Solar Energy Disadvantage 1 Dependence On The Weather
I think solar energy is a miracle that should not be understated. Its clean, there are no moving parts and it can help to clean up our planet.
However, solar panels have a massive disadvantage if the sun doesnt shine, no electricity is generated! The amount of power generated is hugely dependent on the strength of the suns rays. If solar panels are shaded by passing clouds, power output will drop.
Does Your Roof Need To Be Replaced
It’s a good idea to replace a roof that is near the end of its life before installing solar because SunPower solar panels have an expected useful life of 40 years, and you wouldn’t want to unnecessarily have to remove them. Solar panels should be installed on roofs that are in good condition and will not need to be replaced in the near future. Considering that your savings from high-efficiency solar panels could pay for the cost of a re-roof in as little as five years after installation, it may be worth it to do any needed roofing work before your solar installation.
Finding Your Current Electricity Rate
Utility bill sample
So in this example bill from a California utility, you would take $300.09 / 1500 kWh = $0.20/kWh.
But this is not really the most accurate number because it includes your fixed monthly charges, which inflate the cost per kWh. With solar panels, you would still stay connected to the grid and would continue to have fixed charges. Therefore, it would be better if you could find the total cost before the fixed charges. You can compare multiple monthly bills to see which charges are fixed from month to month, or speak to your utility to learn more about the fixed charges for solar customers.
If you dont want to dig up your past electricity bills, you can also use the 12-month average for your state . In the case of California, the state average for the past 12 months is $0.17/kWh, which is lower than the figure we calculated above.
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How To Figure Out If Solar Panels Are Worth It
Solar panels are an investment, and just like any investment, it pays off to analyze what you’ll gain. Unlike a mutual fund that can give you an estimated return in a simple number, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether solar panels are a good investment for you, including the following:
Your local solar retailer can ultimately help you crunch the numbers to see if solar panels are worth it in your situation. But if you’re looking for a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, PVWatts is a great calculator that allows you to plug in your own address to generate a quick estimate of your cost savings.
How Much Is Your Energy Bill
Knowing how much you pay for energy is the first step in evaluating whether your house is a good candidate for solar. The main question is, will it save you money? In some areas, electricity is very inexpensive. For most homeowners, the electricity bill is a dreaded monthly expense. The general rule is that solar makes the most financial sense for someone with a monthly electricity bill of at least $75. Why? Because going solar replaces utility energy with solar energy, and we want our customers to see a return on that investment by paying less for that energy. A utility bill of $75 is the threshold at which residential solar customers will see solar savings. There are several ways to go solar, depending on a customer’s needs and goals. SunPower offers zero-down lease, loan and cash purchase options each with different benefits. Ask your local solar expert about local and federal incentives and electricity policies where you live.
The overall idea is to pay less than you currently pay, lock in your electricity rate and save money by generating your own clean energy onsite.
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Solar Power For The Home: Benefits
A significant benefit to PV installation is a lower energy bill, but the magnitude of this benefit depends on the amount of solar energy that can be produced given the available conditions and the way in which utilities charge for electricity.
The first consideration is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.
Similar maps and data are available in other countries as well, often from government environmental agencies or renewable energy organizations. Equally important is the home’s orientation for rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.
The final benefit is the potential effect on a home’s value due to the addition of a solar array. In general, it is reasonable to assume that solar panels would raise the value of most homes.
Are Solar Panels Worth It If Youre Not In The Sunny Southwest
Solar loves the sun, but you dont have to live in the sunny Southwest to achieve solar savings! In fact, solar systems can sometimes cost more in these areas because you need a larger system to cover your electricity needs due to air conditioning. Certain climates, even though they can be less sunny than others, are better suited for solar. Many factors go into whether solar is a good fit or not sunshine is just one of them! Some of the states with the most installed solar in the country are in the Northeast even though theyre more famous for their cold snowy winters than their sunny summer days! These areas often have higher electricity costs and better local incentives than other states, leading to greater savings down the line.
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Sunpower Solar Panel Warranty
Solar panels are known for their durability, but a warranty is still a hugely important consideration in your purchase. Luckily, product warranties come attached to the purchase of most systems. These are good for at least 10 years, and the best cover performance up to 25 years.
