To Solar or Not To Solar

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With the recent 5 year renewal of the US Energy Tax Credits, solar is as popular as ever… maybe even more. And for good reason. There are some benefits to installing solar panels on your home that are just too good to pass up.

The More Energy You Use, the More You Save

While our devices are becoming more and more energy efficient, the fact is we are using many more devices than ever before. With that increased usage comes higher energy costs. Since solar systems feed back into the energy grid, the energy companies offer discounts. Many even eliminate the higher tier pricing if you install a solar system. If your bill is continuously over the $200 mark, chances are that you are getting charged those top tier prices.

Before you consider solar, you’ll want to perform an energy audit in order to see how much energy your home is actually using. If your bill is around the $100 point, there may be other alternatives that make more fiscal sense. However, the higher your energy consumption is, the higher Return On Investment (ROI) you’ll get! Many homeowners receive a 14-16% ROI – that’s better than most 401k’s!

Solar Panels Provide a Level of Insulation

Ironically, many homeowners see their energy consumption decrease after installing solar panels. It turns out, that when solar panels are correctly installed, they actually provide an extra level of insulation for the rooms directly under the panels. That means lower cooling costs during summer, and lower heating costs during winter.

However, if you have spanish tiles or shake, you’ll want to get several estimates before committing to a solar panel installation. Both spanish tile and shake are quite brittle and make installations more challenging.

Solar Panels Last a Long Time

Solar panels are relatively easy to maintain, typically require a couple of quick hose downs during the summer and keeping leaves and debris off during the fall. They’re built to last and tend to last an average of 30 years. However, many of the warranties do not last that long (different parts are only five years and others usually top out around 20 years).

Keep in mind that the warranties do not cover everything. If there is a fire or other damage, you’ll want to make sure that your homeowner’s insurance policy is amended to protect your investment.

Home Buyers Like Solar

As solar systems have become more mainstream, home buyers are interested in houses that already have a system installed. One caveat, though, buyers don’t usually like leased solar systems. No one really likes taking over a lease that they didn’t set up. So if you’re looking into one of the many solar leasing programs, make sure that the lease can be bought out or that it won’t add to the cost of your home if you plan on selling in the near future.


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