The math is actually pretty simple. If your monthly electric bill is more than $100, you could save money every month with a solar electric system. Even if you finance the cost of your system, the loan payment plus your new, lower electric bill will usually be less than your previous statement. This means your savings start immediately, and your system will eventually pay for itself.
Some homeowners may even earn back two to three times the cost. A lower electric bill and a system that pays for itself are just two reasons why solar is a smart investment.
Imagine that you had been able to lock in automobile gas prices in 2004. You would not only be paying less than $2 a gallon today, but also for decades to come. With every gas price increase, you’d be saving even more money. That’s exactly what you’re doing with the cost of electricity when you install a solar electric system.
Because solar installation is a fixed cost, savings increase as utility rates rise. Essentially, you’re building in a hedge against future rate increases. Rising utility rates are definitely something you can count on, especially considering that they’ve gone up an average of 5% per year for the past 30 years. In 2006, some states saw the highest tier residential rates jump as much as 55% in just one year!
Federal tax credits, renewable energy credits and accelerated depreciation (for businesses) can help pay for a substantial percentage of your system and installation. Depending on where you live, there may be additional incentives available from your state government or utility. WindSolarUSA can research and explain what savings are available to make your system even more affordable.
A solar electric system can increase a home's value by $20,000 for every $1,000 in reduced annual operating cost.
Solar electricity works exactly the same as the electricity you buy from the utility company. You turn on lights, plug in lamps and power appliances the same way you do right now. In fact, if you didn’t see solar modules on the roof, you’d never notice any difference—except a lower electric bill.
While the science of converting sunshine into electricity is complex, the idea is pretty simple. Solar electricity is generated by a group of solar modules called an array that's installed on your roof or in your yard. When sunlight falls on the solar modules, a DC electrical current is created instantly. The DC electricity is fed into an inverter that changes it to standard AC electricity—the same kind your home already uses.
Solar electricity has been in use for more than 50 years and is proven to be highly dependable. Unlike other methods used to generate electricity, solar doesn’t rely on moving parts that can wear out. Most modules come with a 25-30 year limited warranty, and some systems installed more than 40 years ago are still performing.
Occasionally, a solar array should be rinsed off with a hose to clear the dust or debris that blocks sunlight and reduces efficiency.
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