What is the cost of solar energy to a homeowner interested in installing a solar home system? Learn how to assess your site for solar energy, how to estimate your cost, and the top eight tips for lowering your solar power cost.
What are the solar power costs to a homeowner interested in installing a solar home system? Homeowners interested in helping the environment and saving money on their monthly electric bills are asking this question more and more often. The good news is that the information regarding residential solar systems is more readily available than in previous years, so homeowners can do a lot of their own research prior to making any big decisions.
The first thing any homeowner should do before making an investment into a solar home system is to conduct an assessment of their home site. For example, you should ask and answer the following questions.
It's a good idea to have an understanding of how to calculate the potential expenses you could incur with a residential solar system before you sign on the dotted line. ( We also have a convenient solar calculator you can use!)
Solar energy output is measured as price per kilowatt peak or kWp. As of October 2010, the price per watt peak was $3.59 kWp, which is down from $4 kWp one year ago. A good rule of thumb for figuring out how much a solar home system will cost you as a homeowner is to estimate $8,000 to $12,000 per kilowatt peak, which includes professional installation.
Solar panels on an average home generating 3.6 kilowatts per hour can deliver roughly 10,000 kilowatts of energy, which is about half of what most average homes in the U.S. require in electricity. Given that number, a homeowner should plan for at least $15,000 at the lowest price up to $45,000, which is at the high end for a residential solar energy system.
Keep in mind also that the cost of solar energy created by an off-grid system is typically less expensive than a grid-tied solar energy home system, so rural homeowners will spend less to go green than their suburban, city, or urban neighbors.
One of the nicest benefits of going solar is that your electricity bill will be lower than ever. Over time, depending on your climate and geographic location, it's possible that you could actually generate more energy than you use, which means you won't have an electricity bill at all. It's possible that your local utility company will send you a check or give you a running credit!
You're doing the environment a favor when you utilize solar energy in place of fossil fuels. Solar energy is clean and it is renewable. Future generations will thank you.
Once your system is installed and you recoup your investment, your power is free! You'll save money while still enjoying all the creature comforts of home.
A solar home system provides greater independence from the utility companies and fossil fuels. Power outages won't be as worrisome either.
Don't be intimidated by the initial numbers associated with installing a solar energy system on your home. There are several ways you can lower the cost of your system if you know where to look.
Let's say the original cost of solar energy estimate was $45,000. After tax credits, incentives and rebates, it's feasible that your entire system could cost less than half that amount!
All of a sudden, the cost of the solar home system isn't so daunting when you consider that it will pay for itself in perhaps 5 short years. It may take up to 10 years to pay for some systems, but again, if you're planning to stay in your home for the next several years, you will still see a return on your investment.
Homeowners interested in going green and saving money should research and seriously consider the cost of solar energy as a long term investment that will reap long term benefits in future years.
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