Why Solar Power is a Great Way to Save Money

by on June 22, 2012

If you’re big on the green movement, which everyone should be in my opinion, then you’ve probably at least thought about installing solar panels.  Solar panels can save you both money and energy, and are a great investment in some cases.  I say some cases, because after doing my research and looking around, I decided that the payoff time for me would be longer than the useful life of the panels themselves.  For that reason, I want to just discuss a few of the reasons that solar power may or may not work for you.

Why Solar Power Can Save You Money

Let’s start with the positives.  If you live in a sunny location then there’s a good chance that solar power can save you money.  Not only does it have the potential to save you money, but it can actually make you money if you produce more than you use.  That’s because electric companies buy the electricity produced from your solar panels when you are not using it.  Whether this will work for you depends on how willing your electric provider is to work with you.  In areas where solar power is very common, nearly all companies will buy the energy.  In other areas, you’ll have to check with your electric provider.  Think of solar power as a type of farming.  The more panels you put up, the more energy you can create.  Also, solar panels can be placed in unique positions like on the top of your roof or far away from your backyard, depending on your preference.

save money with solar energyA second reason why solar power can save you money is because of all of the tax breaks and incentives that local, state and federal governments offer.  For a while, the federal government was subsidizing the purchase of solar panels.  I think the program I’m referring to has ended, but as energy prices rise, there will be more incentives for people to add solar power.  Besides the governments, there are many other programs that offer incentives.  Sometimes even your electric company will offer a program to help you install them.  For example, in areas like California, where they face rolling blackouts, the big energy companies are looking for ways to reduce their load.  Solar power is a great way to do that, and offering their customers incentives can be a big bonus for the customer and the company.

The final reason that solar power is so great is because it helps the environment, and makes your home somewhat self-reliant, in case there is an infrastructure disaster.  While it is hard to put a price on this, you can gauge in your mind how good it feels to be green and factor that into your decision on whether or not to go solar.

Also, with the recent oversupply in the solar panel market, prices have come down quite a bit.  That could make solar power more cost effective for you. Furthermore, many companies are willing to lease you the equipment for 20 or more years.  Depending on your down payment, the breakeven point for installing solar equipment could be very short, and it is worth looking into leasing.

Sometimes Solar Power is Just Not Cost Effective

Unfortunately, in my case, solar panels were not a cost effective solution.  That’s because I live in Wisconsin.  There aren’t many incentives or tax breaks here, and the cost of solar panels is still pretty high.  Furthermore, the weather just doesn’t accomodate solar panels very well.  I’m sure that will change with future generations of panels, but between the snow blocking the sun, and the large swings in temperatures from minus ten degrees to one hundred, the toll it takes on the panels reduces their lifetime to the point where they just aren’t cost effective.  Hopefully, that will change as newer technologies come out.

I recommend that if you’ve thought of saving money with solar power, that you break out a spreadsheet and add up the costs and savings that you might reap.  Then, add in the value of being green and make your own decision.  If it doesn’t work out today, check back every few years to see how prices have dropped, what incentives are available, and how efficient the newer models are.  Eventually, it might pay for everyone to use solar.

What are your thoughts about using solar power?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

CBD Solar August 8, 2012 at 6:47 am

I think the cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity. The average cost of electricity from a hydro plant is lower than Solar Systems but indeed they are really good for domestic use.

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Jeremy Lee October 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

The technology of Solar panel is one of the best energy sources we might ever have. Gathering electricity from the sun is a form of renewable energy, some researchers really exert effort.

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Yellow Solar December 3, 2012 at 5:23 am

I couldn’t encourage people enough to use solar energy in their homes but you’re right – consider the amount of sun you’ll actually get and other factors as to whether or not this will be a cost effective solution for you. Especially if like me you’re in the UK. The sun doesn’t like to play here much. But environmentally friendly and hey, great incentives too!

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Solar Energy January 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm

This is a great and informative post!

People have been making the shift to using solar power because solar energy advantages carry a wide range of benefits.
1. Save money in the long ran.
2. Enjoy unlimited source of energy.
3. Help the environment.

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George January 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

Thanks Chris for this great article, it’s only a matter of time before people realise the ROI with these methodes.
Thanks again!
Regards,
George
George recently posted..How do Solar Cells Work?My Profile

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andersonsrodriquez April 23, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I agree on this post! Those information stated above are relevant. People think that solar panels are too much expensive. Yes it is, but in a long run of time you’re the one who can benefits with it. Aside from environmentally friendly you can saved more energy and money in the future.
andersonsrodriquez recently posted..The Advantages of Having a Solar PanelMy Profile

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Vasiliki Karakatsanidis July 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I agree on this post too! Solar panels can be a bit expensive but in a long run of time you’ll be
the one that will get the benefits:save more energy and money.
We have solar panels on our roof for 3years now and we are very pleased ,we also have them in a field out in the country side and we do good with them too.We have them in Greece and the weather there helps a lot.Please don’t hesitate to decide on using them, there are government programs,it depends where you live,companies can help you with loans and discounts and most of all, keep searching with open mind!
To give a little color to the subject, we are in the states now ,for our son to finish his studies here, and what we do?We search for ways to save money,it might not be solar panels, but
definitely properly shopping rewards programs so we can save !
Vasiliki Karakatsanidis recently posted..Best Cash Rewards CardsMy Profile

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Adam April 10, 2014 at 4:33 am

If i can be honest – solar energy is good in Africa, Spain or Italy. How we can live with solar energy in Canada, Sweden, Poland or Scotland?

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