Solar energy for home use is growing in popularity, especially in California. But there is still an element of mystery about this technology, an aura of unfamiliarity that breeds uncertainty and misconceptions.
Solar is exciting, groundbreaking and revolutionary—but it may not be exactly what you think it is. That’s why we’re providing you with a sampling of questions we’ve received about solar from curious customers, along with answers that will dispel some myths and give you the inside scoop of just how terrific solar energy really is.
Question #1: What will save me more money: improving energy efficiency or installing a solar energy system?
There is no easy answer to this one. If you live in the typical American home, you are probably wasting a good bit of energy. Your insulation may be inadequate, your doors and windows may leak air like a sieve and your heating and cooling system may be outdated or too poorly maintained to function efficiently.
You could save yourself 20-30 percent annually on home energy costs by addressing such issues, but you could absolutely do the same by installing solar panels to help you reduce or eliminate your need for grid-produced electricity. In the end you should ask a solar installer to take a look at your home and your utility bills, and he or she will be able to tell you if a new solar energy system makes financial sense for you.
Question #2: Should I rent-to-own solar panels instead of buying? It seems like good deals are available.
Good deals for whom, exactly? From a consumer standpoint, solar panel rental isn’t the most cost-efficient way to go. Your rental company will get the solar tax credits along with 20 years of payments from you, for solar panels that are unlikely to be of the highest quality.
Cheaper upfront investment may at first glance make renting sound good, but over the lifespan of a solar energy system you come out ahead if you work with a solar sales and installation company to finance your purchase. If they operate like All Air they’ll give you affordable terms and help set you up with all the available tax credits and rebates.
Question #3: If I do go solar will I have to pay a bundle for repairs and maintenance?
In a word: heck no!
Okay, that’s two words, but the emphatic nature of that answer is justified. Solar panels and the infrastructure that support them are made of durable materials and contain no moving parts, and as long as you hose them off or wipe them down on a semi-regular basis to prevent dirt, debris and grime accumulation (which can interfere with sunlight conversion efficiency) your panels should continue to work like a charm.
Question #4: How much will solar panels add to my home’s re-sale value?
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Bay Area studied sales data from eight states involving more than 23,000 dwellings, and found that on average a moderately-sized solar energy system of 3.6 kilowatts added about $15,000 to a home’s expected sale price. This amounts to about $4 of added value for each watt of potential energy, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Of course this advantage could be offset by higher property taxes, but the state of California has passed legislation that prohibits property tax reassessments following solar installations (this tax exemption has been extended until the year 2025).
Question #5: How long will it take a home solar energy system to pay for itself?
The answer is different in every case, depending on the size of the system, the climate it is installed in, the cost of the system and the energy consumption habits of the family that uses it.
But in general you can expect solar panels to pay for themselves through energy savings in 7-10 years, and over the course of a lifetime a solar panel array will return between $2 and $4 for every dollar invested. Needless to say that is far from chump change.
Call All Air for Superior Solar Service
All Air Heating and Air is your solar energy expert in Lodi, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Stockton, Modesto and all points beyond. Call us with your questions about solar energy, whatever they might be, and we’ll be glad to provide you with answers.
And if you eventually decide that solar energy is the best choice for you, we’ll help you pick the best equipment and provide you with the most professional installation services available anywhere on the West Coast.