Thinking about residential solar power? You might be worried about the expense of this renewable resource. But there are ways to save money and also save energy while you go solar.
In general, there are 5 things that affect the cost of solar panels:
1. Rebates and incentives. Even though governmental tax rebates are not quite as generous as they were a few years ago, you can still save a lot on solar panels by tapping into local, state and/or federal incentives and rebates. Combined, you could pocket up to 80% of the retail cost of solar panels!
2. Current energy usage. Its quite simple: the more electricity you use, the more solar panels you will need. Reduce your overall energy consumption, and you won’t need to generate as much solar electricity!
3. Solar irradiation and UV exposure. Consider your roof angle, any obstructions and shading, and the overall solar irradiation for your region. You don’t necessarily have to live in a warm, sunny locale to tap into solar energy. However, you do need to have optimum UV exposure, which is impacted by the angle of your roof, among other things.
4. Net metering. You can literally turn back your utility meter with solar panels! The way net metering works is that, when excess solar electricity is generated by your solar array, the energy is fed back into the grid for other consumers to use. Then, when you need to draw on grid-based power overnight or on cloudy days, you get a credit for the power you contributed to the system. Save even more!
5. Materials supplies. The primary reason that solar panels cost so much less today than 5 years ago is the reduction in the cost of supplies required for manufacturing solar cells, including silicon. In addition, solar technology is leading to increased efficiency of solar cells, which further reduces the cost of a solar array.
Experts predict that the cost of solar panels will continue to decrease in the coming years. However, governmental rebates and incentives may not be as generous as they are now in the future. If you are thinking about going solar, now may be the best time!