Every solar company has a variation of the same sales pitch, “did you know going solar can save thousands of dollars?” They make it sound so easy, but the truth is, whether solar is a smart long-term investment for you depends on a few major factors. So before you buy into the hype, we recommend you use this simple guide to cut through the sales jargon and determine if solar panels are actually worth the money.
Solar is a trendy thing in 2017 and many adventurous homeowners are beginning to wonder about “diy solar panels” – the concept of building a solar panel system by yourself. Of course, there’s a lot involved in a solar installation and there’s a right and a wrong scenario for do-it-yourself solar projects.
Going solar has major financial benefits: it reduces your monthly electricity costs and can even increase the value of your home. Incentives like the federal tax credit for solar can reduce your net cost by 30 percent or more, but solar is still a big investment, and the price tag can result in sticker shock. To save money, it’s no surprise that many homeowners are considering DIY. Below, we break down the top pros and cons that you need to know about do it yourself solar energy before making a decision as well as the DIY solar process.
The 5 step process to DIY solar panels
Design and size your system based on energy needs
Purchase your solar equipment (solar panels, inverters, racking)
Install the racking or mounts for the panels
Connect the solar panels to your racking equipment
When you install solar panels, your home produces its own clean, zero-emissions electricity. If you’re DIY-minded, you can build your own solar power system. In some cases, you can even build your own solar panels, although the amount that you can effectively DIY home solar depends on how much you want to power.
Power output or wattage is an important factor to consider when comparing solar panel options. You may hear your solar installer say, “it’s a 255 Watt panel” or “the panel I am recommending is has a wattage of 300.” Or, when you are reading a quote from a solar installer, you might see numbers like 245W, 300W, or 345W next to the name of the panel. They are all referring to a solar panel’s wattage, capacity and power output. So, what is the typical output of solar panels?
All solar panels are rated by the amount of DC (direct current) power they produce under standard test conditions. Solar panel power output is expressed in units of watts (W), and represents the panel’s theoretical power production under ideal sunlight and temperature conditions. Most home solar panels on the market today have power output ratings ranging from 250 to 400 watts, with higher power ratings generally considered preferable to lower power ratings. Pricing in solar is typically measured in dollars per watt ($/W), and the total wattage of your solar panels plays a significant part in the overall cost of your solar system.
Solar panels and electric cars are a match made in heaven – when you install a solar energy system on your home, you can use it to both power your home and charge your electric car for emissions-free transportation. The cost of solar is falling rapidly, and companies from Tesla to Nissan are manufacturing electric cars for your daily use. Now, the ability to install a solar PV system large enough to power both your home and your car is an option within reach. But even with incentives and rebates available for both technologies, most homeowners still can’t afford to install solar and buy an electric car at the same time. Luckily, it’s easy to install a solar energy system today that takes your future electricity consumption into account, if you take a few additional factors into consideration.
The financial benefits of going solar are now well documented. Solar panel systems actually function as investments with strong rates of return, and homeowners generating solar electricity can avoid paying increased utility rates by eliminating their electricity bills. According to a 2015 report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, installing solar panels on your home can even increase your property values. If you’re reviewing multiple quotes, there are plenty of metrics that can help you make a decision about which solar option is best for you, but studies show most solar shoppers rely on one metric in particular: the solar panel payback period or break-even point.
Solar adoption is surging across the U.S., and it isn’t just limited to rooftop solar. The newest innovation in the solar industry: community solar, which offers many of the benefits of a home solar energy system without the need to install solar panels on your roof. To understand whether community solar is right for you, you’ll need to learn about the process and technology, when you should consider it, and how you can find local community solar projects near you.Continue reading →
The benefits of owning a solar energy system significantly increase when you take advantage of available rebates, tax credits and incentives. This is because these incentives will reduce your upfront installation costs, and as a result accelerate your payback period – paying less up front means breaking even more quickly. These programs can reduce the upfront costs of your system by 30 to 50 percent, but vary state-by-state as well as city-by-city. Read on to see if your city is one of the top 5 cities that incentivize solar!
If you own your home, you’ve probably heard that going solar can help you reduce your electric bill, delivering major savings over the 20+ years that your solar panels produce electricity. You may have also heard that installing a solar energy system on your roof can increase the value of your home – but by how much? It’s time to get past the sales pitch and understand exactly what solar companies mean when they say that your home value increases when you install solar.
There’s a reason why home energy efficiency measures are referred to as the “low-hanging fruit” of home energy upgrades. Achieving an eco friendly house can be as simple as swapping out incandescent light bulbs for LEDs or installing a programmable thermostat that only heats or cools your home when you’re there to enjoy it. Simple energy efficiency measures are one of the easiest ways to make an investment in your home and reduce your home energy costs – but they will only take you so far. Continue reading →