Are Solar Panels Worth It in 2024?
Advantages of Solar
Although we’ve rolled into a new year, one question still remains: is investing in solar worth it? It’s a complicated question with no simple answer – your location, financial incentives, intended duration of residence and home value are several key factors. To help make your decision a little easier, we’re shedding some light on different key factors you should know as a homeowner considering solar.
1. Lower Electric Bill
The first advantage when it comes to solar is pretty cut and dry – solar panels offer an attractive, long-term solution for homeowners looking to reduce their electricity bills. By investing in solar energy now, you can take control of your utility costs as they continue to rise. Since 2010, prices have increased by 5 percent while the price per watt from solar systems dropped 70 percent over that same time period. With a 25-35 year life span ahead, making the switch to solar is sure to last well into the future.
2. Increase Home Value
According to a 2019 Zillow report, homes with solar panels sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. For the median-valued home, that translates to an additional $9,274. If you ever decide to sell your home complete with a solar system in place, solar installation will make your home much more attractive for potential buyers.
3. Renewable Resource
Solar panels provide an opportunity for homeowners to tap into clean, sustainable energy from the sun’s rays and help protect our planet. With alternative forms of power making a positive contribution towards reducing carbon footprints all over the world, we can benefit from cleaner air while taking action on climate change. Investing in solar helps minimize humanity’s carbon footprint overall.
4. Minimal Maintenance
A standard system is designed to last for at least 25 years with little to no maintenance over that period. The most common maintenance required is light cleaning for any debris that has collected on your roof. Typically, regular rainfall will take care of this maintenance on its own. The other maintenance some homeowners choose to do routinely is an annual inspection by a professional to confirm your panels are receiving optimal sunlight and working as they should.
5. Potential Tax Credit
By taking advantage of solar rebates and incentives, you can save significantly on the cost of your new installation – often pocketing money each month! The federal ITC is one incentive that saves 30% off your total costs with no cap to its value. In addition to this, states may also grant savings up to 50%, including state tax credits, cash rebates and certificates for renewable energy production. With all of these programs combined, you have a good shot at earning back a large portion of your upfront costs.
6. Energy Independence
Solar power enables individuals and communities to achieve greater energy independence by offering a dependable and sustainable energy source unaffected by fluctuations in traditional energy prices or availability.
Through the generation of electricity using solar systems, both individuals and communities can diminish their dependence on utility companies, fostering increased self-sufficiency in managing their solar needs.
Disadvantages of Solar
In what cases is solar not the best option? Here are a few instances where it may not be worth the investment:
1. Installation Cost
Even with the incentives and tax credits available, solar can be a steep upfront investment. The average cost of a solar system can be upwards of $20,000, so it’s important to be aware that solar companies can charge high prices for installation.
2. Electricity Bills are Low
If you currently pay a reasonable amount for your electricity bill, it’s important to take into account that you may not break even for a long time based on initial investments for solar. The primary draw for solar is that it saves you money by offsetting electricity costs, which may be a nonissue if costs are manageable.
Your home’s location can make or break its solar power system, as areas with more sunshine year-round generate significantly higher returns on investment. It’s also important to note that roofs facing south, southwest, or west receive more direct radiation from the sun, allowing the panels to work to their full potential.
4. Not for All Roof Types
The size, shape and slope of your roof are important factors to take into account when exploring solar possibilities. Roof structures can certainly be roadblock with solar installation, with the most ideal set up being a south-facing roof with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees. Steeps roofs can make installation really challenging and may require additional mounting equipment. Plenty of open space and lack of obstructions from surrounding trees, chimneys, etc is ideal for putting solar in place.
How to Maximize Solar Savings
In most cases, going solar is a smart investment. We’ve put together a few tips to make sure you’re maximizing you’re reaping all the benefits throughout the process:
1. Shop Around
Shopping for solar panels can be an intimidating and challenging process. It’s crucial to invest time in researching and comparing quotes from multiple companies in order to find transparency, top-notch quality, and a price that fits within your budget. Exploring all of your installation options will give you the competitive edge, resulting in high quality work at the best price.
