Can Solar Energy Really Save You Money?
Ads and campaigns for solar panel companies and alternative energy initiatives boast all the financial benefits of adopting solar energy. Personally, I feel like the financial motivation should be secondary to reducing your carbon footprint and finding clean energy sources for the future, but I also know that these energy methods need to be financially accessible in order to be adopted. I personally have not installed solar panels on my house because I’ve seen conflicting reports about the actual affordability.
Because most cost-savings are long-term in the form of energy costs, it can be hard to tell is solar panels will actually save you money. Many of the other savings are in the forms of tax breaks and qualifications for things like 203k home renovation loans. These are tangible savings, but since they still require you to pay the full cost of installment and then get reimbursed, it’s important to know if solar will actually save you money.
The Cost of Solar Panels
Of course, the actual cost of your solar panels will depend on how many you need, and what your setup is. If you can install them yourself, you’ll save money, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, hiring experienced installers is worth it. Some companies have sales and deals that make the cost substantially lower, while others provide information about resources to subsidize your investment.
Monetizing the Power Grid
Some areas allow you to make money off of your solar power by selling the power you generate to the electric power company. In other cities, power companies are trying to charge solar customers despite the fact that they are not utilizing grid power. Because city governments work closely with privately contracted utilities companies, there can be conflict of interest, leading government officials to choose between representing their constituents or following corporate interests.
Be sure to look up your state and city regulations and ordinances about the relationship between solar powered homes and the power company. This is a great issue to involve yourself in local politics. Make your opinion on how solar power should be treated known to your local representatives, and spread the word about upcoming votes and legislative proposals regarding solar energy.
Individually Funded Incentives
There are organizations out there that prioritize alternative energy and have resources to share. Some of these organizations partner with solar companies to reduce the cost to consumers. Check out universities and non-profits in your area to see if they know about any local resources that can help.
Because there is no unified body regulating solar energy, there is no unified answer as to whether solar will save you money. Most of it depends on your location and whether your state and city has prioritized incentivizing alternative forms of energy. If you’ve done this research in your area, share your finds in the comments!