Solar Panels: The Perfect Plan

Solar panels are like having a diligent friend on your roof, come rain or come shine, tirelessly collecting dollars and cents at no cost to the environment. Below are eight ways solar can save you money.

1. Reduced or Negated Energy Bills

One of the best things about investing in solar is that once it is installed, you can pretty much sit back, relax, and begin to accumulate savings, or even profits.

One of the most appealing aspects of investing in solar panels is the promise of steady payback. For panels produced today, that looks to be a process taking as short as 6 years for most people of particularly sun-soaked regions. While six years may seem daunting, consider investments in solar energy as a one-time, lump sum payment for decades of energy at a fixed-price.

When calculating the cost of 25 years of guaranteed energy production, solar energy is already equal to or below that of grid power. Considering the ever upward march of energy prices, there’s a good chance that electricity will only cost more for the foreseeable future. For homeowners with an appreciation for the long-term, investing in solar energy is a very attractive choice.

How many of your other investments can power your home and provide a return of profits between 5-12%?

2. Federal Subsidies and Tax Credits

Like the Hoover Dam or other hydroelectric projects of the federal dam-building era, the current administration sees solar panels as an opportunity to invest in what is effectively clean, long-lasting, energy infrastructure. As such, homeowners looking to install photovoltaic can expect utility discounts and federal tax credits up to thirty percent of cost in Texas. This results in lower energy costs and a shortened pay-back timeframe.

3. Solar Financing Grid Parity

With the rapid fall in solar pricing and the steady rise in electricity prices, solar financing has achieved or is near “grid parity” in many large metropolitan cities. Grid parity is the point at which green energy costs roughly the same to produce as energy from fossil fuels.

4. Feed-In Tariffs

Feed-in tariffs, which are government-induced incentives for energy providers to switch to renewable energy sources, gives homeowners a means to sell surplus energy generated by their solar panels – resulting in a small profit.

5. Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) or Solar Leasing

Power Purchasing Agreements are not for everybody. However, they are a solid option for individuals daunted by the traditional front-end investment of buying solar panels outright. Basically, a provider will install a solar array at little to no cost, which the homeowner then leases for his or her energy needs with a locked-in rate that is lower than that of the local utility. The duration of these contracts are typically 15-20 years and have a variety terms. Be sure to consult with knowledgeable renewable systems providers, such as Native, when choosing the best path to solar energy.

An option for homeowners looking to add solar to their home is the solar lease. A solar lease is a financing mechanism that allows a homeowner to have a solar system installed with zero to minimal upfront cost. The homeowner does not own the system, rather the homeowner provides the rooftop space to the solar leasing company and in return receives the power generated from the system with the anticipation of paying less on their energy bills over time. Today home equity loans can be structured to allow cash flow neutrality with grid power pricing.

6. Net Metering

This policy works heavily in your favor and is available in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. Net Metering measures a home’s production (via solar panel) and consumption of electricity, diverting excess electricity that is not used throughout the day back into the grid. The upside is that utilities will often pay retail price for energy the homeowner would not have used initially, resulting in a tidy profit.

7. Soaring Home Resale Value

Homeowners who have previously installed solar panels can look forward to increased home resale values when it is time to sell. Research done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicate strong evidence that homes with solar panels sell for a premium over similar homes without sun power. Furthermore, homeowners who installed the panels themselves, as opposed to buying a house with solar panels already installed, experience premiums three times that of homeowners of the latter.

8. Long Lifespans; Negligible Maintenance

One of the best things about investing in solar is that once it is installed, you can pretty much sit back, relax, and begin to accumulate savings, or even profits. Most manufacturers include warranties of a minimum of twenty-five years assuming a conservative degradation rate of 1%. However, observed rates of degradation fall closer to the 0.2%-0.5% per year, suggesting that solar panels made today could easily last over 50 years. Many modules produced in the 70’s and 80’s are still operational to this day.

9. The Solar Industry Builds American Wealth and Jobs – As Long As We Continue to Innovate

One widely overlooked aspect of the benefits of solar industry in general is its substantial contribution to the American and local economies. Former President Bill Clinton recently pointed out that there are now more than 100,000 Americans employed in solar ranging from R&D to manufacturing to installation. Solar, and green tech in general, has been a driver of economic activity from startups in Austin TX to manufactories in the Midwest. As a wise man once said, what is good for the economy is good for everybody.

Ultimately, investing in solar technologies, and the economics involved, is only one key piece of a very concerted drive towards greater sustainability. There will be times when solar panels may not be economically appropriate or feasible, but an appropriate investment may contribute to things that cannot be measured in dollars, resale value, or payback time. These things include halting the rapid degradation of natural resources, improving the livability of cities and homes, or something as simple as having one less bill to worry about at the end of the month.

For more information, you can read more here. Also get a free native site assessment, just complete the form below and we will evaluate how solar can help you.

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