Solar Panel ROI Guide

Reader Contribution by Sarah Kezer and 123solarpower
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Are solar panels a good investment, even if you may sell your home in the future? Research says yes! Buying a solar panel system is good investment not only in the wellness of the environment, but also the value of your home. A study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL) concluded that homebuyers have consistently been willing to pay more for a property with photovoltaic systems. This was found to be true across a variety of states, housing and markets, and home types. Who wouldn’t want a home with extremely low utility bills?

 Buying into residential solar power is a great way for homeowners to save on their electricity costs every month, and make the home more desirable once it goes back on the market. If you’re thinking about going solar, there are specific steps you can take to help make sure you get the greatest return on investment, whether you move sometime in the future or not!

 Local Advantage

A good first step to take is to do some research on the benefits of solar power in the state you live. The federal investment tax credit , which applies to residents in all 50 states, will allow you to apply 30 percent of the cost of your solar system as a tax credit to your income tax bill. In addition to this, there may be local and state incentives that you can take advantage of to cut the cost of your initial investment.

 Another consideration is the utility rates in your area. This will have a hand in determining the savings you’ll reap over the life of your solar system. The more expensive the electricity, the more money you’re saving when you switch to solar. Hence, making it an even more attractive feature for future homebuyers.

 The third location-based factor is the net-metering policy in your state. Net metering allows homeowners who generate their own electricity from solar panels to receive credit for feeding the extra electricity they don’t use back onto the utility grid. When you’re hooked up the grid, you’ll only be billed for the net energy use. So when your panels produce more energy than you need, perhaps in the middle of the day, your electricity meter can literally run backwards to provide you with a credit against what electricity is consumed during other periods when the electricity use exceeds the system’s output. 

 If all three of these incentives are in your favor, than you’re in for the optimal return on a solar investment.

 Get The Most Power From Your Panels

The more power your system produces, the less money you pay the utility companies. One of the biggest factors that will affect your systems output is where it is installed. Rooftop installations are the most common because it best exposes the panels to the most sunlight. What kind of roof do you have and how much sun exposure does it get? A south-facing roof with a 30-degree pitch is the ideal situation, but panels can also be installed on the ground, it just depends on what is the best place on your property. Even if your roof doesn’t fit the ideal criteria, there are plenty of solutions that a solar installation professional can help you find.

When it comes to choosing the exact type of solar system to purchase, its best to first evaluate how your home consumes energy. Look at your past utility bills for trends and try new habits to reduce your overall electricity use. By gaining control over your energy usage, you can reduce the size of the solar panel system you’ll need, lowering your investment and operating cost. Next, you’ll need to decide the types of panels are best for your home. Monocrystaline, polycrystalline, and thin-film photovoltaic cells are the most common type on the market right now. A good solar consultant can help you determine which suits your property, which brings us to the next point.

Get A Bang For Your Buck

Choosing the right solar power company is a huge part of the process, and possibly the most important in determining your ROI. The best way to find qualified solar installers in your area is by utilizing a trusted marketplace. This way, you can compare several providers at once who will compete for you business. And making sure that you get the best deal to begin with, means a better return in the future.

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. Read all of Sarah’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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