Which Solar System Is Right For Your Home?
By: Aida Garcia Published on: October 31, 2019 Category: Testing
Your power bill continues to go up. Your neighbor has just installed solar panels. And practically every day you hear about the extreme effects of climate change.
Is this the right time for you to invest in a residential solar system?
A wide range of experts – from lawmakers to environmentalists to solar industry leaders – say “Yes!”
● The cost of installing a system has gone down nearly 70 percent.
● Solar systems significantly reduce – or eliminate – the monthly electricity bill.
● The federal Investment Tax Credit, allowing owners to deduct 30 percent of installing a
residential solar system, is set to expire in 2022.
● There’s an urgent need to cut our carbon footprint.
More than 2 million homes have solar panels in the U.S., with the number expected to climb to 3 million in 2021. Nearly every 90 seconds, a new customer is going solar somewhere in the United States.
Here are a few things for you to consider before installing solar panels in your home, starting with the basics.
How a residential solar system works
Solar panels convert clean, renewable energy from the sun into electricity that can power your home, business, and even your vehicle. Solar panels are made up of many photovoltaic (PV) cells that are linked together. The panels are installed in locations that get the most sunlight, such as rooftops or on the ground.
During the day, the cells collect energy from the sun and turn it into direct current (DC) electricity.
Then that electricity passes through a device called an inverter that converts it into the kind of current your home uses, called alternating current (AC), which powers your appliances and devices
With advances in technology, solar panels are cheaper to make and are more powerful. And they typically last 25-plus years, with regular cleaning and maintenance.
But what happens when it’s nighttime or it’s cloudy? Does the house lose power? The answer is no, the household draws power from the grid.
What happens when the residential solar system generates more electricity than a house can use?
If the local utility has a Net Energy Metering Program, like SDG&E’s, then it takes the excess power and gives owners a bill credit. So, the owners’ bill will be lower when they do tap into the grid.
The utility can then use that clean energy to serve other customers, cutting its production of power using fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse emissions. That’s a win-win, for all involved.
How much money will you save?
One of the most important reasons to install solar panels in your home is the money you will save.
The cost to install solar panels in homes has dropped 70 percent in the last decade. Costs vary depending on several factors, but the average-sized residential solar system costs about $18,000, across the country.
But that’s before owners applied the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit for installing the system, dropping the average system cost to $12,600. (Bear in mind that the federal tax credit is scheduled to end at the end of 2021.)
Find out if you qualify to take advantage of the tax credits and start enjoying the benefits of clean solar energy.
There is also the cost of financing a residential solar system if owners do not pay cash outright. And the financing cost depends on whether they buy or lease the system, among other factors.
Meanwhile, homeowners can expect to significantly reduce or even eliminate their monthly electricity bill. If they pay an average of $120 per month, that’s $28,800 over 20 years.
And that’s without considering the rate spikes during certain times of the year, such as the summer months. And it’s also without taking into account the rate increases that happen all too frequently.
It can be tough to plan for all these increases. Solar panels give homeowners cost stability, particularly those who are on fixed incomes, such as retirees.
All this underscores that a residential solar system is a long-term investment in your home that will yield long-term benefits.
A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory show that solar panels increased home value by nearly $17,000, on average. Houses with these systems sold for nearly 4 percent more than comparable ones without them.
Many public agencies offer incentives to encourage homeowners to install solar panels. San Diego County, for instance, has a “Go Solar” program, a public-private partnership to offer loans to qualified property owners at attractive rates and terms to help them finance energy improvement projects for their homes and businesses.
San Diego County has a Green Building Program to improve energy efficiency in new and remodeled residential and commercial buildings. The program offers a 7.5 percent reduction in building fees for projects meeting requirements.
Beyond significant cost savings, many homeowners want to reduce their carbon footprint. All plants that use fossil fuels to generate power, such as coal or natural gas, produce greenhouse emissions, which drive climate change.
What’s more, these emissions negatively affect people’s health, particularly in poorer areas.
Solar panels, by contrast, provide a sustainable source of electricity that give off zero emissions, lessening the need to rely on polluting power plants.
According to the Climate Reality Project, the 2 million residential solar systems operating in the U.S. offset more than 73 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. The project says that’s equivalent to planting nearly 1.2 billion trees or taking 15.6 million vehicles off the road.
California has aggressive goals to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Starting in 2020, all new homes built in the state will be required to have a solar power system.
Every household is different. Multitaskr staff members take the time to personally educate homeowners about this long-term investment.
They explain to homeowners how a residential solar system works and whether one is appropriate for their property, calculate how much they can expect to save, recommend the best product providers and installers in their area, and provide financing options, all based on their particular situation and needs.
You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers!
Our goal is to empower you, therefor we have put together some answers to your questions.