One of the benefits of installing solar panels is that eventually they “pay for themselves.” This happens because your photovoltaic system reduces the amount you pay for your monthly electricity. The cumulative cost savings from month to month is the amount used to determine the return on your solar investment. How long does it take the typical California consumer to match their savings to their upfront costs?
Your Energy Habits
A number of factors determine whether your savings are high or low. A simple fact is that the more energy you use, the more money you can potentially save. Here are a few of the elements that come into play.
- Size of household — the average single person or couple will use less electricity than a family of four or more.
- Size of home — whether the house is one side of a duplex or a large multi-room mansion plays a huge part in the amount of energy usage.
- Average electricity consumption — Do you use LED light bulbs throughout your house? Are your appliances energy efficient? Is home entertainment with television and gaming a huge part of your life, or do you spend more time outdoors? Do you use gas or electric heaters and dryers? Is your car fully electric with a battery that needs daily charging? Is your air conditioner running 24/7 during the summer, or are you more conservative with the thermostat?
Your Electrical Utility
Some utility companies charge a flat rate for electricity that increases as you pass set consumption thresholds. Others use a tiered system based on periods of consumption network-wide. Under this system, using electricity during peak periods costs more than using it during generally low demand hours. (You can also expect to see both systems applied on the same bill.) And finally, different utilities are after different net earnings, so some simply charge more than others, no matter what system they use to determine your rate.
Do You Have Net Metering?
Net metering is the process whereby customers with solar panels send their unused electricity back to the power grid and get paid for the energy they provide. Adding this functionality to your home solar grid increases your initial outlay, but depending on the size of your photovoltaic network and your energy habits, you can make a small amount of annual profit using this program. Solaron agents can help you determine if net metering makes sense for your household.
Do You Use a Backup Battery?
Like the equipment needed for net metering, a backup battery represents additional upfront costs, but it pays long-term dividends. This is chiefly because a battery backup helps you avoid the only downside to solar panels — they don’t work at night. If your energy habits let your charge your battery bank during the day, you can draw on that stored energy at night, when you would normally be pulling power from the electrical grid.
So What Is My Bottom Line?
Average customers in California recoup their panel costs in anywhere from two to eight years, depending on the above factors. When you receive a free solar assessment from Solaron, we discuss your current electricity usage and rates, any existing incentives and credits, the feasibility of net metering or battery usage for your household, and the ideal solar system size to maximize the value of your investment and to match the available area on your property.
An advantage to going with Solaron is that since we use SunPower solar panels exclusively, you get the most efficient solar panels on the market, giving you the best value for your money and making it easier to “earn back” your solar investment. We also provide information on financing and leasing of solar panels, so that you can fully explore all the possible ways to increase your savings based on your budget. Solaron – where you get energy for life!