Saving money by installing solar panels

You may pay up to around $18,000 upfront for a 6-kilowatt solar panel solar install. But it’s likely you will save between $20,000 to up to $40,000 on energy costs over a 25 year period.

The average energy bill running $1400 a year per family in the United States.

So even if a family only saves half their bill on electricity by installing solar panels, the roughly $17,000 they spend on a solar installation, including current credits will virtually pay for itself.

Here are some of the essential details you need to know about solar panels:

Do Solar Panels save on electricity bills?

The answer is of course, yes. However, it’s not really a matter of a yes or no question. In order to calculate approximately how much money you will save, you need to understand the Mathematics of solar power.

Without a complete examination of solar, with all the various factors such as where you live, how much electricity costs you per kilowatt of electricity, how much your solar panels and installation will cost, how much electricity and how much your solar panels can generate, it’s all theoretical rather than practical.

The Mathematics of solar power

The mathematics of solar power are fairly complex until you break everything down into smaller parts.

The first thing you need to know is how much it costs for electricity on the grid where you live.

According to the U.S Energy Information Center the overall average of electricity in the United States is 12.85 cents per killowatt.

However, energy costs vary greatly from state to state.

Hawaii has the highest energy costs in the country at 33.37 cents per kilowatt. California, Alaska, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusets all pay over 20 cents per killowatt.

At least 9 other states pay more than the average U.S. resident. However, a few states such as Washington, North Dakota, Idaho, and Louisiana have the lowest residential rates per kilowatt, all at under 10cents per kilowatt.

Why are the costs per kilowatt important?

Because the object of solar-powered electricity is to replace as much if not all of the electricity you are using from your local power company.

Therefore, the higher the cost of electricity in your locality, the more money you will save.

Factoring in how much your solar panels will generate

You might think that it would be relatively easy to calculate the amount of electricity generated by solar panels, with the more sunshine the better.

Sadly, that’s not true because solar panels actually lose efficiency because the temperature gets too hot. Sometimes as much as 10 percent.

Thus, a cloudy location like San Franciso may do almost as well as a location such as a perpetually sunny location such as Tucson or Las Vegas.

A 6-kilowatt solar power room may produce as low as 570 kilowatts of electricity per month to as much as 800 kilowatts. And by the way, the average family uses about 900 kilowatts per month.

Factoring in costs of the panels and installation

The average installation price is around $14,000 to $17,000 before tax credits. But some states, such as North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, and South Dakota, it’s extremely hard to even find a solar provider.

Even at a sky-high average of $27,000 per home in Hawaii, you’d think that at 33 cents a kilowatt of grid electricity that at least a quarter of Hawaiin homes would be served by solar, but alas, only around 10 percent actually do.

Solar Panel Tax credits

The U.S. Federal Government provides a tax credit on solar energy, known as the investment tax credit.

The Investment Tax Credit started in 2006 and was originally intended to expire in 2007. However, it proved so popular that Congress extended it, and it is now scheduled to last until the end of 2021.

The Investment Tax credit currently allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of your solar power unit off of your taxes. In 2021, the last year for the program, individuals will be able to subtract 21 percent.

Finally, some states such as California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Hawaii, or more offer state Tax rebates, or at least minimize the increased value of your home by installing a solar unit.

Some states even offer cash rebates for installing solar power.

In addition, many local power companies are required by the State to produce a certain percentage of solar power. Local power companies will offer you the opportunity to pair up with them and sell them a percentage of your unused electricity, sometimes at a substantial premium to meet their state-required quota.

So how much can you really save on electrical bills from your power company?

First, having a solar-powered unit does not mean you are free from the electric company nor do you necessarily want to be.

Without an electrical connection to the local power company you would have to hook up your house with expensive batteries. On the other hand, having your local hook-up enables you to have electricity whenever you wish.

Secondly, many homeowners install solar-powered units but then they actually use more electricity overall. particularly during the hours from 4 pm onwards.

And they will often pay higher rates for the extra peak-demand energy they use. As a consequence, they don’t maximize their independence from the local power company.

However, even if you have a large 10-watt solar power system and produce more than you use, you will still get a bill from the electric company. This is because the electric company charges you both taxes and a service charge.

Calculating How Much Solar Panels Will Save You

To calculate how much do solar panels save, it’s necessary to do the solar math.

Assuming you have a 6-watt solar system, you might typically generate between 6500 and
9,000 kill0watts per year depending upon where you live.

If you generate 650 kilowatts per year, that’s around 540 kilowatts per month. If your local energy cost is around 17 cents per kilowatt, (around the cost for electricity in New York, according to the U.S Energy Administration,) that’s about $91 per month.
If you generate 800 kilowatts per month in California, that’s roughly $160 per month in a cheaper bill based on 20 cents per kilowatt.

Of course, if you install your solar panel in a house in Washington or Idaho, your reduction will be quite a bit less as electricity is notably cheaper there and you will save roughly $50 to $70 per month.

