Solar panels are being seen more often in our communities and solar energy is a popular news topic. What are the costs and benefits for property owners when maintaining solar panels?
How Do Solar Panels Work?
First, sun travels into the panels creating DC current. That current then goes through either a micro or string inverter to create AC current. Then, AC current is pumped to either the electric grid or a battery bank. The electric grid is tied to the electric company, so if the power goes out, the electric company has to fix the grid in your area before your house can resume power. Alternatively, if you choose a battery bank, the battery bank would act as a solar generator providing electricity when the power is out in your neighborhood. While battery banks are initially more costly, they provide continuous “off-grid solar.”
An Example of Grid-Tied Solar
If a person uses 1000 kilowatts of electricity in a month and the system generates 1200 kilowatts per month, the overage of 200 kilowatts is given back to the owner based on a buy-back rate. The connected electric company pays the owner in either check form, reduction on a regular electric bill, or as stored credit that can be applied to future electric bills. Stored credits are helpful at particular times, such as in winter months to offset higher charges.
System generates: 1200 Kilowatts of electricity per month
Homeowner use: 1000 Kilowatts of electricity per month
Overage of electricity: 200 Kilowatts of Electricity per month
Local electric company buy back: Solar owner receives reduction on electric bill, or credit to be used for future bills.
Solar panel projects near Hayward, WI. Featured images used with permission from Carlson Electric.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Hayward?
The average cost per residential solar project installation ranges from $3.00 to $5.00 per watt. This amount could be greater depending on the type of panels installed. A person typically needs a range of 350-500 watts per panel. The number of panels needed is calculated based on your typical expected energy usage. Cost is also affected by solar panel location: a roof or ground mount system, or steel structure. Length of a trench system to bury the electric lines to connect to panels and meter will also affect the initial cost. It is imperative when talking to a representative that you get a thorough analysis of your property to decipher what system is best suited for your needs.
How Many Panels Do I Need?
Ask your solar company to customize your panel quote based on your energy usage. This calculation will help to determine the best route for installation, and to make the most impact for cost savings. In general, contractors will install around 20 panels per home.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Cost?
Solar Is considered a long-term investment. Homeowners usually have a payback period of 7-10 years depending on the incentives and cost. If you choose to add solar panels to your residence, you will want to make sure you will be owning your residence for at least 3-5 years. The main benefits of installing solar panels are: 1) to help reduce your energy bill, 2) to reduce environmental impacts, and 3) to increase the value of your home. Some drawbacks include the initial cost, break-even period, and any challenges in roof construction (some roofs are not ideal for the addition of solar panels).
Are There Tax Credits for Solar?
Yes, there are great incentives to save on solar installation costs! First, a federal clean energy tax credit has been extended through 2034. Homeowners can deduct 30% of the installed system costs through 2032, 26% in 2033, and 22% in 2034. To qualify for this tax credit, you need to have federal income tax liability. In addition to federal tax credits, your local electric company along with Focus on Energy may also provide great incentives. You can find out more information about these incentives from your local solar company and tax accountant.
Does My House or Yard Get Enough Sun?
The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on the sunlight available on your property. There are also weather and timing considerations: your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and of course no energy at night. However, because electricity costs are on the rise, and with the addition of great financial incentives for homeowners, solar can still be a very smart decision. When installing the panels, contractors recommend the East, South, or West locations of the property to ensure panels receive direct sun exposure.
Does Home Value Increase with Solar Panels?
Yes! Homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes that are not solar-ready. Locally, this trend is consistent; however it’s important to understand costs vs benefits before you begin a solar panel project:
- Make sure you will continue living at your property during the payback period of 3-5 years (or longer)
- If you sell before that time, a solar installation loan will remain with you beyond your move-out date
- If you are expecting proceeds from the sale of your home, those funds can be applied to pay off the solar installation loan
- A buyer who purchases your home within that time period would gain any future benefits of your solar installation project
Bottom line, if you are going to make the investment to install a solar energy system in your home, make sure you understand the benefits and their timing.
Who Installs Solar Panels in My Area?
There may be only a few companies in any area that install solar panels locally. Finding the right company may be a challenge, but there are several ways to go about finding the right company for your project. Beyond the typical methods of searching or attending energy events, referrals can be best. You’ll get the option to hear about successful projects, and see projects in person. In Hayward Wisconsin, our friends Dave and Paula Carlson own Carlson Electric. Their team does a great job in providing information and answering questions about solar panel installation. If you are considering adding solar panels to your property, you can contact them directly: Carlson Electric.
In closing, if you are looking to increase your home’s value, save on energy costs, and keep more money in your pocket long-term, consider adding solar panels. Some sellers have noticed an increase in interested buyers who are willing to pay more when purchasing a home when a solar energy system is present. There are clear benefits whether you are buying a home with solar or adding panels to your existing property.
Here at Route 63 Realty in Hayward, WI we are always looking for ways to provide valuable information to our clients. We offer a wealth of resources, including valuation details for homes with solar energy systems. Stop by for a brochure or give us a call at Route 63 Realty in Hayward, Wisconsin 715-558-7846. Our staff are readily available to help answer any questions you may have.
“We always look forward to helping those in our community.” – Route 63 Realty