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In most cases, installing solar panels on your home is worth it. Connect with a trusted solar professional today to determine if solar is right for you.
Are Solar Panels Worth It In California
Written by: Faith Wakefield Written by: Faith Wakefield Author Faith Wakefield is a writer based in North Carolina. He holds degrees in economics and English from UNC Chapel Hill, and his work has been featured on EcoWatch, The World Economic Forum and Today’s Homeowner. In her free time, she enjoys watching personal finance videos on YouTube, collecting books, and spending time in nature.
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Edited by: Tory Addison, Edited by: Tory Addison Editor Tory Addison is an editor who has worked in the digital marketing industry for over five years. Her experience includes communications and marketing work in the non-profit, government and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, he began his career covering politics and news in New York’s Hudson Valley. His work included coverage of local and state budgets, federal financial regulations and health care legislation.
Reviewed by: Carsten Neumeister, Reviewed by: Carsten Neumeister Solar Expert Carsten Neumeister is an experienced energy professional with subject matter expertise in energy policy and the solar and retail energy industries. He is currently the Communications Manager for the Retail Energy Advancement League and has previous experience writing and editing content for EcoWatch. Prior to EcoWatch, Carsten worked for Solar Alternatives, curating materials, supporting local renewable energy policy and supporting solar engineering and installation teams. Throughout his career, his work has been featured in a variety of outlets including NPR, SEIA, Bankrate, PV Mag and the World Economic Forum.
In most cases, installing residential solar panels is worth it. Solar panels typically last 25 years or more and can dramatically reduce or eliminate your electricity bills – you can save an average of $1,346 per year on energy bills with solar.
Solar is a big upfront investment. But the cost of installing a system has dropped more than 50 percent in the past 10 years, and incentives like the 30 percent federal solar tax credit can lower your costs even more.
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However, certain conditions and roof characteristics may mean that solar isn’t worth it. For example, if your roof is shady, doesn’t have enough space or is oriented to the north, your panels may work less. Additionally, if you live in an area that experiences many cloudy days and has few solar incentives, you may see less savings over the life of your panels.
Every roof and solar project is different. Before completing your solar project, your solar installer will survey your home and determine if your property is suitable for solar panels. Connect with a trusted professional today to see if solar is worth the investment.
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Many factors can play a role in whether or not solar panels are worth it to you, including:
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For example, if you live in a state that gets a lot of sunlight and has plenty of solar incentives, plus a large, south-facing roof, the savings you’ll see from solar will be huge. . On the other hand, if you live somewhere with less sunlight, less solar gain and a roof overhang, solar may still be worth it to you, but your overall energy savings will likely be lower.
The location of your home plays an important role in the cost of a solar energy system. If you live in a part of the country that receives sunlight year-round, you will benefit more from using solar panels than others.
Data analysis site Stiker lists the following 10 states that receive the most sunlight exposure in the United States:
Although sunny states like Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona are great areas to install a solar system, your panels may not produce enough energy to cover the upfront cost if your home is surrounded by trees or buildings. Experiences a lot of shade. But if your roof is unglazed or faces south, southwest or west, your panels will receive more direct radiation from the sun and produce more solar energy.
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As mentioned, locations that see more extreme weather events and power outages are also better suited for solar systems with independent power storage. You can use a solar battery to store excess energy for use during the day during blackouts, at night or on cloudy days.
The size, shape and slope of your roof are also important factors to consider. According to Garrett Nelson, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Solar Energy Technologies, roof structures can be one of the biggest barriers to going solar.
“If you have trees near your home that are creating excessive shade on your roof, roof panels may not be the most ideal option,” he said. “Solar panels work best on south-facing roofs with slopes between 15 and 40 degrees, although other roofs may be suitable. Installers can model the roof to determine if the orientation and slope are suitable for energy production.
Steep roofs make installation difficult and may increase labor costs or require additional mounting equipment. Roofs with plenty of surface area and few obstructions – such as skylights and chimneys – are ideal. You can still add solar panels to small roofs but choose more efficient panels, such as monocrystalline panels, which produce more power using less space.
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Solar tax incentives and rebates are available at the federal and state levels. The federal tax credit, formally called the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), allows you to claim 30% of your total system cost as a credit against your federal tax burden.
It’s worth noting that if you don’t pay thousands of dollars in taxes every year, you won’t be able to make much use of the ITC. You may need to work with a tax advisor and reevaluate your exemptions to fully capitalize on the credit.
Other solar incentives vary from state to state. Many state governments and local utility companies offer solar rebates, credits, sales and property tax breaks, net metering and more that can make solar more affordable. We encourage you to use the State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency database to learn what other rebates and solar tax credits are available in your state.
Before installing solar, you should take stock of your monthly energy usage. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average household uses approximately 893 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per month. On average, a residential solar setup can produce between 350 and 850 kWh per month. So, going solar will help you save more than 95% off your utility bill.
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If you live in a state with high electricity rates, switching to solar will likely be a good investment. However, if your home doesn’t require a lot of energy to run on a daily basis, you may not save enough to offset the cost of the installation. Residential solar systems can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 or more.
You should also contact your local utility company to see if it offers an established net metering program. Many states mandate net metering, which can help you maximize your energy savings. Net metering allows you to send excess energy that your solar system produces back to the grid in exchange for billing credits. Your utility company will deduct any credits from your monthly electricity bill, saving you money by providing clean energy for your home.
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According to our 2023 survey of 1,500 homeowners with solar, respondents reported paying an average of $15,000 to $20,000 for their solar panel system. However, every solar installation is different, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that the cost of a solar installation can exceed $25,000.
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The total cost of your solar panel system may vary depending on where you live and
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