Installing a solar panel system for your home is excellent for the environment, as you may well know, but it has traditionally been regarded to be expensive to install and maintain. The truth is that the expenses of constructing and operating such a system are steadily decreasing. Solar photovoltaic systems have become a more efficient, inexpensive, and easy-to-maintain alternative source of electricity over the previous decade.
So, how much does it cost to maintain solar panels? Is it true that solar panels are low-maintenance? In this article, we’ll discuss what it takes to invest in solar energy, how much it costs to maintain solar panels over the course of their lifespan of supplying free, renewable energy to your home, and a few other solar suggestions.
The Cost of Solar Installation
Solar energy’s principal costs are those related with products and installation. The cost of converting a residential home to a solar residential home ranges from $35,000 to $50,000, depending on the type of system bought and the size of the expected energy needs. Payback is normally within 3-7 years, thanks to a 26 percent federal tax credit, Massachusetts’ SMART incentives, and net metering.
Boston Solar now offers a guarantee on the energy generation of your solar system, or we’ll reimburse you the difference!
The Current Cost of Electricity
It’s vital to consider what consumers pay for traditional electricity when comparing solar electricity expenses. Although the cost of energy varies from state to state, it is nevertheless useful to consider national averages. Hawaii has the highest average price per kWh ($0.2872) while Louisiana has the lowest average price per kWh ($0.0771). For an average monthly power use of 877kWh, the average U.S. household pays $0.1054 per kWh, resulting in a bill of $92.44 before taxes and fees.
The average price per kWh in Massachusetts is now $0.1840, resulting in an average power bill of $161.37, more than double the national average. (Source: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/; updated 1/11/21.)
Solar energy has the potential to greatly reduce these expenses.
When Boston Solar examines a home, we look at the roof (pitch and azimuth) as well as your electricity bill, with the goal of offsetting your electricity bills as much as feasible.
Solar Panel Maintenance Costs
Solar maintenance costs are minimal to non-existent with a correctly installed system. There are only a few ongoing costs involved with the system as a whole over its 25-30 year typical life. Monitoring concerns, wire repair (maybe a squirrel ate through a wire), adding snow guards, or the inverter not communicating are all examples of these costs. A brief call to Boston Solar can assist you determine whether or not we need to go on site for this.
Cleaning Your Panels
Solar panels degrade at a rate of 1-2 percent each year, depending on climatic circumstances, and soiling effects might result in an output discount of up to 8%. (this is noted on all datasheets for solar panels and what the 25 year warranty will cover over this time period).
Are you concerned about the maintenance of your solar panels? The best part is that solar panels are almost self-cleaning. Is it true that there was a one-foot snowstorm yesterday? Don’t worry; the sun shines, the snow melts, and your panels resume production.
If you are concerned about maintenance, Boston Solar provides yearly maintenance contracts that can be combined with the purchase of a solar system.
Solar Installation is a Sound Investment
Anyone who has considering going solar or who has already gone solar believes that the initial investment and subsequent low maintenance expenses of a solar panel system are well worth it. Although there is an initial outlay (financing options are available), technological developments and more readily available and efficient equipment are continually lowering these expenses.
The kWh cost will continue to decline as future systems are built to be even more energy efficient and last longer than 30 years, and it will remain a reasonable method to enjoy continuous and reliable green energy.
Do solar panels necessitate a lot of upkeep?
Do you have concerns about solar panels and hail? Don’t be concerned! Solar panel systems are extremely long-lasting and require little to no maintenance throughout the course of their useful lives, which can be up to 25 years. If something goes wrong, the components of your solar PV system are covered by extensive warranties that cover replacement and repair costs. Repairs and maintenance are the duty of the leasing company, not you, if you lease your solar panel system.
What are the disadvantages of solar panels?
While we believe solar energy has the potential to alter our world, we also recognize that it isn’t without flaws. We’d like to go through a few of the most critical disadvantages to consider.
Solar Panel Installations Can Be Expensive
Investing in house solar panels, as we discussed in a previous blog, is similar to purchasing a car. Solar panels on the roof are a significant investment. However, if you do your homework, test drive a few, and make an educated purchase, your investment will pay off well for many years.
However, for some people, the end outcome may not be worth the effort and money spent, which is completely understandable. Even with the lower 26 percent investment tax credit (ITC), a solar installer in 2021 paid an average price of $20,00010 for a 10 kWh system.
