If I Purchase Solar Will it Break the Bank?


Solar panels are an investment, and because of the initial cost of panels and installation, many people are hesitant to make the leap into that investment. What many people don't realize is just how worthy an investment solar panels really are, and in the long run, they actually won't break the bank. Here is a look at the true cost of solar panel installation. You may be surprised to learn that the value of a solar power system isn't just monetary.

Upfront Costs

Your initial solar panel cost is going to depend heavily on where you live and how large your home is. A reasonable middle area would be to say for most people they're about the same price as a new car. Also like a new car, you can finance or lease your solar panels. Your upfront cost could be no more than the lease payment you make on the equipment, or the loan payment you make to finance toward ownership of the equipment. There are benefits for each, and the right choice is going to vary from person to person.

Financing Your Solar Energy System

Anyone with a fair to excellent credit score can finance solar panels. You can usually get financing through the solar energy system provider, or you can go through your traditional bank. As with anything you finance, the better your credit score is, the less you'll pay for the total purchase over time. The benefit of financing your solar energy system is that once is paid off, the panels and the energy you produce are yours. You'll have no more payments and your energy bill will be close to non-existent.

Leasing a Solar Energy System

If you lease your solar energy system, you don't own the panels that produce energy. The solar provider who installed them does. They also handle the solar energy system design, permitting and paperwork. The design will be based on the expected amount of energy your home uses. What you own is the energy being produced by the solar energy system. Each month, you make a fixed price lease payment. In the end, you should still be paying less for your solar power lease than you pay to the utility company every month.

Power Purchase Agreement

A third option for acquiring solar power is to neither lease nor purchase the equipment. In this option, the solar provider installs the solar energy system on your home and then sells you the energy produced by the system. This energy is still going to be more affordable than energy you would purchase from your local utility company.

The benefit of this type of agreement is the solar company handles all the permitting, paperwork and maintenance, and you simply enjoy the savings. Also, your energy costs are pre-determined and agreed upon so you don't have to worry about your energy bill fluctuation.

Outright Purchase

Your other option for procuring a solar energy system is to pay cash for it. You don't make any monthly payments to the provider of your system and the energy the system produces doesn't cost you anything. The only energy payment you'll make each month will be to the utility company for the energy you use that your system doesn't cover, which should be minimal. For the purchase and the lease, you will need to have scheduled maintenance on your panels. They should be cleaned a few times every year, and some homeowners are able to do this maintenance themselves with a garden house and a leaf blower.  The life expectancy for each of your panels should be between 25 and 30 years.

Overall Cost of Solar Energy Installation

It may sound like a solar panel system is a large and costly investment, but you have to consider what you're getting in return. Your solar energy production is going to largely replace any energy you use off your utility grid. Once your solar power system is paid for, if you choose to purchase your system, you're going to have very small utility bills for the next twenty years. When you look at it that way, your investment was actually quite small. While every situation is going to be different, many experts estimate that on average a solar power system pays for itself in just under eight years.

Another thing to consider is the increase to your home value. Though very few homes have solar power systems, they are extremely desirable. On average, a system can increase your home's value by around $15,000, which is likely going to be close to the original cost of having them installed.

Impact to the Environment

The impact to the environment cannot be overlooked when discussing the cost of a solar power system. Actually, the environment is to the point that it can't afford to use anything other than clean energy. Solar power is clean and sustainable energy. It doesn't use any natural resources to create power, and in the production of power, it doesn't pollute the environment or the earth's atmosphere. There aren't many sources of energy that can make those claims, and the majority of energy sources being used today are harmful to the air people breath as well as the earth's atmosphere.

Every home that elects to use solar power is reducing greenhouse emissions and contributing to a better quality of life in the long term for everyone. If everyone were to utilize clean energy, there would be a dramatic reduction in human ailments including cancers, lung disorders and heart disease. That's something that can't be measured with a price tag.

When you consider the overall value of a solar panel system, it's a wonder more people aren't going out of their way to get into one. They not only offer substantial savings on a monthly utility bill, but the savings to the planet are even more valuable. The sooner you get your system up and running, the better the outlook is for the future of your children and their children.