Most solar panel product warranties cover the following:
- Defective products
Most solar panel product warranties do not cover the following:
- Underperforming systems resulting from poor installation or products
- Workmanship errors like roof leaks
- Accidents like tree branches falling on your panels or squirrels chewing through wires
SunPower’s 25-year complete confidence warranty offers the following to address a number of the common pitfalls of solar warranties:
Overall, companies like SunPower and Sunpro are making all-in-one system warranties more commonplace. The results are paying dividends.
Your Quote Appears Too Good To Be True
Youve heard the old saying: if its too good to be true, it probably is. And unfortunately, it applies to the solar industry.
The massive growth in the solar industry means that the rise of highly-rated local solar companies has also been accompanied by fly-by-night operations.
The latter category of companies offer solar panel installations at bargain-basement prices, either because they offer low-quality equipment or because they have an unsustainable pricing model that will see it out of business within a few years.
Given that solar panels are designed to last at least 25 years, we recommend you steer far away from such solar cowboys.
Learn more: 10 tips for getting the best solar quote
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Is My Roof Suitable For Installing Solar Panels
There are a number of factors that determine how suitable your roof is for solar panels, including:
- The size of your roof
- The direction your roof faces
- The pitch of your roof
- How much of your roof is shaded
When trying to determine if solar panels are worth it for you, consider the size, direction, pitch, and the amount of shading your roof has. Large, unshaded, southern-facing roofs are the most ideal for solar production.
Utility Incentives And Local Rebates
In some states, local utility companies offer various performance-based incentives to promote solar ownership. This type of incentive is based on the amount of solar power generated by the system it does not matter if the energy is used by your home or exported to the utility.
Upfront rebates from manufacturers or city-level programs provide even more savings for purchasing solar panels. However, these benefits are becoming less common nowadays, as prices for solar continue to decrease and the number of installations steadily increase.
Local incentives and rebates vary depending on your state. For more information on available solar incentives in your area and how to claim them, check out our solar panel rebate guide.
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Offsetting Solar Panel Costs
Another big driver of solar’s growth are the federal and state-specific solar programs deployed to provide financial assistance for solar installations. These programs include local and federal tax credits and other rebates. Top solar companies should be able to help you identify and apply to any programs you are eligible for. These incentives have proven effective in areas like the Northeast, which may not be known for their sunshine but have made the benefits of solar available to a wide demographic.
The current federal solar investment tax credit provides a 26% credit for systems installed through the end of 2022. State incentives can be added on top of this for even more savings. Rather than cutting down the initial cost of solar, most statewide incentives focus more on rewarding you for the solar energy that your home produces to accelerate your ROI. You can learn more about your state’s incentives by searching the DSIRE database.
Rooftop Solar Panels Are Not One Size Fits All
When it comes time to get an estimate for your rooftop solar system, keep in mind that solar is not one size fits all. A properly designed rooftop solar system should be custom designed for your home, taking into account the pitch of your roof, the angle of your house relative to the Sun, shading from nearby trees throughout the day, roof impediments , and your households typical energy usage. Solar providers use this information to determine the ideal size of the system and placement of the panels on the roof of your home. Solar rebates and subsidies available will also factor into the average cost of a system, as will any add-ons you opt to purchase with your system.
A qualified solar provider should thoroughly explain your estimate to you before you decide to buy and install rooftop solar panels. Thats the best time to ask questions about your new system before you sign up.
The good news is that the average price of rooftop solar systems has continued to drop over the past few years, making installing solar panels more affordable than ever, especially when you consider all of the easy buying options available to homeowners today.
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Review Your Electric Bill
Solar panels generate their own power and can therefore greatly offset your monthly electricity bill, if not eliminate it. The higher your bill, the more likely you’ll benefit from switching. But you should note that electricity rates and usage the main charges on your statement are volatile.
“If a utilitys electricity prices fluctuate, so could the amount of savings,” says Garrett Nilsen, deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s solar energy technologies office. “Similarly, if energy consumption changes, the amount of savings can also vary.”
Visit the EIA website to view the most recent prices per state.
The Final Verdict: Should You Buy A Tesla Solar Roof
The Tesla Solar Roof is a gorgeous product with a prohibitively high cost to install. Right now, its largely a premium solution for early adopters who dont mind paying more to access cutting-edge technology in high demand. Anyone who invests in the Solar Roof should also be willing to contend with more frequent maintenance than a traditional solar array might require.
