Will Buying Solar Panels Really Save Money?

Solar panels transform light into usable energy.

Solar panels transform light into usable energy.

If your home has a lot of sun exposure and your power provider will connect your solar system to the grid and credit your account for the energy you produce, you may be able to save a substantial amount of money over the long term by converting to solar. In addition to insulating yourself against rising electrical costs, you can also receive credit from your power provider for any unused energy that you produce.


Although the average start-up cost for a home solar system is in the tens of thousands of dollars, the initial cost can be recouped and a profit realized if you are willing to make a long-term commitment. The average home requires a solar system that is around 3 to 7 kilowatts, which costs between $18,000 and $40,000. The actual final cost will vary according to the size and complexity of your system. About 45 percent of the total cost is for equipment, 25 percent is for installation and permits, and 30 percent is for sales, marketing and system maintenance.


The average household, as of 2010, spent an estimated $200 a month on utilities, or $2,400 annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy costs have risen an average of 3.75 percent annually -- at that rate of inflation, a homeowner currently paying $2,400 annually for utilities will need to spend $6,000 annually in 25 years.

Long-Term Investment

If, for example, your system cost you $20,000 initially to install and you are spending an average of $2,400 annually on utilities, you would recover the cost of your investment in a little more than eight years. Once you have recouped your initial investment, you will be able to fully save the money you used to spend routinely on electricity for other things. An independent solar system also protects your family against rising energy costs and shortages while reducing your family's carbon footprint.


Homeowners who purchase a solar system are eligible for a 30 percent rebate on the total cost of their photovoltaic system, in the form of a federal solar tax credit. However, you may have to wait up to 16 months to receive the credit from the time you apply. Visit Dsireusa.org to discover solar tax credits, rebates and other incentives offered by your state, city or power provider.


About the Author

Tracy Stefan began writing professionally in 2007, with work appearing on various websites. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and performing arts from the Evergreen State College. Stefan is also a graduate of Dell'Arte.

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