Category Archives: Costs and Benefits of Going Solar

The factors influencing the economic benefits of clean energy systems.

How much do solar panels cost in the U.S. in 2017?

solar panels cost in the u.s. graphicYou’ve probably heard about how solar energy can reduce your electricity bills, but how much do solar panels really cost? The easiest way to calculate the average cost of solar panels is to look at its price in dollars per watt, which is relatively consistent across the United States. Continue reading

Comparing solar panel cost in Texas cities: Dallas vs. Fort Worth vs. El Paso

cost of solar in Fort Worth, El Paso, Dallas

Until recently, Texas wasn’t among the top 10 for solar energy, leaving many surprised to discover that the Lone Star State was ranked #3 in the U.S. for solar jobs in 2016. Texas is adopting solar at one of the fastest rates in the country, and for good reason. Solar prices dropped by 20 percent in 2016, and a number of utilities across the state created or extended major incentive programs for solar PV systems.

If you’re considering solar in Texas, there are three cities that lead the way in terms of pricing and incentives. In this article we’ll analyze Fort Worth, El Paso and Dallas as top cities for solar in Texas and explain what you should expect to pay for a rooftop solar array.

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What are the most efficient solar panels on the market?

For those looking for the most efficient solar panels for their PV system, the first thing you need to know is how to compare efficiency metrics for different manufacturer brands. Simply put, efficiency (expressed as a percentage) quantifies a solar panel’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Given the same amount of sunlight shining for the same duration of time on two solar panels with different efficiency ratings, the more efficient panel will produce more electricity than the less efficient panel.

most efficient solar panels on the market energysage

As the race for the most efficient solar panel continues, it’s important to understand how more efficient panels could mean much bigger solar savings for the everyday consumer.

In practical terms, for two solar panels of the same physical size, if one has a 21% efficiency rating and the other has a 14% efficiency rating, the 21% efficient panel will produce 50% more kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity under the same conditions as the 14% efficient panel. Thus, maximizing energy use and bill savings is heavily reliant on top tier solar panel energy efficiency.

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How much do solar panels cost in Las Vegas, Nevada?

cost of solar panels las vegas

The past decade has witnessed astounding growth in the U.S. solar industry, but a few key states have led the way. Many stakeholders are aware that sunny West Coast states like California and Arizona are winners for solar power but somewhat under the radar is Nevada – the 4th biggest state in the U.S. in terms of installed capacity as well as solar job creation. Nearly ten percent of the state’s electricity comes from solar power and nearly half a million homes are running on solar in 2017. Las Vegas is also shining in terms of the top cities for solar in the U.S. In this article we’ll explain why Las Vegas is one of the best places to go solar in 2017 and what you can expect a solar panel system to cost.

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Why are solar panels so expensive? Understanding the cost of a solar panel system

The Cost of a Solar Panel System

While the most expensive part of going solar is paying for the equipment, it still only represents 25 percent of the overall expense. Soft costs, or the outlays that installers spend just trying to find you and appeal to you, also contribute a significant percentage. Here’s a breakdown so that you can understand the cost of a solar panel system, plus tips on how you can save money!

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How much do solar panels cost in Seattle, Washington?

solar panel cost seattle

In 2016, solar panel installations grew by 95 percent in the United States, a trend that is expected to continue in 2017. Though there was strong growth in solar nationwide, installations are increasing at an expedited rate in concentrated areas of the country. Washington State has witnessed a 64% decline in solar prices over the past five years and, according to SEIA, is forecasted to see a whopping 278 MW of solar installed over the next five. Seattle is quickly becoming one of the best cities for solar in America thanks to Washington’s great payback incentive and net-metering policy as well as the city of Seattle’s growing market competition.

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What is an SREC? Net metering credits explained

what is an srec graphic People often think SRECs and net-metering are the same thing, but really, the comparison is like apples to oranges. It’s true that they are both important to getting the best financial results from your solar PV system, but SRECs and solar net-metering actually have very different, distinct functions.

SRECs are a way to put cash in your pockets while net-metering is an efficient way to manage the finances related to your utility bill. Both can have positive financial effects and understanding the difference between the two can help you, as the owner of a solar PV system, to maximize the benefits of both. Here’s how it all works: Continue reading

Can I go off the grid with solar batteries? Excess solar energy explained

Going off the grid with solar batteries

Newer, more efficient solar panels and inverters have been in the news recently, but advancements in solar technology aren’t limited to standard equipment. Energy storage is also moving closer to mass-market adoption, and more installers are offering solar batteries and solar panel battery banks (a.k.a. solar-plus-storage) as an option for homeowners. Solar-plus-storage systems include a battery that captures and stores the excess solar energy generated by the PV system, opening up the possibility of going “off the grid” – a tempting proposition for homeowners who want to sever their connection with utility companies by using renewable energy.

Since solar battery technology is relatively new to the solar market, there isn’t significant solar storage capacity deployed in the U.S. That won’t be the case for long though: between utility and residential installations, solar battery deployment is expected to increase twelve times over in 2015. As solar batteries become cheaper and more accessible for homeowners, more people are wondering, “Can I use solar batteries to go off the grid with my solar panel system?”

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What happens if your tax liability is too small to claim the Investment Tax Credit for solar?

investment tax credit

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a generous incentive from the federal government. It was put in place to encourage uptake of solar energy and other renewable energy systems in 2006. It has been tremendously successful in this goal: the number of solar installations in the US has increased 1,600% since the ITC was introduced.

Many EnergySage customers quickly understand the potential benefits of the ITC, but have questions when it comes to the particulars of how it operates. Frequently, we field questions about whether or not they can claim the ITC at all, and when and how it can be applied to their tax bills. Continue reading

Congress extends solar tax credit – everything you need to know about the federal ITC

federal solar tax credit itc extension

Congress has voted to extend the solar tax credit for homeowners through 2021.

Homeowners, solar companies, and industry advocates alike were given a big Christmas gift in 2015 when Congress approved the 2016 federal spending bill and extended the solar panel tax credit. The December 18 bill contained a 5-year solar tax credit extension, which makes solar more affordable for all Americans. Wondering how this impacts you? EnergySage has the answers.

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