By Tim Smith
Solar panels harness the sun’s electromagnetic rays, converting them into electricity you can use to power your home. If the environment is a concern to you, getting solar panels is probably an exciting possibility. The concept that you could provide power for yourself with a renewable resource is wonderful, and we all love the idea of saving money. Is the reality of solar power really as great as it sounds?
How much will You Have to Invest?
Solar panels will save you money, but they also require an initial investment. The cost will depend on the size of the system you choose and the demand in your local area. Systems can range from below $10,000 to over $35,000 for a very large home, but the prices are dropping all the time. It’s a good idea to spend some time tracking your energy usage to figure out how big of a system you will need to get.
If you want solar panels but can’t afford a large initial investment, you can purchase a smaller system and go from there. You may not produce enough electricity to cover your entire bill, but even a low-cost system can cut the price quite a bit, especially if you get a lot of sun and are conservative with your energy usage.
How much can You Expect to Save?
Statistics from 2011 showed that homeowners in sunny areas could save up to $35,000 over a 20-year period if they had a full system of solar panels installed. Since then, energy prices have gone up, making the savings even higher today.
Not only will you be saving a lot, but you’ll also be spared the burden of continually rising electricity costs in the future. The sun will always be free, and once you have the technology in place, you can take advantage of that indefinitely. As those who are getting their power from the grid are worrying and complaining about their energy bills, you will be able to sit back and relax.
What About Other Incentives?
If you are a taxpayer in the United States, and you purchase a system of solar panels for your home, a number of different rebates may be available. You will qualify for a 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). If you want to determine how much money you will save with the ITC, take the net cost of your solar installation and subtract what you saved from any rebates you earned. Calculate 30 percent of that amount, and that will be your credit. In 2009, the $2000 limit on this credit was removed, making it possible for homeowners to save even more.
There may also be state and local rebates available to you. The best way to ensure that you qualify is to have your system installed by a team of professionals with a strong knowledge the required codes and regulations. This could possibly save you up to 50 percent of your initial installation cost.
Will Solar Power Pay off in Other Ways?
There is even more good news. In 2011, a group of economists from California gathered statistics that show that solar panels add around $20,000 to the sales price of a home. Homes also sell twice as fast and appreciate at a quicker rate when equipped with a solar-panel system. As energy bills rise, it will become an even more valuable home feature.
On top of all of the money-saving benefits of solar power, there is always the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're doing something wonderful for the environment. Whether you plan to sell your home or keep it in the family for generations to come, solar panels are a great investment in a happy future.
Visit Modernize for more ideas, information, and tips about taking avantage of solar energy.