The decision to go solar involves more factors than just how sunny your neighborhood is.
In making a decision on solar power there are four key factors to consider. They influence each household differently but can help you calculate the cost-benefit trade-off of solar on your home.
1. Your Electric Bill
Higher than you want it to be? Increasing? The energy harnessed from solar panels can significantly reduce your monthly costs.
Solar power can be a fantastic tool in reducing your monthly and annual electric bill. Even if your bill is not outrageously expensive, chances are solar can still reduce it.
2. Cost of Solar Installation
It is important to gather estimates and assessments from multiple installers to find the best system for your home. OwnMySolar structures a bidding war between installation companies to reach the lowest cost and greatest return to homeowners. The benefits of solar usually outweigh the costs but installation quotes can help you decide if the switch is worth it.
3. Incentives and Returns
Whether you experience 350 or 200 days of sunshine each year solar benefits could still outweigh the costs with the addition of government incentives and tax returns.
Tax credit: Solar is the power of the future and the federal government is rewarding homeowners with a 30% federal investment tax credit on the value of their solar energy system. This incentive was scheduled to end in 2015 but has been extended to all systems installed through 2019.
SRECS: Depending on the state, you may have the opportunity to sell your solar energy in the market for solar renewable energy certificates (SRECS); a great way to generate income while reducing your electric bill.
4. Solar Productivity
How much energy will your solar system generate?
Each home varies regarding sun exposure, roof space and design, or directional facing; all are factors that influence the solar energy yield.
Solar productivity can also be maximized by comparing quotes from multiple installers to find the best fit for your home, and the greatest energy yield.
But remember, energy yield on its own should not make your decision. It is the relative reduction of your electric bill compared to cost that matters in the big picture. The number of peak sunlight hours is not the only factor that influences the cost-benefit ratio. In states such as New York and Massachusetts sunshine is not plentiful. Even though, the cost of electricity is relatively higher, numerous state incentives make solar increasingly affordable and attractive.
You now have the data to decide if solar is right for your home.
All these factors help to answer the ultimate question: How much will solar installation decrease your electric bill? While the environmental benefits are reason enough to switch over to solar, it very well could be saving you money. Homeowners who have solar systems save, on average, up to $187 each month as a direct result of solar installation.