Solar energy is more accessible and affordable than ever. On the one hand, technological advancements have made the manufacturing of solar panels cheaper — and on the other, government incentives have spawned a variety of financing options for prospective solar owners.
However, not everyone can save the same amount of money by going solar. To find out if solar is financially viable, you need to consider a few different factors.
How much sun hits your roof?
The first and foremost question you need to ask yourself is — does your roof get enough sun? If the answer’s negative, there’s no sense considering solar power any further. And it’s not just about having a roof that’s big enough — there’s a variety of physical factors that dictate the amount of sunlight the roof receives.
First, there’s shading — if your home is in the vicinity of trees or tall buildings that go above your roof, the chances are that you won’t be a great fit for solar. Sure, trees are potentially removable if they’re on your property, but that’s not always the case.
The angle of your roof is also essential — you want a tilt in the range of 30 to 45 degrees. This is the optimal angle for most panels. Luckily, that shouldn’t be an issue because most of the roofs in the US follow that standard.
There’s also the direction of the roof to consider; ideally, the panels should face towards the South to gather the most sunlight during the day. This isn’t a strict necessity, though; plenty of panels placed eastward and westward also receive enough sunshine.
How much power do you consume?
Your home’s electricity needs also decide whether investing in solar is cost-effective. Take a look at your monthly electricity consumption, and you’ll be able to deduce how much kW you’d need in your solar panels.
Generally, every kW of solar panels generates around kWh in electricity each day. In other words, a 5kW system can yield around 20kWh on a decently sunny day.
The electricity prices in your area naturally affect whether solar is a worthwhile investment. However, this is generally the case, especially when considering the certainty of electricity rate inflation over the next two decades.
Plenty of municipalities, utility companies, solar providers, and states provide financial incentives to offset the steep initial investment into solar energy. If you’re fortunate to live in an area with many solar incentives, you’ll save more money with solar.
Supportive solar policies
The most effective financial incentive for installing solar panels is the ITC — the federal investment tax credit. This tax break gives you back more than 20% of your solar investment through tax credits. However, this is only available to individuals with enough tax liability. To put it simply — retired people can’t take good advantage of the ITC.
Hardware, installation, and monitoring costs
Finally, the most obvious factor is the price of your solar provider — meaning what you’ll pay for the panels themselves, their installation, and maintenance over the years. Make sure to select the most cost-effective solar provider!