Nowadays, there is a lot of emphasis on going green. Not just because of the huge positive impact that it has on the environment, but also because of the considerable financial rewards and goodwill equity that comes with using it.

One of the best ways to go green is by installing solar panels in your home to generate your own electricity. The good thing is that the supply of solar panels and manufacturing capacity for them is increasing every year, thus making it easier and less costly for individuals to get their own solar panels.

Unfortunately, even with all the popularity and increased ease of acquisition, installing solar panels still isn’t cheap. About 4-7 years ago an installation would have set you back by at least $30,000, but today you can now install one that’ll serve you for less than $15,000. Might still seem pricey, but that is a 50% price slash for the same quality over several years.

The real question, however, is how much would you save on those solar panels? Fifteen thousand dollars is still a lot of money, so it is natural to demand that the returns in the short, medium, and long terms merit the investment.

Reduced Energy Costs

The almost immediate impact of installing solar panels in your own home or property lies in the near-instant benefit of reduced energy costs. As a result, you’ll find that your energy bills could get slashed by as much as 75%.

So, let’s say you were paying $500 a month on your energy bills, generating your own electricity could end up saving you $250-$350 a month, particularly during the summer months when energy consumption is high. That’s roughly between $3,000 and $4,200 in savings annually. Even at a minimum, you’ll make back what you put into the solar panels on energy savings alone after five years.

This can translate to significant savings seeing as energy costs tend to take a significant amount of average household’s income every month.

5 Ways Solar Helps You Save

Significant Tax Incentives and Credits

There are federal and state tax credits and incentives programs available for all solar energy users. For instance, according to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, installing solar-powered equipments like the solar water heater qualifies you for tax credits of about 30%.

Different counties and states also have their solar tax incentives. In Maryland for instance, the Anne Arundel County offers a one-time credit on country property taxes below or up to $2,500 solar tax incentive.

Property owners can also get the installation equipments and materials for half the standard price. So, you may need to consult with your local county office or state government to see if there are some significant tax benefits.

Power Efficiency

Solar users tend to maximize efficiency as much as power, resulting in reduced energy rates or wastage. For instance, users could hook up their solar panels to their water heaters during the winter and the central cooling unit during the hot summer months.

This saves a ton of money in the process. Homeowners are also likely to switch to energy saving bulbs and other energy saving appliances, further reducing how much power is used to achieve the same effect.

Long Term Monetary Savings

As mentioned above, savings in excess of $3,000 a year can easily translate into $30,000 in 10 years. Interestingly, the average solar panel comes with a warranty of 25 years, and barring any act of God or other natural disasters, they could last as long as 30-40 years. As such, it’s almost a certainty you’ll make back what you put in within the span of a decade.

Increased Home Value

The Department of Energy conducted a 9 year study on the effect of solar energy in the value of homes. The study showed that the average home’s value can increase by $5.50 per watt of energy generation.

Seeing as the average solar equipped home generates at least 3,000 watts, this translates to a $16,500 value. Please note that this is the average value from the study. Depending on the location of the home and the quality of the solar panels, you could easily find yourself generating more energy, translating to a bigger value boost.

Sources:

http://renewableenergysolar.net/maryland-solar-tax-credits-and-rebates/

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=211307,00.html

http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/eem/eemhog96.cfm

http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/stories/solar-panels-increase-homes-value

Oscar King’s normal full time position is acting as a green energy consultent, helping small businesses and home owners out with creating the most efficient possible systems. A resident of Orlando, he often refers his clients to http://www.bobheinmillersolar.com for getting set up wth solar power. You can find more examples of his written work on Google+.

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