Solar Panels: A Sunny Home Improvement?

If you are trying to decide whether or not to use solar panels in your home, there are several things to consider. Though they sound as though they may a good investment, it is important to think about the purchase from a financial perspective before spending the money. Solar panels are a large investment, so knowing how long it will take you to save the money in energy costs is key to knowing if they are worth it or not. 

How much money will I save?

The amount of money solar panels will save on your power bill will vary. It will depend on your lifestyle and habits, the strength of the system installed and the number of hours of sunlight each day. Assuming you have a system with 6 hours of sunlight every day, you'll get about 18 kilowatts per day, or 540 per month.

Accounting for cloudy days, a safe estimate is 20% less than this amount, which is 432 per month. This averages out to about $50 per month in savings, but your individual savings will vary. The only way to get an accurate estimate of the energy savings is to get a site evaluation by a professional solar panel installer. Taking steps to increase your energy efficiency will reduce your power bill further, therefore expanding your investment.

Does location matter?

In order to determine how many solar panels you need and how to position them, installers need to know how many hours of sunlight your home gets each day. The more sunlight your home gets in a day, the more power the solar panels will be able to generate, thus reducing the dependence on the local power company. If you live in an area that does not get much sunlight or experiences many cloudy days, you will not get the same benefit of the solar panels as someone who gets several hours of sunlight each day. To determine if solar panels are right for you and your home, you will need to speak to a professional installer for help. 

Will the panels increase the value of my home?

Solar panels increase the value of your home. The increase depends on a variety of factors. It is important that you share information with your real estate agent or appraiser. The solar panel installer should also provide you with a payback analysis. The analysis will show how long it will take for the solar panels to pay for themselves. Provide power bills to show the savings from before the installation and afterward. Since each home is different in terms of how the solar panels will help reduce power consumption, this is information that will be necessary to determine how much value they add to your home. 

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