I got a flyer earlier this year about using our rooftop to host solar cells. Our local energy company Florida Power and Light has a program to net meter the solar energy. That means if I produce solar energy then they’d buy back the excess from me. And if I produce less then I’ll have to pay regular bills which were underproduced.
Our typical average bill is around $150, AC run round the clock for 7-8 months, being in subtropical South Florida. So if we install the rooftop grid and produce more than my need we will get money from FPL and not the bill. If for some reason less electricity is produced, we will only have to pay a small part of the bill.
So far it’s all good, the problem is, let’s say we produce double the amount of energy we need, I will earn close to $130 (minus the fees and charges) per month.
Let’s say I go over-optimistic and produce $150 worth of electricity, I’ll make $1,800 a year selling electricity to FPL. The total setup cost will be $15,000 after all available solar tax credits.
So in order to offset the cost of installation, I need 8 years of production. Clearly, not a very lucrative deal at a first glance.
Financially it is still not very sound, even without considering the opportunity cost for that $15,000 investment. (the money I’d have earned through an alternate investment route).
Setting financials aside, it’d have given me enough satisfaction point thinking about the environmental impact I’d have caused.
Do you save money with solar panels enough to go through the process should you opt-out?
The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade and more people are ready to jump on board the bandwagon. If you ready to make an impact have the money required for installation, then why not?
If you’re still not sure whether this is a good decision for you or not, keep reading to learn about true solar panels savings.
The Truth About How Much You Can Save with Solar Panels
You see solar companies and their ads online every day but can all of the good news be true? Is solar really saving people more and helping the environment?
Let’s find out.
Not Everyone Should Opt for Solar
There are some people that shouldn’t go the solar route. If you live in an area that doesn’t get much sun, it would take you a long time to see any savings from solar.
If you aren’t in one of the cloud-laden areas of this great country then there’s still hope for you yet.
Review Your Energy Bill
If you always have a high energy bill, you’ll want to click your heels together for joy to learn that solar panels could offset part or even all of your monthly electric bill.
Don’t just review one of your bills. Look back over the course of a year to get a good idea of your average energy bill.
If your bills are always high then you might be a great candidate for saving money with solar. If you login to your utility company account, you can easily see the monthly bills for the last few years.
See if there’s an alternate way to quickly reduce the utility bill.
Evaluate Your Sunlight Exposure
As we said above, if you’re in a very cloudy area you might not be the best candidate for solar. Trees are another culprit for keeping the sun out so don’t forget about them. If possible plan to spend money on tree removal or branch removals.
Get an Estimate for Solar Installation
Why guess? Get an estimate for solar installation and see how much money you’ll have to shell out upfront. Make sure you get a quote for the right size system.
If you aren’t sure what the right size of a system is, just show the company your electric usage on your bill so they can see for themselves.
Are There Available Incentives?
There are tax credits available for installing solar as an alternative energy source so take this into account when you’re factoring in money saved and your costs.
Depending on your area, the benefits will most likely vary. Search the internet for information on applicable state or local energy credits.
I have friends who claimed to have installed the solar roofs free of cost. There must be some seasonal discounts offered. I’ll check and write a followup post on the ways you can reduce solar panel installation cost.
There is a federal tax credit of 30% of the total system cost. Don’t ignore that. You may also find a discount on property taxes or state taxes on this purchase.
Do the Math
The way I did my math at the start of this post, learn how much your solar panels are going to cost and how much of a bill you won’t be paying each month, you can see how long it takes you to recoup your investment. And you’ll know if you can truly save money using solar.
Save Money and the Environment
Now that you know the answer to “How much can you save with solar panels?” you can keep learning about ways you can save money, invest, and more.
Go through our blog and see the other great articles and feel free to drop us a line with any topic requests.
If you of you are a solar energy producer, we’d love to hear your comments and experiences.