Since 2007, Solar Power Rocks has been dedicated to teaching people in the United States how to save money by installing solar panels for home use. We provide important information about how to save money with solar panels, including estimates of savings from a home solar system and different options for financing a solar panel installation.
When it comes to solar power in the United States, every state has its own laws that either encourage or discourage people from installing a home solar system. Our state-by-state guides cover all the important solar incentives available in each state, as well as all the laws and policy that determine how much money home solar power can save you.
If you’re interested in solar panels for home use, but you’re unsure of how much it might cost, how much money you can save on your electricity bill, or whether your home is even right for solar, dive right in. Start with one of our state pages by clicking on the map above, or choose one of our more general articles about home solar power, below.
People usually decide to get solar power for home use for two reasons: to save the environment and to save money on their electricity bills. No matter where you put a solar panel installation, it does the first thing (a modest-sized solar installation has the carbon-reducing impact of a small mature forest), but only certain places in the country allow for the second.
If you live in the United States, you probably pay electricity bills to a utility company that serves you power for whatever the state allows them to charge. Utility companies aren’t exactly known for charging as little as possible. Buying solar panels for home use is like pre-paying your electric bill for 25 years (the length of a solar panel warranty). But no matter where you install solar panels, the cost will be far cheaper than paying for 25 years of electricity.
A home solar system can be designed to produce as much energy as your home needs over a year, but it only produces when the sun is shining, which means more solar power in the summer and less in the winter. That’s why your state needs a law that guarantees net metering, which ensures you get full credit for all the energy your panels produce, meaning you earn credit during the sunnier months that you can use during the darker ones.
This is the big, important question, and the answer is “it depends on where you live.” And not just because some places are sunnier than others. Some of the best places for a home solar system are also some of the cloudiest, like Massachusetts and New Jersey. No, where you live matters because it determines how much you get charged for electricity, whether you can get net metering, and whether there are any solar incentives to help you out.
Whether your investment in solar power is worth it depends on a few things. First, the cost of the solar panel installation. Second, how much of a discount you can get from incentives like tax credits and rebates. Third, how much money you can save on the energy your panels make.
Let’s take a look at how solar saves you money, by looking at the example of home solar power in California. California is a great place to go solar, partly because of the sunny weather, but mostly because electricity in California is expensive as heck.
Because the state’s climate is pretty temperate (at least in the most populated areas), people in California tend not to need a lot of electricity to run things like air conditioners and heaters. The average home in California can have its entire electric needs met by a relatively modest 5.2-kW home solar system. That size installation costs about $16,000 up front, before applying incentives. California has no state solar tax credit or rebates, but qualified homeowners can receive 30% of their investment back from the federal solar tax credit. That leaves a first-year cost of about $11,000 before electric bill savings. Not a small amount of money, but not too bad, either.
When the panels are up on the roof and working, the amount of solar power they generate can save the homeowner about $1,500 in the first year. After that, the system pays its initial cost back after 7 years, and keeps kicking out kilowatt-hours for at least 25 years. Over that time, the annual savings actually increase, because you’re comparing them to the ever-increasing cost of electricity from the power company.
At the end of that 25-year period, the savings from your home solar system total a whopping $40,700. That’s a lotta scrilla! Here’s how it looks as a chart of investment cost vs savings:
Now that you understand a little more about how a home solar system can save you money, read more about solar power in your state! Choose your state from the map above or list below, or read more about solar policy and incentives with the links to the rightbelow, and get ready for your solar journey!
|Delaware||Louisiana||Nevada||Rhode Island||West Virginia|
|Florida||Maine||New Hampshire||South Carolina||Wisconsin|
|Georgia||Maryland||New Jersey||South Dakota||Wyoming|
|Indiana||New Mexico||Washington DC|
|Iowa||New York||West Virginia|