Are you considering installing solar panels on your property but not sure whether they are actually worth it? Although some people are still skeptical about solar power, the fact is that solar panels are one of the best investments you can make in your home. This is especially true in California since we have so many fully or partially sunny days per year. The price of solar panels has decreased a lot in recent years, but installing a full solar system for your house still definitely is not cheap. Nonetheless, it is important that you look beyond the initial cost and instead consider all the benefits a residential solar power system will provide.

Benefits of Going Solar

Installing solar panels is an easy way to greatly reduce your electricity bills and also help to protect the environment by lowering your carbon footprint. Nearly half of California’s electricity now comes from renewable sources or sources like nuclear that do not produce carbon emissions. However, the fact is that we still get lots of our electricity from burning fossil fuels that produce harmful carbon dioxide. Even installing just a few solar panels on your house will allow you to reduce the amount of emissions you are personally responsible for and make your home more environmentally friendly.

Another thing to consider is that the amount you save on electricity costs means that your solar panels will essentially end up paying for themselves over time. On average, most Americans will fully recover their initial investment on their solar panels in somewhere between six and 12 years. The fact that California is so sunny and gets more hours of sunlight per day since it is located farther south means that your solar panels will pay for themselves more quickly than if you lived farther north.

Even if you think there is a chance that you will sell your home before you have fully recouped your investment on your solar panels, you still do not need to worry about losing money. It is a simple fact that installing solar panels will increase the value of your house and make it far more attractive to many prospective buyers. Real estate statistics show that a new solar power system will increase the value of a home by just over 4% on average.

The US Department of Energy also estimates that for every $1 your solar panels save you on your yearly energy bills, the value of your home will increase by $20. Installing solar panels can save the average homeowner approximately $1,500 per year on their electricity bills. If your solar panels were to save you $1,500 a year, it means that they could also potentially increase your property’s value by around $30,000.

How to Determine How Many Solar Panels You Need

While it is definitely possible to fully power your home with a large solar system and solar battery, most people opt to install smaller systems due to the potentially high cost. If you want to power your house just with solar, you would usually need to install between 17 and 24 solar panels. However, this obviously depends on the size of your home and how much electricity you generally use.

Most residential solar panels are between 300 and 400 watts. In California, one 400-watt solar panel will typically produce somewhere around 2,000 watt-hours (2 kWh) to 3,000 watt-hours (3 kWh) of electricity per day. The average American household uses around 30 kWh of electricity each day, so you could potentially get almost all of your power from solar with only 10 to 15 400-watt panels. Of course, you will still end up drawing power from the grid at night or whenever the sun is not shining unless you install sufficient battery storage to capture any excess power your panels produce.

Without solar battery storage, any excess power that your solar panels produce that is not immediately used will flow back out into the local electrical grid. This is why you want to make sure that your electrical provider offers a net metering program if you do not opt to install solar batteries. With net metering, you will receive a credit for all the excess power you send into the grid that will be subtracted from your total electricity consumption. If you install a sufficiently large solar power system, net metering will allow you to reduce your electricity bill even further.

Important Factors to Consider When Installing Solar Panels

One of the most important things when installing solar panels is choosing the right location. In the US, solar panels will produce the most energy when installed so that they are facing directly south. East- and west-facing panels will also produce a decent amount of power since they will still receive direct sunlight for a good portion of the day.

Ideally, solar panels should be tilted to an angle between 15 and 40 degrees. Luckily, most residential roofs have a pitch between 14 and 37 degrees, so getting the right tilt should be no issue if you install the panels on your roof. You could also choose to install the panels in your yard instead. However, you would usually need a minimum of 350 square feet of space that receives good sunlight throughout the day.

Ground-mounted solar panels can sometimes be the better option when there is sufficient room. Part of the reason is that you will often need to have your roof reinforced to support the weight of the solar installation. That means opting for ground-mounted panels when possible will usually be less expensive. Another advantage is that you will not need to have the panels removed whenever it comes time to replace your roof, which means your roof replacement will not be as costly.

Ground-mounted panels are also easier to clean and maintain compared to roof-mounted panels. Cleaning your solar panels is important since dirt, grime, bird droppings, and other debris will block out some of the sunlight and make the panels less effective.

Ground-mounted panels can also be much more effective and generate more power since you can install a tracking system for them. This will allow the panels to follow the sun so that they receive direct sunlight throughout the entire day instead of only at certain times.

When installing a solar power system, you will also need to decide whether or not you want to install batteries. While solar batteries are somewhat costly, they will allow your system to pay for itself much more quickly. This is because most net metering programs do not credit you for the power your system produces at anywhere near the normal rate they charge. In California, you will typically only receive between $0.05 and $0.08 in net metering credits per kWh you send back to the grid, whereas the average electricity consumption rate is around $0.30 per kWh.

Loves Air is an EPA-certified company offering expert solar power services in Modesto and the surrounding areas. We are proud to have been named the best HVAC and solar company in the area every year since 2018. If you are considering installing a solar power system for your home, our team will help you decide how many panels to install and the best location. We can also help if you need any heating, air conditioning, or water heater services. To schedule a consultation and receive a quote for your solar installation, contact us today.

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