Solar Panel Installation: What You Should Know

Homeowners are always looking for ways to save money on their bills. Some people reduce water consumption by taking quicker showers, others sparingly use temperature controls. Of all the efforts to save money on various bills, one of the most productive is solar panels. Yet, solar panels still do not seem to be taking off. This post will take you through the cost, efficacy, and maintenance of solar panels. 

Cost

The biggest factor for any home improvement project is cost. You don’t want to spend absurd amounts of money on something that is supposed to save you money. Perhaps that is why so many people have avoided solar panels. A quick look at the average cost of solar panels would likely drive most people away.

Displayed below are the 2019 average prices for solar panels nationally and in Illinois, provided by EnergySage.com.   

National Avg: $12,516 (after tax credits)
Illinois Avg: $12,138 – $15,162

The price of solar panels is calculated on a per watt basis. The national average per Watt is $2.98, with the average installation size being 6 kilowatts or 6,0000 watts. The costs displayed above reflect the average price per watt by the average number of watts per installation. The prices above reflect a 2% drop from a year ago, and panels should continue to become more affordable.  

Efficiency

While the cost of installing solar panels seems staggering, it does off-set in time. The average off-set time is about 7 years, but it really depends on where you live. Some cities have an advantage in the amount of sun they get, so their off-set times are shorter. If you are curious about what you can save, use EnergySage.com’s solar energy calculator. The calculator will give you an estimate on how long it would take to break even, and how much you could save long-term.

Maintenance

An important part of any hardware is maintenance. You can’t save money on a malfunctioning solar panel. There are a few ways to maintain your panels: cleaning and inspections. You can do the cleaning yourself, but there are a number of things you need to know first. Using the right soap, window washing pole, and other equipment many typically do not carry.

Instead, many opt to pay professional companies to wash them. At least with professionals, there is less chance of something going wrong. Typical costs range from $120-$160 according to Homeadvisor.com. Equally as important are inspections, which average about $150. 

Take Home Message

Solar panels can help you save money and the environment. Although the cost is still staggering, solar panels are becoming more affordable every year. The sooner you install panels the sooner you can see savings. Just be cautious if you plan on installing or maintaining the panels yourself. Your Homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover damage caused by panels.

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