HomeSolar energyWhen are solar panels worth it? Numbers nobody showed you

When are solar panels worth it? Numbers nobody showed you

Solar energy is trending more than ever, but when are solar panels worth it? Energy became a massive problem for the environment. If you consider that 75% of the United States carbon emissions comes from the energy sector (gas and power), it’s easy to understand why all eyes are on clean energy.

You probably caught yourself questioning if this type of green energy would suit you, and even more, what kind of solar panels you can buy for your home.

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In this Hourglass article, you can check a simple calculation for your house power replacement and to become and allie on climate change battle – while you save some money.

Is solar panel worth it?

Acquisition price scaries many American customers in solar energy adoption.

Of course the price ranges according to the region, but the average installation cost of solar panels in the U.S. is around $16,000. Which might explain the low adoption levels compared to the American investment and potential for this power source.

However, this is not the clever way to think this through. We can agree that you will need eletricity until your last day on this Earth – if your American, this means a 77 years average.

Solar panels tipically last 25 years, so depending on your age we’re talking about 2 replacements for your green energy system during your life (what would result in a $32,000 investment in long-term).

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According to specialists, using the average power usage of a regular American house, your solar energy system payback happens in 8.7 years.

In other words, it means that during 16,3 years you have almost free energy. The “almost” in this sentence is considering anual inspection and cleanings, that goes up to $180 annually. In 25 years, the expected amount of solar panel maintenance is $4.500.

Total spend in solar energy wihthin 25 years: $20.500.

To have any sort of parameters, the average U.S. eletricity spend for homes is around $122 per month – with traditional eletricity sources.

What happens when we project that to the future? If you follow this same logic and spend the same exact amount every month, in 25 years you would spend $36,600 in traditional power sources, such as coal.

The difference is even wider when you consider states where power is historically more expensive, like New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut or California.

There are other factors that are not included in this maths to not overcomplicate the maths, such as governmental incentives for green energy and the power usage oscilation during summer and winter.

Considering all factors, solar energy can save you $16,100 in a 25 years period compared to coal energy. I’m guessing that your retirement savings could thank you for that.

Solar panel price in the U.S

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Solar panel prices in the United States can vary a lot amongst the states, but it is fair to consider that a proper solar energy kit will cost you from $13,101 and $19,560, depending on your region. According to Solar Reviews, here you can find a table of solar panel costs in each American state:

StateStarting cost for 6-kW systemAverage cost per watt2020 federal tax credit value (26%)2021 federal tax credit value (22%)
District of Columbia$15,720$2.88$4,087$3,458
New Hampshire$17,460$2.83$4,540$3,841
New Jersey$14,520$2.77$3,775$3,194
New Mexico$16,680$2.44$4,337$3,670
New York$15,900$2.86$4,134$3,498
North Carolina$14,040$2.49$3,650$3,089
North Dakota$13,555$2.42$3,524$2,982
Rhode Island$16,200$2.69$4,212$3,564
South Carolina$16,500$2.62$4,290$3,630
South Dakota$13,535$2.39$3,519$2,978
West Virginia$14,763$2.64$3,838$3,248

Solar panel companies in the U.S.

This is not a final list of solar companies in the U.S. Every day we have more clean-techs popping out and bringing better or more affordable solution. These are the main companies in the United States for solar energy:

  1. SunPower
  2. LG Solar
  3. Canadian Solar
  4. Hanwha Q Cells
  5. Jinko Solar
  6. Trina Solar
  7. Yingli Solar
  8. REC Group
  9. SolarWorld Americas
  10. First Solar

Future of solar energy

The future of solar energy is the most positive possible. Climate change is a worldwide problem and replacing coal for green enery sources is the fastest way to reach net zero (to stop large scale CO2 emissions). Solar energy is the top cost-benefit power source for the environment.

To get a better vision of solar panels spreading, the state of New York has currently a solar enegy capacity to 209,000 homes, but the ongoing projects aim to provide power to over 401,000 homes as soon as possible. This information comes from Community Solar News.

The bright future of solar energy in the U.S.

On top of solar energy being more affordable than coal energy, you need to consider that in the next years all governments will push this clean energy usage.

For example, citizens that installed a solar energy system in their houses received a 26% tax credit – and the benefits won’t stop now.

The ITC (Input Tax Credit) are now offering a 30% tax credit to those who adopt solar panels between 2022 and 2032. You do have time, but the sooner you become part of the green energy revolution, the sooner you’ll take advantage of this benefits.

Looking at the big picture: when are solar panels worth it?

In terms of climate change, always. You can drop your carbon emissions from 870g per kWh to 50g per kWh just switching your power source.

In terms of money, you need to consider the long term. If you have the required amount to the initial investments, solar panels can be a huge investiment to save money in the next decades.

Not only because it’s a cheaper source of power, but because of all the governmental invesments to this technology adoption. It can even bring more value to your home, which translates into more economic benefits for you and your family.

Solar panels are the top cost-benefit energy source in the moment and it’s a proof that you can fight climate change and be economically responsible at the same time.

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