If you’re thinking about investing in solar panels, there’s probably one main question on your mind: “How much do solar panels save me?” This is a very important question, but there’s no clear-cut answer.
When you consider the pros and cons of solar energy, it’s important to realize that your solar savings will depend on several different factors.
The price of electricity fluctuates from state to state. In Hawaii for instance, the cost of electricity is through the roof. The average Hawaiian consumer might end up paying as much as $4000 a year for their electricity. In a scenario like this, solar power can make a tremendous difference. States that have the highest electricity prices will reap the greatest benefits from solar energy. This is one of the primary pros of solar energy; it helps to ease the impact of high electricity prices. The states with the highest rates include Michigan, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Hampshire, California, Vermont, Connecticut, Alaska, New York, and Hawaii.
The national average price of electricity has risen from $0.0725 per kilowatt-hour in 2001 to $.1284 per kilowatt-hour in May 2014. Economists believe that rates will continue to increase in the coming years, increasing the amount of savings from solar panels. The United States is moving towards a critical point where it’s beginning to make more financial sense to go solar than stay married to your utility provider. As the price of electricity rises and the cost of solar technology plunges, it will make more sense to invest in solar panels.
It’s also important to consider how much energy you’re capable of generating. This depends on your location, the amount of sunlight you receive, how much space you have for panels and a number of other factors. If you have limited roof space, a solar ground mount system may be a better option. However, you still need to carefully consider the price that you’re paying for electricity before making the decision to go solar.
However, you still need to carefully consider the price that you’re paying for electricity before making the decision to go solar.
How long does a solar panel last and how much can you expect to save over that period? Will the solar energy pros outweigh the costs?
These two factors will influence how much solar panels can save you.
Other factors that you’ll need to incorporate into your cost/benefit analysis are the potential incentives and rebates that you’ll get as a result of going solar. Many offer solar tax credits and rebates. If you live in a state that encourages the use of solar energy in this way, it’s very possible that investing in solar makes sense for you. These incentives can include rebates and net metering.
One of the cons of solar energy is that incentives often lie at the mercy of politicians. You never know what sorts of reforms will be put into place in your state. This means that government incentives are unstable and subject to change.
Learn more about state incentives here at the DSIRE database.
Your total solar panel savings will depend largely on the above factors, but we’ll look at a couple of examples. If you live in California, you can actually save anywhere from a few dollars to many hundreds of dollars per month.
In Florida, you can save an average $139 a month. On the flip side, if you live in West Virginia, you’ll only be able to save an average of $40 a month.
After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of solar power, it’s clear that solar energy works best if your electric bills are high and your state provides incentives to go solar. Those are the two primary factors to consider before deciding whether or not to install solar panels.
Interested in getting exact prices for the cost solar for your home? Get competitive solar quotes from qualified, trusted installers in your area. To see an estimate for how much you could expect to save and how much a solar system would cost, try our solar calculator.