solar Tax Credit
The federal government offers a solar tax credit to encourage people to switch to solar.
This credit is commonly known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). It’s a 26% relief on the cost of your solar panel system from your federal taxes.
For example, if you spend $20,000 on your solar panel system, you can deduct $520 from your taxes. This can significantly reduce the cost of going solar.
The solar tax credit is available for both residential and commercial properties. However, it is set to decrease in the coming years. The credit will drop to 22% in 2023 and then expire entirely for residential properties in 2024.
So if you’re considering going solar, now is the time to do it.
What Are the Drawbacks of Solar Panels?
Solar panels do have a few drawbacks. One is that they require a significant up-front investment. Solar panel systems can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. However, solar panels usually have a payback period of four to eight years.
Another potential drawback of solar panels is that they require maintenance. Solar panel systems need to be cleaned regularly to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency.
Is Your Roof Ready for Solar Panels?
Before installing solar panels, you need to make sure your roof is ready. Solar panels need to be installed in a sunny location with little to no shading. They also need to be installed on a sturdy roof that can support their weight.
If your home’s roof is old or damaged, it may need to be repaired or replaced before installing solar panels.
You also need to make sure there is enough space on your roof for the solar panel array. A typical solar panel array takes up about 400 square feet.
Types of Solar Panels Available
At its most basic level, a solar panel can be divided into two main types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels.
Both of these forms utilize photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electrical energy, but there are some key differences between them.
For one thing, monocrystalline solar panels are typically more efficient than their polycrystalline counterparts. This is because the individual cells in a monocrystalline panel consist of a single crystal structure, which makes it easier for photons to travel from one cell to another.
In addition, monocrystalline panels tend to be smaller and thinner than polycrystalline panels, making them an ideal choice for applications where space is limited.
Ultimately, when choosing among solar panels, it’s important to consider both efficiency and size to find the best fit for your needs.
Solar Panel Installation Cost
The cost of solar panel installation can vary depending on several factors, such as the type and size of the solar panel system you choose. The average cost of solar panel installation in the U.S. after federal tax incentives is about $12,000.
You can also save through incentives offered by state authorities and local companies.
To find out how much solar panel installation would cost for your home or business, contact solar installers in your area. Get multiple quotes to compare costs and find the best deal.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Solar panels require very little maintenance. Once they are installed, solar panels can last for decades with minimal upkeep.
The most important thing you need to do is keep your solar panels clean. Dust, dirt, and leaves can build up on solar panels and reduce their efficiency. You should clean your solar panels at least once a year, or more often if they are located in a dusty or dirty area.
You also need to check your solar panels regularly for damage. Look for cracks, leaks, or other signs of damage. Contact your solar installer to have the issue fixed if you find any damage.
Solar panels are a long-term investment, and proper maintenance can help ensure they last for decades.
Do You Require a Permit to Put up Solar Panels?
If you’re connecting your system to the grid, your utility company will likely require a permit. The process is simple and usually just requires filling out a form and paying a fee.
If you’re not connecting to the grid, you may still need a permit, depending on your state or local laws. It’s always best to check with your local building department to see if you need a permit before installing solar panels.
Is It Necessary for Me to Have a Battery Backup for My Solar Panels?
No, it is not necessary. Solar panels will continue to produce electricity even when the power goes out.
However, if you live in an area with frequent power outages, you may want to consider installing a solar battery system. Solar batteries can store solar energy and provide backup power during a power outage.
What Is the Solar Panel Lifespan of Solar Panels?
However, solar panel efficiency typically decreases over time. Most solar panels have a warranty of 25 to 30 years.
After the warranty expires, solar panels can still produce electricity but at a lower efficiency. Solar panels typically lose about 0.50% of their efficiency per year.
Some factors that affect the lifespan of solar panels include:
- The quality of the solar panel
- The type of solar panel
- The environment where the solar panel is installed
- How well the solar panel is maintained
Solar panels are a long-term investment, and proper maintenance can help ensure they last for decades. With proper care, your solar panels can continue to produce electricity for many years to come.
Going Solar Is a Good Investment
If you’re thinking about going solar, contact solar installers in your area to get quotes and compare costs. Be sure to take advantage of any federal, state, or local incentives that are available to help offset the cost of solar panel installation.
Solar panels require very little maintenance and can last for decades with proper care. Check your solar panels regularly for damage and keep them clean to maintain their efficiency. Most importantly, enjoy the clean, renewable energy that they produce.
We hope this article will encourage you to start using solar energy. For more content like this, check the other blog posts on our site. Stay tuned for more coming soon.