So, we get the question a lot: Do solar panels really save you money? The answer for most California residents is a resounding, YES! We will cover several ways that you can expect to save money and why.
Keep in mind if you live in other states that your electricity costs per kilowatt-hour directly affect your savings. In California, the cost of electricity is so high that designing a solar system to save money is relatively easy.
A little background here may be helpful so you can easily understand where the savings lie. Let’s just say for example that you are in the Northern California area, and you are like most individuals paying roughly .26 to .30 cents per kWh*. Now let’s assume a monthly electricity bill of $200/mo. Over the course of the year, you would spend roughly $2400, and be using somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000 kWh of power annually. We would install potentially 16 solar panels with the idea that those panels would produce that same 8000 kWh of power for you.
Now, a couple of factors that can change the number of solar panels needed would be; shading on your roof by trees, and the direction your roof planes face in relation to the daily sunlight.
But, let’s say we’ve done the appropriate calculations with our solar design software, and it looks like 16 panels will do the trick. To determine the savings we would need to know the overall cost of the complete solar system. Those costs can vary depending on the brand of solar panels and other installation factors. Assuming something pretty standard someone can expect to save money by entering into a financing agreement with a reputable finance company that specializes in solar financing. In general, what we see is a savings of anywhere from 30-60% off of what individuals are paying on a monthly basis for their electricity. From the above example, you might see a 20-year 3.99% financing that would make your payment for your solar panels just $110/month. Most of these programs require homeowners to go solar with absolutely no upfront cost.
Keep in mind that you are having solar installed on your roof, and instead of buying electricity from your utility provider, you are now producing your own power. So, if you are used to using 8000 kWh of power annually and your solar panels now produce 8000 kWh or more annually you would literally have no electric bill with your utility.** If alternatively if you decided to pay cash for your solar system, you would have an “upfront” cost. We’ve found over the years that a typical solar system that is paid for upfront will pay for itself in 4.5 to about 8 years with various factors there in the mix. A financed system generally has a ”break-even” point of somewhere between 6 and 10 years. Each situation is different, and each system, roof, and electricity consumption is different.
To get more information on how you can save money with solar, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
*Individuals that are employees of the utility provider sometimes get lower rates, as well as those with lower rates because of lower household incomes or medical devices being used in the home. Those savings can be anywhere between 20-40%.
**Most utilities charge a nominal monthly connection fee when you go solar. Usually around $10