You've heard about the cost of solar power systems. If you're thinking about installing one, here’s how to calculate the payback period.
This chart compares costs of utility bills without a solar system to costs of the solar system (loan, lower utility bill and maintenance). It assumes the PV system inverter is replaced at 15 years. The major drop at 20 years represents payoff of the loan.
Andy Black/OnGrid Solar
In the best cases, after you've paid the up-front cost of solar power the return on investment will be more than 10 percent, the cash flow positive and the increase in property value greater than the system cost.
Photo by Liquid Library/Matthew T. Stallbaumer
This chart shows changes in value of a property with a solar system. It appreciates until about year 11, then is limited by the savings the system will provide in its remaining lifetime.