Lastly, you should be willing to wait for production to catch up to demand. Just know that youll be running on Teslas schedule, and theyre a lot better about generating hype around new products than meeting production deadlines.
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How Long Does A Solar Roof Last
Most solar shingles will last 25-30 years and maintain around 80% of the original output. Towards the end of their lifespan the efficiency drops, which is normal with all solar panels. Solar roofs are designed to withstand rain, wind, and hail and should easily last for 25 years or more, just like all types of roofing alternatives.
Homeowners Guide To Going Solar
Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of solar panels have popped up across the country as an increasing number of Americans choose to power their daily lives with the suns energy. Thanks in part to the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s investments, the cost of going solar goes down every year. You may be considering the option of adding a solar energy system to your homes roof or finding another way to harness the suns energy. While theres no one-size-fits-all solar solution, here are some resources that can help you figure out whats best for you. Consider these questions before you go solar.
See the Spanish version here. Vea la versión en español aquí.
How does solar work?
There are two primary technologies that can harness the suns power and turn it into electricity. The first is the one youre likely most familiar with photovoltaics, or PV. These are the panels youve seen on rooftops or in fields. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, photons from the sunlight are absorbed by the cells in the panel, which creates an electric field across the layers and causes electricity to flow. Learn more about how PV works.
Is my home suitable for solar panels?
How do I start the process of going solar?
Can I install solar myself?
How much power can I generate with solar?
Will I save money by going solar?
Can I get financing for solar?
How can I find state incentives and tax breaks that will help me go solar?
Is solar safe?
What does mean?
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Solar Resource Global Solar Irradiance
Where you are in the country can be an important point of consideration when going solar. For example, states like California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas receive plenty of sunshine year-round, making them especially attractive for solar investment.
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Will I Have To Pay For Maintenance And Repairs
Solar panels are essentially maintenance-free.
If leaves, branches, snow, or dirt accumulate on the panels, you should remove them using a blower, water hose, or soft brush in order to keep the system working smoothly. Most solar panels are lightly cleaned two to four times per year, and you can easily do it yourself.
While solar panels rarely need to be repaired, any malfunctions or failures will most likely be covered by the manufacturers warranty.
What Is It Made Of
The structure and development of solar panels differ from type to type.
There are mainly two types of solar panels used around the world on rooftops, as well as ground-mounted installations.
This is the most common type of solar panel.
There are usually blue or black with small squares in rectangular grids.
The solar cells on this panel are connected in a series circuit, which helps the system produce more electricity by the system.
There are further two types of crystalline silicon panels: polycrystalline and monocrystalline.
This type of panels is mostly used in large scale industries where more number of solar panels are required in a suitable budget.
It consists of a thin layer of semiconducting material on the glass.
As its evident by its name, its fragile and flexible.
Furthermore, there are many types of thin-film: Amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide.
Module assembly is also one of the types of solar panels that consist of solar cells with a thin layer of glass in front and a protective back sheet on the back.
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How Can You Estimate Your Solar Payback Period
The initial costs of solar panels are often the biggest consideration when going solar, leading many homeowners to question whether solar power is worth it. While most homeowners can expect their investment to pay off in under 10 years, you can get a more specific estimate with a few calculations. If you want to calculate a rough estimate for how long it will take for solar panels to pay for themselves, you can use this formula:
/ = estimated payoff period
Heres an example:
Your new solar system costs $15,000 and you received a tax credit for $3,900 in addition to a $1,500 rebate from your state. In this case, your gross solar system cost is $15,000 with the upfront incentives totalling $5,400. This means that your combined cost is $9,600.
Now, say that your power bill is $100 every month and your solar system produces enough energy to cover your energy needs. Your annual savings is your monthly power bill, multiplied by 12 months, meaning in the first year of having solar, youll save $1,200 on your electricity bills. Some states and utilities also provide incentives that pay you extra for the solar energy your panels generate, like SRECs or the SMART program in Massachusetts: its not uncommon for those incentives to put an additional $600 a year into your pocket beyond your electricity savings, meaning an annual benefit of $1,800.