Is Solar Power Worth the Investment?

If you live in an area with high energy rates and can afford initial investment then installing solar panels may be worth it while 26% tax exemption applies. Learn more about net metering policies & buyback rates before investing.

Is Solar Power Worth the Investment?

If you live in an area with high energy rates and a proper solar rating, and can afford the initial investment, it's worth considering installing solar panels in your home while the 26% tax exemption applies. But don't expect to eliminate your electricity bill overnight. The direct cost of recycling is only part of the end-of-life burden. Panels are delicate and bulky pieces of equipment that are usually installed on roofs in the residential context, and skilled labor is required to take them off and remove them without breaking into pieces before reaching the truck.

In addition, some governments may classify solar panels as hazardous waste due to the small amounts of heavy metals (cadmium, lead, etc.), which entails a number of costly restrictions. A scam is defined as a robbery, a trap or a scam. In the case of solar energy, I would suggest that solar panel manufacturers are knowingly selling products that don't work as directed. Solar panels are not a scam if care is taken when buying quality products from a well-known manufacturer and they are installed correctly.

Our solar experts have conducted hours of research and compiled dozens of data points to determine if solar energy is a good option for homeowners in each state. We've also rated and reviewed hundreds of solar installers without prejudice so you can make the right choice for your home. In the past two years alone, renewable energy sources have officially become cheaper than fossil fuels due to a phenomenal decade of reduced solar energy prices. But what does that mean for the average homeowner? In most cases, installing a photovoltaic solar panel system on the roof will offer greater lifetime value than staying connected to a utility provider.

However, that doesn't mean solar is the right choice for every homeowner. Below is a video showing what life is like after 10 years of owning and using solar panels. We thought this video did a great job of showing the perspective of a regular homeowner determining the value of a rooftop solar panel platform. Location will be the primary factor in deciding the potential value of solar energy for your home, which goes beyond sunlight and requires considering electricity rates, local politics, and more.

Solar works best in homes with high electricity bills, so evaluating your electricity usage is the best place to start. If you don't know how much electricity your home uses, check your most recent energy bill. Under “billing period”, you should see a figure labeled as kilowatt-hours (kWh) used. If your home's energy consumption exceeds 500 kWh per month, you're likely to be a good candidate for solar energy.

Now, as you evaluate the value that solar energy represents to you, remember that a large part of the price you would pay for a solar installation will include time, labor, and permits. We do not recommend that anyone whose electricity consumption is less than 500 kWh per month invest in solar energy since the savings that a few solar panels would generate over the years probably don't cover the minimum rates of hiring a full-service solar contractor. Arguably, the most important step in determining if solar energy is worthwhile for you is evaluating your roof. Roofs facing south and west are the best direction for solar panels as these panels will receive the most direct sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere.

Your array will need direct sunlight for most of the day, especially during peak hours. If neighboring buildings or trees block your access to sunlight, even for a few hours of the day, your system's efficiency could suffer. Irradiance maps provide a unique view of variations in the amount of sunlight roofs receive. Your roof will also need enough space for a full range of solar panels; keep in mind that a 5 kW system (around the minimum size) will require at least 15 square meters and roofs with misplaced obstructions such as chimneys, skylights, and ventilation grilles will reduce available space.

During my time working for a solar company, net metering and buyback rates were the most frequently overlooked considerations for customers deciding if solar was worth it. Net metering (and energy policy in general) is complex but we recommend having an idea of your company's net metering policy and buyback rate before consulting with a company. Net metering is a billing agreement where excess energy produced by your system is measured by your utility company and subtracted from your monthly electricity bill; in other words, you pay for “net worth” of electricity consumed. Most states have some type of electricity buyback program but exact policy varies considerably from state to state (even company to company).

The average repurchase rate in U. S. UU. About 75% of retail value of surplus electricity is likely to fall; in states where net metering is more favorable you'll receive true one-to-one credit while some states completely lack net metering policies so if yours doesn't offer it you'll lose key home solar benefit that would lower return on investment (ROI).

Buying a solar battery to maximize efficiency of system would be next best decision but won't be financially feasible for all homeowners; therefore if battery discarded and you live in area with poor or non-existent net metering policy then solar energy may not be worth it for you. You'll notice estimated lifetime savings should be close to equalizing difference between 25-year power load and total price of system.

Ismael Slagter
Ismael Slagter

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