If you’re looking for an investment that will help to save you money as well as conserve fossil fuels, solar power is great option for many homeowners and businesses. With the continual drop in equipment prices, the advantages of solar energy just keep growing.
Of course, before undertaking such a project you may be wondering how much can solar panels save exactly? Let’s jump in by going over some of the basics to gain a full understanding of the power of solar energy.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels allow homeowners and businesses to produce their own electricity, using what Mother Nature provides for free! A solar panel, also referred to as a photovoltaic (PV) module, is made up of an assembly of solar cells which use light energy from the sun to generate electricity.
The flow of electric charges produced by the panels is then run through an inverter which converts it into usable electricity. Clusters of panels can then be mounted onto the rooftops of residences or commercial properties to produce a range of electricity, turning your home into a solar powerhouse.
How Much Can Solar Panels Save Me?
The amount of savings available for solar panel users is determined by several factors, including the amount of sunlight, the cost of electricity in that region, and financial incentives available in the state.
First, the amount of power generated by a solar system at a particular home or business depends on how much of the sun's energy reaches it. Obviously, the sunnier the better. That being said, although cloudy areas won’t produce as much solar electricity as sunny places, they can still produce enough to make your purchase worth it if the following factors are also available in that area.
Second, the cost of electricity through your traditional power provider will give you some insight into how much you can save with your own solar panels, logically the more expensive traditional electricity is, the more you can save with your own system each month.
The last important factor on saving money with a solar energy investment is the availability of state rebates and incentives.
A number of states offer large cash-back rebates for installing solar on your home or business, immediately saving you money on startup costs of the solar system. Some of the states with the largest solar incentives include California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Arizona, Hawaii, South Carolina, Maryland, and Massachusetts, to name a few.
Learn more about offerings in your states here.
Other Advantages of Solar Energy
In conjunction with conserving the use of electricity from fossil fuels, there are many solar panel benefits that users can take advantage of. The use of a solar power system produces no air, water or global warming pollution, making it a very green energy alternative to heat water, cool and heat homes and businesses.
Most solar energy systems are capable of powering houses and small businesses without any connection to the electricity grid, allowing these users to live “off the grid” if they desire.
In addition, power providers in most states allow net metering, an arrangement where the excess electricity generated by grid-connected renewable energy systems is fed back into the grid and if you feed more electricity into the system then used, the power company will generally pay you for the extra electricity at its avoided cost.
For homeowners, another major incentive of solar energy is to increase property value after installation. Research sponsored by the Department of Energy shows that buyers are willing to pay more for homes with rooftop solar panels. Studies have shown that home buyers are willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home with the average-size solar photovoltaic system, compared with a similar home without one. So apart from saving on your electricity bill every month, you can actually make money on your solar investment whenever you choose to sell your property.
If you’re fired up and ready to make this the summer of solar, you can easily calculate your potential savings with a solar power calculator.
You can learn the exact cost of solar panel installation on your home, and find qualified solar installers in your area by using the form below.
Photo by istock
Sarah Kezer is passionate about helping others take advantage of the power of solar energy. At 123SolarPower, Sarah assists in answering questions and providing expert information for users to explore their options when it comes to going solar. 123SolarPower connects individuals with the largest network of solar power providers in the U.S. Connect with Sarah on Twitter and Facebook.
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