As this is a lower savings cost, you may decide it’s not worth the overall cost of purchasing an installed solar system that may not pay itself off for.

How long do solar panels last?

A dirty little secret of the solar industry is that there is such a thing as solar degradation.

The average solar panel degrades at a rate of .08 percent. This means that brand new your panels will produce 100 percent of the available electricity from the sun. By year two, they will produce 99.2 percent. By year 10 they will be down to around 92 percent, and by year 25 they will be down to around 82.5.

What can you do about this? Either one of two things. Either buy more expensive panels or get an installer that comes out once a year to inspect your panels.

Insist on panels that have a 10 to 12-year warranty, and replace any that become defective.

Meanwhile, you will need to pay from the inspector to come out yearly, and while he is up there, expect to pay him to clean your panels to be sure they are performing at peak level.

Do Solar Panels raise your home’s value

Finally does having solar power raise your home’s value? In general, yes, around 4 percent according to Zillow. Still, many people are still not as familiar with solar-powered homes, and won’t pay more for a solar home. Conclusion

It makes sense for many people to install solar panels in their houses. Within a few years, they can virtually pay for the installation, and overall, save themselves a lot of money, particularly if they plan to live in the home for several years.

That being said, don’t just rush into it. Call several installers and get serious quotes. Without calling an installer, you don’t even know if your roof is appropriate for solar panels.

Also, ask about financing if you don’t have the ability to pay for it.

That said, timing is important too. First, if you are building a house, why not include a solar roofing system from the get-go and roll the costs of the solar roofing into the total cost of the building.

Also, remember the 26 percent Federal tax incentives expire next year, so don’t wait too long.

In most cases, it makes plenty of sense, because the price of electricity rarely goes down.

Solar manufacturing companies continue to produce advanced and unique solar panels to beat their competitors. With every brand bragging to be the best in the market, and informed brand comparison is the surest way of finding the best solar panels to buy.

Due to unique factors such as power needs and house specifications, the best solar panels for you might not be the same for another household. Despite the difference, solar panels are ranked based on customer satisfaction reviews and expert reviews. As a result, the article has compiled a list of the top 10 panel brands to guide your shopping decisions.

10 Best solar panels and brands for home installation

With technological advancement revolutionizing solar panel manufacturing, some brands have managed to maintain a high profile in the past and present the electronic market. These top-rated brands have maintained a reputation for manufacturing and selling high-quality solar panels both in the local and international markets. The top 10 list includes:

  1. LG
  2. SunPower
  3. Panasonic
  4. Canadian Solar
  5. Q CELLS
  6. REC Solar
  7. JinkoSolar
  8. Silfab
  9. CSUN
  10. Solaria

Let’s take a closer look at what makes these panels the best and how they differ from each other.

1. SunPower X series

SunPower panels top the global market as the most efficient brand for home installation.
•It possesses the highest efficiency score of 22.8%. This means that it converts most electricity in less panel space. As a result, owners get more electricity in a short time.
•High power output – The X series is capable of converting sunlight to power at 75% per panels square foot consistently for 25 years since installation.
•25 years warranty -They X series design is majorly based on pure copper that ensuring long-life power-output and product life
•Its aesthetic value is based on the all-black cells and the inclusion of anti-reflective glass. This prevents glare, making it blend well with different types of roofs.

2. Lg Neon LG 360Q1C-A5

•It records an outstanding maximum module efficiency score of 20.8%. This makes it the second-best after Sun power’s X-series brand.
•Enhanced Performance Warranty of 25 years.
•It has a total of 60 cells, with each panel producing a high-power wattage at 360 watts each. This makes it efficient for houses with limited roof space.
•Its lack of electrodes enhances the home’s aesthetics.
•Its best new frame design is capable of withstanding a load of 6000 Pa on its front and up to 5400 Pa on the rare. This makes it durable for years.

LG Neon 360QIC-A5

3. REC Group Twin peak-2 series

As the leading solar panel manufacturing firm in Europe, REC Twin Peak is unique in the following ways.

•High performance in the shade – Built with a ‘twin’ panel cell design, the solar panel is capable of producing adequate electricity compared to the rest.
•Color variations – The Twin Peak series is available in both silver and black panel frames. This enables one to select a color that best blends with their roofing system.
•A 20 years product warranty.
•21.7% efficiency.
•Twenty-five years linear power output warranty.

4. CSUN Mono CSUN410-72MH

CSUN, full name China Sunergy has an impressive 4.3-star rating review, making it one of the leading Chinese solar panel service providers. CSUN Mono CSUN410-72MH features include:
•Ten years of product warranty.
•25 years performance warranty.
•The panel is corrosion resistant making them suitable for urban areas that experience more acidic rain and pollution.
•It has a resiliency to snow, wind, and hail.
•Its power output is rated at 410W.
•Diverse colors -The solar panels are available in black, silver, and white.

