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Saving Money With Solar Power

Saving Money With Solar Power

When it comes to saving money on energy, solar power is a great option, and one that is worth investigating.  Whether or not it will work for you depends on where you live and what types of incentives you can cash in on. Homeowners can take control of their utility bills by using the sun’s energy with a custom-designed array of solar shingles, which feeds electricity to the home.”  In this post I’ll discuss a few of the factors to consider when determining whether or not solar power can save you money.

For starters, consider where you live.  Look into the number of sunny days per year to determine how effective your solar panels will be.  For example, if you live in a place like London or Seattle, where it rains a lot, it could be a deterrent to the amount of money you’d save, and in some cases it may not be cost effective.  Also, when considering where you live, you do not have to factor in the average temperature, but rather just the amount of sun.  That’s because photovoltaic solar panels only convert the light to electricity.  They do not convert heat.  While there are some thermal systems that use heat to warm your water, typical solar panels do not.  That means that solar panels are as effective in the winter as they are in the summer, and that you can still consider buying them if you live in a cold climate.

will solar power save you money?Another consideration is the environmental benefit.  If you run the numbers and determine that solar panels would be a close to break even proposition, you may still wish to proceed with them solely because they help the environment.  To many, this is as big of factor as the idea of saving money, and should be considered in your decision on whether or not to purchase solar power.

Another factor to consider is the efficiency.  Solar panels are rated with an efficiency rated.  That rating climbs over time as the technology that converts energy gets better and better.  If you checked a few years back and it didn’t make sense because the panels weren’t efficient enough, you should check again today.  Technology has helped make this sort of energy much more viable.

Perhaps the biggest factor is cost.  The cost of solar panels and installation can be expensive.  Luckily, as companies get better at producing the panels, the costs gradually decline.  This makes the breakeven period decrease and the investment in solar a better deal.  At the time I write this, there is actually a big glut of inventory in the solar industry, as many companies ramped up production at the same time other energy prices fell and some of the incentives for buying solar lapsed.  Factors like that can make a big difference in the cost of your system.  Also, there are lots of incentives at the federal, state and local levels to purchase a solar system.  Sometimes even your electric company will offer incentives.  And most power companies will actually buy your excess energy back from you.

Finally, you should consider leasing a solar panel system.  Leasing solar equipment is a recent trend.  The amount of money you put down upfront will determine how much money you save each month and when the payback period is.  For example, if you bought a $15,000 system you would save 100% of the energy that the system produces.  For some households, that can be nearly 100% of your electric costs.  However, the payback period could be as long as 10-15 years before the monthly savings will add up to the $15,000.  If you lease the equipment, you may be able to pay $5,000 upfront for the installation for a 20 year period.  The rest of the cost of the equipment will be financed by the company you bought it from, and instead of getting all of the energy for free, you will have to pay part of it back to the leasing company each month.  In some cases, you can lease the equpment with no money down.  However, before you do so, you should try to get some type of guarantee from the leasing company that the system will save you more than the cost of leasing.

Hopefully, you can use these ideas on how to save money on solar power to help you make your own decision on whether it works for you.  Please share any of your ideas or experiences on solar power by leaving us a comment.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • FirstBaby2011 August 22, 2012, 8:58 pm

    Interesting article! Our area gets an ample amount of sunlight, so this could be beneficial for our family. If we were to get panels installed, we would probably wait until we settle into our “retirement” house though. I wonder if TXU would provide any incentives…

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  • Julie September 5, 2012, 7:06 am

    The great thing about soalr power is that you can start quite small. I can’t afford to have panels on the roof and supply my excess to the the national grid – but I do have one very small panel which is set up to power the light sockets.

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  • katemcbride June 19, 2013, 10:42 am

    Solar systems in this country (Ireland ) are mainly geared towards heating water rather than supplying electricity perhaps because we don’t have enough sun and they are being powered by daylight instead.Any alternative energy system is worth considering and solar panels are probably one of the best alternatives if the climate is suitable for it.

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  • Happyflowerlady June 22, 2013, 9:22 pm

    I think that solar power is a great idea, but we are renters, so even trying to lease a system would probably not work for us. However, I think that I can at least start buying things that can run on solar power, because those would be ours, and we would be taking them if we move somewhere else. I have some simple little things that run on solar, like flashlights, and a solar power radio, and a flat panel that can hang in the window, and charge small appliances.
    I am also getting solar lights for out in the yard, and they are motion sensor, so they will make a great night light, and not use electricity, and can even be placed in areas where there is not wiring for electrical ones.

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