Sunnier Climes Save More
There is no question that solar panels will add value to a home. Most any home improvement project will add value to a property. The real question to ask however is whether enough value is added to justify what can be a costly investment. In large measure, that can depend on where the home is located. In Phoenix, AZ where there is an average of some 340 sunny days per year, the answer most certainly is yes. In Port Angeles, WA where there are only about 70 unclouded days in a year, the answer is likely not. For the average home caught somewhere in-between these two extremes, the answer is more that it all depends.
The sorts of systems that employ solar panels today are vastly more efficient than those on the market a decade ago. An added incentive is that utility districts all across the country have evolved systems where a homeowner can sell power generated through such devices back to the power supplier. The grid has become interactive in this fashion. It used to be that any excess power generated that could not be used in the home simply went to waste. Some less pricey solar systems are just used to heat water. Others will use this warmed water for the purpose of heating the house as well. For the purpose of this discussion, the concentration will be on panels that are used in connection to producing electricity.
There are ecological considerations that apply here as well. Many people want to do what they can to help the environment. Solar panels are seen as a boon in this regard. Even if they do not exactly make sense from a sheer economic point of view, the merits they offer in helping the ecology outweigh mere economic points of view.
Seeing Panels as a Capital Expense
Solar panels can be seen as typical of the sort of capital expense that home ownership justifies. They require a significant upfront investment to install, but they will last a long time lowering expenses over the long haul. The costs will vary depending in large measure on the number of panels put in, and the type of system employed. The house configuration and location will also play important roles. Remote location can prove especially problematic due to transportation costs and lack of competition. In some locations, there will be very few suppliers to choose from. Lack of competition can lead to premium pricing.
The price range for installing a set of solar panels generally falls between $5,000 and $20,000. For that type of money, power generation of from 400 to 600 kilowatt hours of electricity can be expected to be generated per month. Such an amount will cost from $50 to $75 depending on what rates the local utility company charges. Saving will thus likely be in the $600 to $900 a year range.
One can see that it will take many years for the system to pay for itself. On the other hand, the system will add to the purchase price if the home is sold. Electrical rates may also rise. That rise could be substantial depending on what the energy future holds. There is also the worth to be considered of doing something to help the environment out.