When it comes to sustainable construction, few products top the charts like solar panels do. They're efficient, they save the planet, and they take advantage of a resource that is not going away anytime soon. But it's clear to homeowners that this technology doesn't come for free, which is just one of the reasons why solar panels haven't been universally adopted. There's a lot of pros and cons on either side of the debate when it comes to the real value of solar panels, so it may be time shed a little more light on the subject before anyone decides one way or the other.
There's no denying that solar panels scare people off with their price tags. Few homeowners are interested in dipping into their bank accounts to spend an average of $19,000 on brand new panels. Even when tax credits and incentives drop that cost down to an average of $11,000, it's still enough to make most people quit before they even get started. After all, solar panels are an investment in renewable energy and not always a guarantee. A particularly cloudy winter could mean that a homeowner has to pay a standard power bill because there's no 'solar' for their panels to soak up. Even in sunny areas, homeowners have to be willing to stay in their homes for quite some time before their bills start to reflect the savings they were hoping for. But for environmentally-conscious people, these raw costs are not where the story ends.
A Better Deal
Solar panels have changed a lot over the past few years in terms of their efficiency. The intense competition in the green industry is forcing everyone to stay at the height of innovation if they want to survive, which ultimately translates to cost savings for the consumer. Today, panels are essentially able to do more with less sunlight, which means that even states like New York may start to boast attractive numbers when it comes to long-term savings—especially in areas with high rates of electricity. In sunny areas like California, it's standard to save up to $30,000 in 20 years. Considering solar panels can last for up to 30 years, the total rate of return can skyrocket fairly quickly for a forward-thinking homeowner.
Getting More from Solar Panels
Did you know that some homeowners will actually sell their excess electricity back to the grid for their own profit? Homeowners who keep their power usage down to a bare minimum might be surprised at just how quickly the additional kilowatts add up. Depending on the community a homeowner lives in, they may be able to score additional financial incentives that make their purchase that much easier to afford. Solar panels are still new in a lot of areas, so there's a lot of room for education. In other words, it's not impossible for a group of homeowners to petition neighborhood officials to kickstart new programs that encourage residents to purchase panels.
For those who want solar power but can't afford it no matter how many incentives they receive, there's the option of community solar. Community solar allows like-minded homeowners to put their money together to invest in multiple solar cells. The more cells in a single area, the more power they generate. Instead of benefiting a single homeowner, these cells can help entire neighborhoods wean themselves off standard electrical power. Everyone who contributes gets to enjoy the savings at a reduced rate than if they had chosen to buy individually. While still an uncommon practice, it's possible for homeowners to enact change in their neighborhood by getting involved.
Homeowners can add up to $20,000 in resale value, which may make that $11,000 price tag for panels look far more reasonable. There are plenty of homeowners today who want green technology in their life, even if they don't quite have the time or the energy to invest in it. Solar panels that are already installed (and ready to save a homeowner on their utility bills) will not only help a home stand out from its direct competition, it can also be the key to an escalating bidding war that ends up swinging in the seller's favor.
The real value of solar panels is always going to be the chance to preserve the planet for the next generation, but there are ways for individual Silver Creek homeowners to decide if it's right for them. The exact answer comes down to budget, future plans, and lifestyle. Someone who plans to stay in a home for a while or who lives in a neighborhood where sustainable living is heavily valued is unlikely to go wrong with solar panels.