How Long Does It Take for Solar Panels to Pay Off Their Energy Debt?

Find out how long it takes for Solar Panels to pay off their energy debt and learn about some myths related to this topic.

How Long Does It Take for Solar Panels to Pay Off Their Energy Debt?

Researchers have found that solar panels take only 1 to 4 years to “match” or “pay off” their energy debt. The U. S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has conclusively demonstrated, through research at the National Photovoltaic Energy Center, that photovoltaic (PV) systems prevent much more carbon dioxide and other pollution through their clean energy production than is introduced by the manufacture of photovoltaic systems.

Photovoltaic solar panels operate during peak load periods during the day, when electricity powered by oil, coal and natural gas is in greatest demand and is more expensive. In fact, in an efficiently designed photovoltaic system, panels can return excess energy to the grid when it's needed most, and that's what makes a solar-powered building's electric meter work the other way around, generating credit rather than cost. Let's take a look at some of the top myths about solar panel payback periods. The most common estimate of the average payback period for solar panels is six to ten years.

This is quite a wide range because there are many factors that will influence the number of years you can take to pay for your panels and the monthly savings you can expect. Depending on where you live and the size of your system, it can take, on average, 10 to 20 years to reach the break-even point of a solar installation. With solar panels, your roof can generate its own energy and give you energy freedom. Its roof also offers peace of mind with the current extreme climates and the outdated power grid.

So find out how much energy your roof can generate when using solar energy. The average energy needs of a U. household is a 6.62 kW solar system to match the 9,000 kWh of average US energy use. In addition, the typical solar panel produces 320 watts of electricity in ideal sunshine conditions.

Here's how many solar panels are equivalent to 3 Divide 6.62 kW (the size of the system) by 320 watts (the power of each panel). While your home is far from average, here's how you can calculate your own rough estimate. Many factors influence the calculation of the best size of the solar system. Some of these variables include the energy consumption of your home, the available square feet of your roof, the power of the solar panel, and the amount of sun the solar panels will receive.

Each Sunrun solar system is custom designed and built for your energy needs using a proprietary solar design software platform. There is definitely no one-size-fits-all solution; it can be as small or large as you want or need. Our patented technology, called BrightPath, allows us to design a specific solar system and plan for your home. Large photovoltaic systems produce the most electricity and reduce their carbon footprint more than a smaller system.

However, even if you are not limited by cost, the size of your south-facing roof can limit the size of your system. In that case, maximize the performance of your solar installation by considering smaller, high-efficiency panels to achieve your energy goals. The wide selection of solar panel models available for home use is not created equal; not all of them generate the same amount of energy. For example, two solar panels may each have an efficiency rating of 15%, but the output power of one is 250 watts and the other is 300 watts.

Higher output may simply be due to the larger physical size of the 300 watt panel, rather than having high efficiency or more advanced technology; therefore, panel efficiency is a better indicator of solar panel performance than just power output to meet your energy needs. The power of a solar panel represents its potential energy production under ideal conditions. The table below shows the minimum, maximum and average power outputs of solar panels from some leading manufacturers; each company has a wide range because it produces multiple models of solar panels. Panel wattage is important but there is only one factor included in your equation: let's say that on a good day you have an average of 5 hours of direct sunlight; multiply 5 hours of sunlight by 290 watts (the power output from a %3D solar panel) 1450 watts or approximately 1.5 kilowatt hours per day; that's about 500 to 550 kilowatt hours of energy per year from each panel in your roof! How does that compare to your annual energy consumption? The price of a home's solar system is generally based on the total energy output of its installation's solar panels; prices in the solar energy market are usually measured in dollars per watt; therefore, the total power output from your solar panels plays an important role in determining its total cost.

Harness and store the sun's abundant energy! Across the United States homeowners are installing battery storage systems with their solar panels; add more value to your solar panels by storing the energy they generate! Solar panels with battery storage maximize how much electricity your installation retains for use; by adding a battery storage system you can have even greater control over powering your energy needs; excess electricity created by your panels is stored in its battery until you need it! During a power outage when sunlight goes down or if you use additional power electricity is drawn from its battery; it's an easy and elegant solution with many benefits! With a home battery system you can collect almost all sunlight on your roof; Sunrun Brightbox system intelligently and remotely optimizes use electricity stored in its battery; if you have time-of-use rates when peak electricity rates are in effect its battery storage system automatically releases stored energy to reduce electricity costs! Brightbox battery storage allows you to generate store and manage affordable solar energy on your terms! A battery also maximizes electricity compensation from grid and ensures that you buy minimum amount energy from electric company when prices are higher.

Ismael Slagter
Ismael Slagter

Amateur sushi practitioner. Extreme internet nerd. Incurable internetaholic. Proud zombie ninja. Total foodaholic. Incurable social media lover.