solar panelsHow much sun does your home receive? Is your roof south facing? And does your state offer tax incentives? These are just a few of the questions to consider before installing solar panels on your home.

Solar energy comes with a lot of benefits, including lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint, but these benefits can vary a lot from one house to the next.

So, should you install or not? Well, that depends. Before making a final decision, always contact a clean energy professional to discuss the specifics of your home and your needs, including the amount of sunlight your area typically receives.

Additionally, consider the following frequently asked questions before deciding if solar energy is right for you:

Can I afford the upfront cost?

The price breakdown of solar panels is typically about $5 per watt with installation. So, the average cost of solar panels on a 3kW system in a residential home is $15,000 with installation.

Can my home properly accommodate solar panels?

The exact same solar system on different homes can produce vastly different results. Energy production depends on factors like trees, roof angle, roof size, temperature, latitude, degradation of panels and orientation. To get a more exact estimate of what you should expect from a system on your home, contact a local professional.

Will I get a tax credit?

Until December 31st, 2016, there is a residential federal tax credit of 30 percent when a solar panel system is installed. There are also various state-specific tax credits available. To find out if there are any tax credits offered by your state, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

How much money will I save each year?

Again, the amount of energy produced by your particular solar system can vary greatly. But, Nerd Wallet estimates that the approximate yearly savings on your energy bill from solar panels is about $600. So if you pay $15,000 to install a solar panel system, it would take 25 years to recoup your entire investment.

If I sell my house, will I recoup my investment?

Given the ever-changing nature of solar panel technology, you should not assume that you would recoup the cost of solar panels when selling your home. Think of it like this: When you first bought a flat screen television, it was fancy, new and expensive. But, as time goes by, the cost of flat screen televisions goes down. So, if you were to sell the television with your home, you’d have to lower the price from the amount you originally paid for it. Solar panels work the exact same way.

Bottom line: Unless you live in an extremely sunny climate and expect to live in your home for at least 25 years, you may not receive a high return on your investment. Cost of Solar has outlined which states and climates may be best for solar, which is a good first hand glance at the cost benefit of solar. But, solar panels will undoubtedly lower your carbon footprint, which should also be considered when deciding if solar panels are right for you. 

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