Are Solar Panels Worth It?
Thinking about going solar but unsure if solar panels are worth it?
If the the concept of solar panels appeals to you: reducing utility bills, improving home value, and helping the environment – you may still struggle with making the final decision to invest. You want to be sure that any money you put into solar energy will be worth it.
We’ve tried to answer some of the questions you probably have below.
We hear this word a lot – whether talking about your ‘net worth’, or seeing shampoo commercials that tell you “you’re worth it.”
Solar panels require an investment–of money, of your time, of your roof. Let’s break these items down a bit more so you can decide for yourself if solar energy is worth it for you.
Is it worth the expense?
If you’re concerned about the financial aspects, there are several things to consider: from whether or not it is too expensive, to the various factors that impact how much solar costs. Different states have different policies and incentives affecting how quickly you make back your investment, since there are differing tax credits and laws impacting whether or not excess energy can be sold back to the utility company.
Most solar installations will pay for themselves through a combination of avoided electricity costs and a 30% federal tax credit. After you make back your investment, you will start saving money!
So if cash is your priority when you ask whether or not solar is worth it, the answer is probably a ‘yes’.
Is it worth the time and maintenance?
If your time is what you value, you may wonder if solar power is worth the effort to select the panels, talk to installers, and maintain the panels throughout their lifetime. Just sticking to your energy status quo might sound like the easiest route.
The good news is, with the right contractor, it can be an easy process! We have 6 tips for finding the right solar contractor for you, and they can install panels on many types of roofs. After the installation you will probably have to clean your solar panels from time to time. You can do it yourself or hire a professional cleaner, making it as easy as you need.
And if the value of your home is on your mind too, great news: installing solar panels on your home outright increases the value of your home if and when you choose to sell.
So if you are wondering if it will be worth the energy to have them installed and maintained, the answer is usually a ‘yes’.
Are the environmental benefits worth it?
If you value a healthy environment, going solar is certainly worth it. Investing in solar panels has a ton of environmental benefits, all stemming from the fact that you will be reducing your dependence on fossil fuels by choosing to create self-sufficient electricity coming from the sun shining on your property.
The benefit that we think of most often is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, which most scientists agree is causing climate change. How much of an impact will you have? SolarCity estimates that a typical solar roof, over 30 years, offsets the carbon that would come from burning 166,000 pounds of coal or 17,000 gallons of gasoline.
If that isn’t enough to sway you, think about this: the mining and burning of coal and gas – the way your electricity is probably generated without solar – also harms forests and ecosystems and creates contaminated mining byproducts.
And if you’re afraid you won’t make a big enough impact on the environment alone to warrant the installation of panels, you might be interested to know that installing solar on your home may very well influence your neighbors to do the same thing. Before you know it, your choice can make a big impact. So if the environment is what you value, going solar is worth it.
Is it a worthwhile choice for the economy?
But what about the impact of your choice to go solar on the economy? We’ve heard a lot about jobs decreasing in the fossil fuels sector – but did you know that solar energy now employs more Americans than coal, oil, and gas combined? There is a big job market out there that your decision can help strengthen.
You can feel good about where your money goes, too – depending on what solar installer you choose, you can help a small local business, instead of buying your electricity from a large oil or gas company. So if you value where your money goes in the economy, purchasing solar is a worthy decision.
Are solar panels worth it? A resounding Yes!
Whether it is money or time, environment or the economy – no matter what you value the most, solar energy is worth it. For more in-depth information:
- Try out Google’s Project Sunroof to see how much solar could cost for you.
- Solar Power World has a list of the Top 500 North American Solar Contractors (look for Residential!) to see if any of them service your area.
- Read more about the benefits of solar on the environment from the Solar Energy Industries Association.
- The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census gives more information about the type of jobs that are helped by solar.