Homeowner's Guide — Education

Should You Go Solar? The Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Energy

Many homeowners are currently asking themselves “Should I go solar?”

The cost of switching to solar has dropped 70% over the past decade while the average utility bill has increased by 15%. The huge drop in price along with the many tax credits, rebates, and other financial incentives available to homeowners has made solar into an attractive option.

It is expected that more than 1 in 7 homes in the United States will have a solar system by the end of this decade. Homeowners are making the switch to solar, because of its huge financial and environmental benefits such as:

  • Lower Monthly Energy Bills
  • Increase Your Home Resale Value
  • Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
  • Clean and Self-Sufficient Energy

Before you make the the switch to solar, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

01 — How Much is Your Monthly Electric Bill?

The first question to ask yourself is: “Will going solar save me money?”

For many homeowners, your monthly electric bill is one of your largest expenses which is why so many people switch to solar. Your monthly electricity bill should at least be $75 for it to be a smart financial decision to install solar.

When you go solar, your home will use energy generated by your solar system instead of energy from your utility provider. In most cases, a homeowner will begin to see monthly cost savings from going solar if their electricity bill is at least $75 each month.

02 — Is Your Home Able to Go Solar?

The second question to ask is: “Can I install solar on my home?”

You need to consider the condition of your roof, what direction your roof faces, and the amount of shading your roof has.

It is ideal to have a south-facing roof with little to no shading in order to get the most sunlight and most benefit from your home’s solar system. It is not a good idea to have your home’s solar panels installed on a north-facing roof.

You may also want to schedule a roof inspection to confirm the age and condition of your roof as well as if you can install a solar array on your roof.

03 — Should You Finance, Lease, or Pay Cash for Your Solar System?

The third question to ask is: “What is the best way to pay for my solar installation?”

Solar has decreased so much in price for homeowners that purchasing a solar system for your home is no different from how you would purchase a car. You can buy your new solar system outright with cash or take advantage of many different financing and leasing options.

If you pay cash for your system, you will own it outright and are eligible for all solar incentives available to you. Someone who finances their system, will take out a solar loan and make monthly payments for a specific time period. If you take out a loan to finance your system, you can save money since your monthly loan payment should be lower than your current utility bill.

Some homeowners will lease their solar panels, but if you do this you will not own your system and not be eligible for any federal or state tax incentives or other rebates.

We recommend that if you decide to go solar that you either pay cash or finance your solar purchase. You will be eligible for all federal and state tax incentives. The federal solar tax credit allows you as a homeowner to deduct the cost of installing your solar system from your federal taxes.

If you install your home’s solar system in 2022, you can deduct 26% of the cost of your solar system. In 2023, homeowners can deduct 22% of the cost for their new solar system.

04 — Will Solar Affect Your Home’s Resale Value?

The fourth question to ask is: “Will solar increase my home’s value?”

Installing solar panels for your home will increase your home’s resale value by $15,000 on average. This is similar to what a new kitchen remodel or other home renovations will do to increase your home’s value. Buyers are willing to pay more for a house with solar panels, because it means they will have lower monthly energy bills.

Most states offer solar property tax exemptions, so you will not owe additional property taxes for the increased value of your home.

05 — When Should You Go Solar?

The fifth question you should ask is: “When is the best time for me to go solar?”

You’ve done your research, confirmed your house is able to go solar, and spoken with several different solar installers. You now need to decide when you will pull the trigger and make the switch to solar. It is recommended that if you want to go solar, you do it sooner rather than later.

The federal solar tax credit is 26% if you install your new solar system in 2022 and is 22% if you install your new solar system in 2023. You want to take advantage of these tremendous cost savings and tax incentives now while they are available.

There are other local and state incentives depending on where you live. We recommend you speak with several solar installation companies to understand what incentives are available to you and how to get the most cost savings possible.

Homeowner Resources

U.S Department of Energy - Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar

The U.S. Department of Energy Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar is a great resource for homeowners who want to learn more about going solar. This guide details the process for going solar, how to determine if your home is suitable for solar panels, financing options, cost savings, and many other questions a homeowner may have about solar energy.

Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power

SEIA’s Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power is another excellent resource that provides recommendations for homeowners on how to make it easier and simpler for you to go solar.

DSIRE Incentives Database

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive database for homeowners to search for and find solar energy incentives in their individual state and across the country.

  • Federal Solar Tax Credit: How It Works

    If you’re considering going solar, you have most likely heard about the federal solar tax credit. The investment tax credit (ITC), which is frequently called the federal solar tax credit, allows you as a homeowner to deduct 26% of the cost of installing your solar system from your federal taxes.

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  • How Solar Tax Credits Work

    Going solar is a significant investment, but it is also one of the smartest investments you can make as a homeowner. If you are researching how to go solar, you have most likely read about the different state and federal solar tax credits available to homeowners.

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  • How Solar Rebates Work

    Solar rebates are an easy way to reduce your cost of going solar. Rebates are incentives you receive upfront when you install solar panels for your home. States and utility companies can provide rebates at a fixed flat rate regardless of the size of your system. Other utility rebate programs will depend on the size of your home’s system - the amount of kilowatts (kW) you installed for your home.

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  • How Solar Property Tax Exemptions Work

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home’s resale value increases by $15,000 when a solar system is installed. Most states offer solar property tax exemptions as an incentive for homeowners to go solar. Solar Property Tax Exemptions remove the added value of a solar system from the valuation of your home for tax purposes. While the value of your home increases due to installing solar, your state property taxes will be for the pre-solar value of your home which is lower.

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  • How Net Metering Works

    You may have read about or come across the term “net metering” while researching if you should go solar. Net metering allows you to sell surplus energy produced by your home’s solar panels back to your utility company. It is essentially a billing tool that uses the electric grid to store surplus energy generated by your home’s system.

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  • Should You Go Solar?

    Many homeowners are currently asking themselves “Should I go solar?” The cost of switching to solar has dropped 70% over the past decade while the average utility bill has increased by 15%. The huge drop in price along with the many tax credits, rebates, and other financial incentives available to homeowners has made solar into an attractive option.

    Read Article
  • How to Convert to a Solar Power Home

    Over 1 million homeowners in the United States have made the switch to solar this past decade and that number is expected to reach almost 14 million (1 out of every 7 homes) by the end of this decade. If you’re one of the many homeowners who plan to go solar, we recommend you follow this process to convert your home to a solar power home.

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  • How to Choose a Solar Panel Installer

    We recommend that you do research about potential solar installers before you schedule a meeting with them. This will save you a lot of time and ensure that you are speaking with a solar installer who you can trust.

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