The cost of installing solar panels is significant. It varies widely from state to state and property to property, but the national average hovers around $18,000.
But, there are so many excellent benefits to solar that it’s worth figuring out the financial part. And there is help available – you can currently enjoy a federal investment tax credit available for solar energy as well as a variety of rebates and incentives offered by states, counties, and the utility companies themselves.
Stick with us to the end for more information about affording solar panels. But first, here are some solid benefits to using solar power that can help you feel good about taking the leap.
Save money on energy
Though solar panels are a costly outlay, you will immediately reduce or even eliminate your monthly energy bills. Solar energy generated by your home powers your home first and then any extra is automatically sold back to the power company.
Most homeowners completely pay off their solar panels in 7-8 years, while the system generally lasts for 25 years. With energy bills all but non-existent, imagine how much money you could put toward paying off the panels each month.
Make the energy company work for you
The best way to think about solar panels is not as an expense, but as an investment. You’ve got to spend money to make money. The average ROI for homeowners that invest in solar panels is 20% – not too shabby.
As long as your home is relatively energy efficient, you will likely produce a surplus of power that can be sold back to the energy company. Trust us, it’s going to feel really good to start receiving checks from them rather than forking out a huge chunk of your budget on energy every month.
Save the planet (at least partly)
Our current reliance on fossil fuel for energy simply isn’t sustainable over the long haul – it’s a finite resource. And it can also put the United States in a tricky position globally as we aren’t able to produce all of the oil we need and preserve the beauty of our national parks at the same time.
Solar power is sustainable and pushes the country closer to energy independence. Making more energy at home allows the government to protect us from price fluctuations in global energy markets and relieves pressure to drill in protected areas.
The upshot is reduced carbon emissions, more room for trees, and less encroachment by displaced animal populations. Mother Earth is smiling.
Increase your property value
Studies are showing that properties with solar panels are selling faster and for more money as consumers get savvy about the benefits. Demand for this technology is only increasing, and appraisers are taking solar panels into account when valuing a property.
So not only is solar a good investment if you plan on staying in your home for years to come, it can also pay dividends to install panels before putting your home on the market. Lower operating costs for owning that home is a huge draw for buyers.
Send a message to the market
Not only does installing solar panels send a message to potential property buyers, it also sends a signal to the market that this technology is valuable and worth developing. As consumers, our only real recourse for changing the way things are done is to support the innovative companies that are looking for a better way.
If we want to incentivize the corporate community to develop solar technology, we need to show them that there’s money in it. Don’t forget to post about your purchase on social media as this amplifies your individual power to influence brands.
Boost your local economy
Phasing out the use of fossil fuels does present a challenge to workers in those industries. However, the rise of renewable energy technologies provides those employees, and then some, with a place to go.
According to the Solar Foundation, the solar industry is adding new jobs to the economy at a rate much faster than job growth as a whole. Plus, solar jobs are high paying and many of them cannot be outsourced.
The need to build new infrastructure does make solar power less efficient from a business perspective at this point. But don’t worry about driving the energy lobby out of business. There is still plenty of money to be made if we all agree that the investment is worth it.
The bottom line
The decision to install solar panels can be a complex one. But in the end, investing in solar is a decision that has the potential to slow the effects of climate change, protect animal habitats, boost your local economy, and put money back in your pocket at the same time. That’s about as close to a win-win as we can get in this crazy world.
When you’re ready to start pricing your solar installation, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. You won’t be sorry!