Friday, May 3, 2019

Solar Power: Is it right for your home?

solar power: is it right for your home
Photo by Carl Attard from Pexels
In 2011, a $10,000 solar system included 5 panels and your break-even point was probably around the 9-year mark. Today, that same $10,000 investment would get you 3-times the number of panels on your roof and increase the amount of converted electricity you brought in so that you would probably break even on what comes in and what goes out.

Electric companies are in business to make money and they want to make it off you. When you are making electricity, you sell it to them for say .13 cents and when the sun goes down you buy it back at say .13 cents. The hope is that you break even in what goes out and what comes in.

Maintenance or other costs


There are no maintenance costs with solar panels. You do have an option to clean them once or twice a year, but it is optional. Before you buy, look at what the warranty is and what it will cover. If they have a 25-year warranty, guaranteed to produce 85% of their output in year 25. After 25 years, most panels will work but at an increasingly degraded level. So, maybe add to your maintenance budget a panel upgrade after 15-20 years.

Also, investigate what type of inverters the solar company is installing. It is possible they will have a warranty also. Microinverters are good if you have any issue with shade on the panels. String inverters will shut down the whole panel if there is shade where microinverters will not.

Ask about how durable the panels are for the type of weather you have in the area where you live. If you worry about hail, severe thunderstorms, snow or other possible damage, you will want to know how that will affect them.

Solar Performance


Panels will not make more energy than they are rated to output but the weather will affect how much energy you make on a day. To figure out your degradation rate, you can look at the system over six-month time or year-over-year and see what your output was avoiding cloudy days.

If you are worried about what your electricity consumption will be looking into battery storage such as a Tesla power wall. It can be programmed to charge during the low electricity period and then be used when you are in the higher peak periods of electricity use.

If you are interested in figuring out what you break-even point may be here is a link to a solar calculator. Add the number of sunny days for Greenville SC (220) or your area and then insert what your initial investment would be as well as your average KwH from your electric bill.

Additional Info


Also, remember that the Federal Government does provide a tax break for solar panels. This includes solar energy systems and solar water heaters. However, these credits will only be available through December 31, 2021. So, decide quickly.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

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