Residential Solar Energy Systems Are Practically Free

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Climate change might not convince you to go solar, but its sound financial returns might. Residential solar energy systems are more efficient, more durable, and less expensive. They practically pay for themselves in 10 years, continually giving you free electricity or 15-25 more years.

The Cost

A typical American home uses close to 1,000 kWh of electricity a month, costing an average of $110. Electricity costs vary per city with Salt Lake City at the low end, with residents paying an average of $80, and Birmingham at the high end with residents paying $125. An 8-kW solar energy system can produce enough electricity to power your entire house during the day. The excess electricity will cover your nighttime consumption your system sends to the grid during the day. An 8-kW system costs around $16,000, but that price goes down to $11,200 after the 30 percent Federal Tax rebate. The cost can go further down depending on individual state incentives regarding solar power. You’ll need new wiring to make use of your system more efficiently, so you might need the services of a commercial electrical contractor in Salt Lake, preferably one with experience in commercial and residential solar energy systems. Solar panels don’t require much maintenance, and there should be no additional costs aside from the initial setup.

close up of solar panel boards


With a 10-year financing plan at 6 percent interest, you’ll only be paying $125 for your panels every month. The savings should cover that amount in your electric bill, as well as the excess electricity you send to the grid, particularly in Utah, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. These five states pay you at the end of the year or at specific periods for the excess energy you produce — which could amount to a rebate of $500 or more each year. If your state doesn’t offer monetary refunds, then it’s better to put that excess energy to use rather than accumulate energy rebates that you would rarely use. Save on fuel by driving an electric car. Even if you charge your vehicle daily, you probably won’t exceed the amount of energy an 8-kW system produces. After ten years, your system would be paid in full, but you’ll continue to have free electricity (and rebates) for the next 15-25 years.

Earning from Solar Energy

If you reside in the 5 states mentioned above, you can increase your earnings from producing electricity by reducing your own consumption. Get some insulation for your house. A well-insulated home consumes up to 30 percent less energy. Buy the latest energy-saving appliances, especially air-conditioning units and refrigerators that use inverter technology. Get new energy-saving washers and dishwashers. They consume 25 percent less electricity than older models and also conserve water. Switching to green appliances can further cut your energy consumption by 20-30 percent.

Solar panels do not just pay for themselves; they earn you money. While the initial costs can be daunting, the right financing plan will have you spending less than what you would pay for your monthly electricity bills.

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