5. Solaria Power XT series

The Solaria PowerXT AC series tops the list in the brand.
•It’s built on a microinverter technology that increases both module efficiency and power output.
•Its latest high-performance IQ Micros enhances the conversion rate of solar to electricity.
•Its high performance is based on the factory-installed Enphase IQ7+.
•It has a 20% efficiency.
•Twenty-five years warranty on equipment and power output.
•Easy and fast installation through its Unirac’s SOLARMOUNT mounting design.

6. Hyundai

As a leading South Korea solar panel firm, Hyundai top products include the MF-Series. Its other reliable series include MG-Series, MI-Series, RG-Series, RI-Series, and RW-Series. Below are MF-Series leading characteristics.

•Warranty specifications- The panel’s energy output warranty is 25 years with a product warranty of 5 years.
•Snow and fire resiliency.
•Panel efficiency at 15.2%.
•Rated power at 220W.
•Aesthetic features include black, silver, white, and bifacial transparent back sheets.

7. Panasonic N 330 series

Panasonic leads as one of the best companies in the production of high-quality panels. Panasonic N series qualities include:

•High efficiency of 19.7%
•The high-power output of 1000 watts.
•Best adapted for hot climates.
•The power output of 330 watts.
•Pocket friendly -Panasonic beats the top brands in the US through its low prices.
•Structure warranty lasts for 15 years and power production warranty of 90% in 10 years and 80% power output in 25 years.

7. Hanwha Q CELLS

The South Korean based solar firm panels have the following features
•Performance efficiency of 19.68%.
•10 to 25-year product warranty based on the panel.

8. Jinko solar

Jinko provides customers with four excellent product series, namely Eagle, Cheetah, Swan, and Tiger.
Jinko Tiger is the firm’s latest model in 2020 with a four-star rating. Its features include:

•20.69 efficiency
•370-390-watt power output
•Available in a white back sheet
•Shingle-cell

9. Silfab SLA-Mseries

Silfab is a Canadian based solar firm. The SLA-M features include:
•20% efficiency
•Twenty-five years warranty on premium panel series.

How to choose the best solar panels for home

Before making a purchase, one should consider house factors, manufacturer options, among others. These include:

1. Efficiency

Solar efficiency refers to how best a panel is capable of converting the absorbed sunlight energy to either electricity or thermal energy. The higher the model’s efficiency, the lesser the number of panels you require. According to the list, SunPower holds the largest efficiency percentage at 22.8%. LG panels closely follow it at 21.7%.

2. Temperature coefficient

This refers to the highest and lowest productivity levels that your panel exhibits when exposed to hot temperatures. The lower the temperature coefficient, the better its productivity and energy output. Panasonic N 33O series takes the lead since it best performs in more desirable environs compared to other panels.

3. Product warranty period

Material warranty shields the buyer from undergoing losses whenever the solar panel does not meet the intended standards. The warranty protects you from both manufacturing errors and environment-induced failures. The longer the warrant, the more favorable it is to invest.

Most brands provide similar warrants with LG, Panasonic, Silfab, Solaria, SunPower, and Q CELLS, offering an excellent maximum warranty of 25 years.

4. The price factors

With good quality comes high value. The top panels are sure to cost you much money compared to the rest. However, most expensive panels do not guarantee you the best efficiency. For Example, homeowners with ample roof space can get excellent output by investing in cheaper boards that cover the large area.

On the other hand, individuals with minimal space can use high-efficiency panels to get more energy at a pocket-friendly price. You should also consider the installation prices and offers. Some firms provide free installation.

5. Power-output

The higher the power output, the more electricity you harvest. One should consider brands’ power-output based on their home energy consumption needs.

6. Credibility

This refers to the reputation that specific manufacturers and distributors have earned during their line of service. Go ahead and do a background check by looking for product reviews from customers and professionals to guide you in your decision.
Identifying the most appropriate solar panel is an involving task that leads to the purchasing of quality products. Some of the four crucial factors that you should consider include the brand’s efficiency, performance, product warranties, and product prices.

Our Pick for the Top Solar Panel

Based on the four factors, the brand SunPower X series takes the lead as the best panel to install in 2020. It possesses the impressive maximum module efficiency of 22.8%, -0.29 temperature coefficient, and a 25 years long product warranty, making it the best in 2020.

The second best brand panel is the Neon LG 360Q1C-A5. With a module efficiency of 21.7%, LG’s reputation is highly regarded in the global electronics industry. Closing the top 3 categories is the REC Group Twinpeak 2 series. As the largest solar panel producer in Europe, the firm offers high-quality products with 25 years of linear power warranty and 20 years product warranty.

Despite the close similarities’ inefficiency, warranty, and aesthetic values, each brand has a different price. However, one should consider the specific factors that make a particular product stand out when compared to the rest.
To sum it up, selecting the right solar panel is much dependent on both personal needs, manufacturing reputation, market value, and much more. As a result, potential buyers should consider looking into the above list for an in-depth and better understanding.