You’ve heard that solar panels are cool and groovy, but you’ve also heard they’re outrageously expensive. You’re certain the financial savings – and even the pride you’ll feel for going green – won’t really be worth the chunk of change you’ll shell out for solar panels.
A recent Harris Interactive poll found that nearly 8 in 10 people who don’t currently use solar panels would install them on their roof if cost weren’t a factor. Interestingly, the poll found that 97 percent of American homeowners grossly overestimate the cost of installing solar panels.
The truth is that solar power service companies charge you nothing to install your system. Some offer financing over a 20-year period, while others provide and install solar panels for free as long as you agree to buy (cheaper!) power from them for the next 20 years. Win-win.
If you have an exceptionally high power bill, using solar energy will save you loads of money. Since power companies charge you on a tiered system, your bill makes huge jumps when your power usage reaches certain levels. If you own a pool or otherwise use a lot of energy, making the switch to solar will make your wallet fatter than you think.
Through 2016, home-owning taxpayers can write off 30% of the cost of their solar system. This includes the cost of qualified solar water heaters used in your home (just not for heating your pool) as well as for solar panels on your roof. Other tax breaks for making your home more energy efficient are available.
While this may not add up to much savings if you’ve made a huge initial investment on your solar system, remember that many solar companies allow you to install their panels for free when you sign their power purchase agreement. You won’t get a tax break since you’re not paying for your system, but you’ll still be saving on your power bill.
Increased Home Value
While you could potentially take your solar system with you when you move, having a solar system could increase the value of your home by $17,000 on average. Homebuyers like the idea of purchasing an already-green home, which makes it unsurprising that solar panels have also been proven to make houses sell 20 percent faster.
China plans to increase its solar energy use by 67 percent by 2015 to reduce reliance on fossil fuels that cause nasty smog. As the need to save energy and clean up the air increases, your neighbors will thank you – and perhaps follow your example – as you clean up the air in your area.
A solar setup can indeed be expensive, depending on the company you choose to purchase it from. Fortunately, if you shop around a bit you may find that you can get your panels for free AND save on energy costs. Your neighbors will think you’re pretty cool, too.
About the Author: Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer who specializes in technology and the latest social trends. She is currently acting as a consultant to Vivint. Be sure to follow them as well via Vivint’s Twitter.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlesfettinger/6839804523/