Your Solar Energy Cost Is Really An Investment In The Future
There's no doubt about it, your solar energy cost when you install a solar system for your home, is a major expenditure.
When you add up the total package – the system plus professional installation costs – the outlay is considerable. Even if your are a talented and experienced do-it-yourself type you will still incur some significant expenses.
So let's start at the beginning...
Planning For Your Solar Energy Cost
It's always a good practice to plan ahead rather than impulsively launch into your solar energy project.
There are quite a few things to deal with so we'll outline them below:
What is your current electricity usage?
You need to look up past bills. Our recommendation is to look up a full year's worth of bills so as to get a good picture. There will, of course be seasonal variations in your usage so the twelve months scenario gives you the full picture.
You need to extract two vital pieces of information. Firstly, the total dollar amount for the year and secondly, the number of kilowatt-hrs used.
Carry out an energy audit in your home
This determines how you are using your electricity and also looks at how you can become more energy efficient.
Any money you can save at this stage is going to cut your solar energy cost down the track. Many analysts say that every dollar saved this way is worth at least $3 on your final system cost. In other words, if you can save $500 on your annual electricity bill by making efficiencies, then you will save at least $1,500 on the cost of whatever solar system you purchase.
For help in making those savings visit
Home Energy Savings
Work out what you want to achieve.
This involves taking into account how much you want to spend and how many kilowatt-hrs you want to generate with your solar system.
For example, lets say that you use 12,000 Kw-hrs per year at the average rate of 10 cents per Kw-hr, costing you $1,200 per year. You have a plan to save 2,000 Kw-hrs through home energy savings which means you can figure on having an annual bill of $1,000.
Now let's say that you want to reduce that bill by 75% meaning your solar energy system will need to save you (generate) 7,500 Kw-hrs of electricity or a saving of $750. In order to generate that you will need a system of solar panels that generates, on average, 625 Kw-hrs per month.
Calculating your solar energy cost
In order to achieve our target we will assume that you can obtain an average of 5 hours of sunlight per day which would mean 150 hours per month. Therefore you will need an array of solar panels that produces approximately 4,160 watts (625/150) or 4.16 Kilowatts.
Depending on what your dealer would recommend, you would probably end up with an array of about 20 solar panels rated at 235 watts. Bear in mind that the performance of the panel will be less than the rated figure, usually by 10-15%.
Now back to our solar energy cost...
At a rate of say $2.50 per watt then you would be looking at a cost of around
$10,400. That would not include installation which may well cost another $3 per watt, giving a total installed cost of $5.50/ watt or $22,800.
Calculating The Return On Your Investment
There are a range of Federal and State incentives available which vary widely from country to country and you can easily check them out.
If you are familiar with spreadsheets you can use
to calculate your own reurn on investment and payback period.
The spreadsheet, courtesy of Energy Bible.com, sets out the data for a system installed in New York State. However, you can change the details on the sheet to suit your own area, as long as gather all the required information to enter on the sheet. Once you have entered the details the calculations will automatically adjust.
So there you have it - all the information you require to calculate your solar energy cost.
In case you've forgotten or maybe never thought of all the factors, you can see them listed at
Installing a solar energy system means that you benefit from those many advantages.
Couple that with knowing how to work out the return on your investment and you have an easy decision to make.
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