Home solar may be the energy solution of the future, offering clean, reliable energy without having to depend on power companies and their high energy rates. With new financing options in the works from some companies, getting into solar could soon be more effortless than ever before.
If you are a fan of energy-independence, then imagining your home with its own solar panels might catch your attention. Before you get too thrilled, there are a few things that you first need to know about solar energy.
Solar Can Cost A Pretty Penny
If you want a full solar array capable of powering your home, there could be a drastic expense that comes along with the installation. Depending on the size of your home and the extent of your energy needs, your solar setup could easily cost you $30,000 to $45,000 or more.
Fortunately for you, you may be able to finance the panels and installation, but it’s still a very large expense. Tax credits or other incentive programs may help to offset the cost, but the availability of these programs and what’s required to qualify can vary from year to year or by locale.
Getting Back Your Investment
The money you save on your electric bill should eventually be more than what you pay to have solar panels installed. Nonetheless, it may take some time for you to save more than you spent.
Depending on the size of your solar panels, where your property is located and how much of an effect the panels have on your electric bill, it could take up to 10 years or longer for you to get back your initial solar investment.
Solar Mounting Concerns
You have to understand that not all homes are perfect for solar. For example, if your property has a lot of tall trees surrounding it or you otherwise experience a good amount of shade on your house, this can have a negative effect on how well your solar panels function. In addition, if you’ve had issues with your roof in the past, you may have a hard time installing a roof-mounted solar array given the weight of the equipment.
If you opt for an off-the-roof array to take advantage of the best lighting on your property, you have to know that there will be an added expense involved since you’ll have to put in a concrete slab and use different mounting equipment as well.
Do You Have a Battery?
Many people think of solar as being a way to keep power no matter what’s going on with the grid, but that isn’t always the case. Many solar arrays are designed to back-feed power into the grid itself, essentially selling the power that you generate to the electric company and lowering your bill that way.
If there’s a blackout or other problems with the grid, you’ll still be affected because that power isn’t being stored locally. If you want local power storage, you will need batteries… and that can be even more expensive, depending on your home energy usage and whether you want the batteries to supply some or all of your power needs.
Cleaning and Maintenance
One thing that’s left out of a lot of solar conversations is the ongoing cleaning and maintenance requirements that solar panels have. The effectiveness of solar panels can be affected by dust and dirt buildup, so your panels will have to be cleaned as part of your normal spring or fall cleaning checklist.
Damage to panels and dead cells can also affect them and will require an installer to come out and fix. If you have batteries as part of your unit, these may have to be replaced after a couple of years. They can also start holding less of a charge over time.
Home Valuation Effects
Having a functional solar installation can have a great positive effect on your home’s value, especially as energy costs continue to go up. It may lower the number of interested parties a bit while solar is still relatively uncommon for homes, however.
While some buyers will be excited about the idea of buying a home with solar, others may wonder how trustworthy it is or worry about future maintenance costs. While you’ll be able to get more for your property if you decide to sell, it could take you longer to find a buyer.
Have Solar Questions?
A home solar array can still be an amazing investment, as long as you go into it with a good understanding of the realities of solar panels.