2. Look Local
Majority of the time, inflated installation prices are seen from the larger installers in the industry. While this isn’t always the case, it’s important to compare quotes with local installers to ensure you’re not overpaying for your solar installation.
3. Research Equipment Options
When looking for the optimal solar installation, all options must be weighed carefully. While some equipment may boat high efficiency ratings and tempting price tags, investing in the more expensive options does not automatically mean higher savings. To uncover the best system for your needs, you’ll need to compare quotes with different types of panels and inverters along with various financing offers before choosing your setup.
How Much Will Solar Installation Cost?
There are various factors that contribute to the overall cost of your solar panel system, so it’s crucial to do thorough research on overall price before committing. As solar continues to become an increasingly popular choice, the cost will likely decrease further. Some of the main factors that will affect your budget include:
1. System size
The amount of energy you use is directly linked to the size and cost of your solar set up. More consumption requires a larger system, which will lead to a need for more panels. The bigger your system, the pricier it will be.
Cheaper panels may feel like an easy way to cut corners when it comes to cost, but it’s important to strike a balance of savings and quality investments. You’ll want to make sure the equipment you invest in will last and work efficiently.
3. Roof characteristics
If the space, slope, and direction of your roof are not ideal, it doesn’t mean solar isn’t still in the cards for your home. However, the more complex the installation the more costly it will be. Additionally, if your panels aren’t getting direct sunlight they will be less efficient, reducing savings.
Solar companies will differ in their installation price, so it’s important to shop around and find the best fit for you and your project needs.
Solar prices differ from state to state, and generally warmer states see cheaper prices. Rebates and incentives will also be dependent on location, which will be crucial factors in your total installation cost.
Is Solar Worth it in 2024?
1. Rise in Electric Costs
Electricity costs have seen a spike and will likely continue to rise. According to sources, as of December 1, 2022, Duke Energy Progress raised their rates to $0.129 per kWh (after tax). This is a 9.3% increase in energy costs, compared to their typical 4% average increase in past decades.
2. Decline in Solar Costs
As we’re seeing a rise in electricity prices, the price of solar panels has dropped. According to EnergySage, the cost of solar is 29% less today than it was almost 10 years ago. With many affordable loan and financing options, solar is within reach for most home and business owners.
The declining prices of solar panels can be attributed to advancements in manufacturing methods, heightened competition between solar firms, and the benefits of scale. Based on factors such as these, the return on investment (ROI) for solar installations has notably increased, making solar a practical choice for both residential and commercial properties.
3. Advancements in Technology
The solar sector continues to progress swiftly with constant technological strides. The year ahead is anticipated to unveil heightened efficiency and durability in solar panels, refined energy storage solutions, and extended uses of solar technology. These advancements alone elevate the effectiveness of solar and extend the panel lifespan, resulting in probable prolonged financial wins.
4. Take Advantage of Government Incentives
Government incentives at the state and federal level are set to decline in the coming years. Act now to capitalize on current government incentives, because it’s possible you could miss out on these programs if you are playing a waiting game.
Overall, for the majority of homeowners solar is a smart investment in 2024. We have slowly started to see inflation fall, and more people are being trained on the ins and outs of installing solar, with large investments at the federal level. Serious supply chain issues faced in previous years are now resolved as well. If you’re interested in installing solar for your home, get started here.
How long does it take solar to pay for itself?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average payback period for solar panels is between six and 10 years.
How much do solar panels generally cost?
According to sources, solar panels cost about $20,020 as of 2023 for a 10kW system. This estimation includes the federal solar tax credit, but not additional local rebates and incentives that may be available.
Should you wait to buy solar panels?
Even though prices of solar panels are expected to fall, waiting is not a definite savings. The longer you wait to go solar, the less likely you are to be able to take advantage of current rebates and tax credits available – the longevity of these perks is uncertain.