This is why we provide solar electricity plans for those who want to go solar but can’t afford the upfront costs of installing panels.
Solar Energy Doesn’t Work at Night
“Captain Obvious, thank you!” However, you must take into account the fact that your rooftop solar panels will not generate electricity at night. Yes, a small amount of sunlight is reflected off the moon and absorbed by the solar panels, but at night, it’s effectively pitch black. Solar panels do not create power when there is no light.
This is especially important if you want to be absolutely honest “You can go “off the grid” and have your home powered entirely by solar panels. If you don’t have access to the power grid, you’ll need energy storage devices (the most common of which is a lithium-ion battery) to store the energy your solar panels generated earlier in the day so you can utilize it later. Otherwise, you’ll have to rely on oil lamps to light your home.
Solar Energy Storage is Expensive
The harsh reality is that energy storage systems for rooftop solar panels are extremely expensive. Tesla’s Powerwall, perhaps the most advanced product on the market today, costs roughly $7,200 for one solar battery as of April 2021 and how many you need depends on your current electricity bills. Tesla also exclusively sells the Powerwall to customers who also purchase solar panels.
Solar storage, like energy storage in general, is expensive since it is new area. A typical residential solar system would have cost $40,000 in 2010, but the cost is now half that. 11 We believe that solar storage, as well as solar panels themselves, will cost even less in ten years than they do now.
Solar Panels are Difficult to Move Once Installed
You could technically relocate your solar panels to your new home. But, in reality, this practically never occurs. Why? Moving solar panels to a new position isn’t a good idea because they’re custom-tailored to fit your roof.
The value of solar panels placed by persons moving to a new home is usually tacked onto the home price. According to a research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a typical solar array raises the value of a property by $15,000 on average. 12 So, even if you have to say goodbye to your beloved solar panels, they’ll almost pay for the next set you put on your new home.
Some Solar Panels Use Rare Earth Metals
The term “rare earth metals” is a bit misleading because these elements are plentiful. The extraction of these elements for use in wind turbines and solar cells, on the other hand, has detrimental consequences for the environment and the people who mine them. 12
Furthermore, these rare earth elements have political significance. Between 2014 and 2017, China supplied the United States with 80% of its rare earths imports. 14 These minerals, which are essential in the development of most modern technology, have the potential to have a huge impact on global economies.
Fortunately, prominent technology companies like Apple are looking at ways to recycle these rare earth elements in order to maintain a consistent supply and keep costs from rising due to increased demand.
What is the average lifespan of a solar panel?
Photovoltaic (PV) panels, commonly known as solar panels, are designed to last for more than 25 years. Many solar panels that were placed as early as the 1980s are still operating at full power. 1 Solar panels are not only incredibly dependable, but their lifespan has risen substantially in the previous 20 years. 2 Many solar manufacturers back their equipment with performance guarantees in their warranties, in addition to decades of successful performance. 1
Keep in mind that just because your solar panels are predicted to last a couple of decades doesn’t imply they’ll stop producing electricity. It simply implies that their energy production will be reduced by the amount that solar panel manufacturers believe is necessary to meet the energy needs of the ordinary American family.
Is it worthwhile to invest in solar panels?
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently discovered that every dollar saved on energy enhances the value of a home by $20 if it has a solar power system. That’s a 20-to-1 investment return (ROI). Here are some considerations to help you get the most out of your solar investment.
The cost of purchasing a solar system is relatively expensive at first. Solar panels, inverters, batteries, wiring, and installation are all included in this cost. Nonetheless, because solar technology is continually improving, it’s realistic to predict that prices will continue to fall in the future.
Although solar energy can be collected during overcast and rainy days, the solar system’s efficiency is reduced. Solar panels must be exposed to sunlight in order to collect solar energy. As a result, a couple of overcast, rainy days can have a significant impact on the energy system. It’s also important to remember that solar energy cannot be collected at night.
Thermodynamic panels, on the other hand, are an option to consider if you need your water heating solution to work at night or during the winter.
Check out our video for a breakdown of how effective solar panels are in the winter:
In 2021, are solar panels a worthwhile investment?
Is it still worthwhile to invest in solar panels in 2021? Yes, in a nutshell. Rooftop solar systems are stylish and may blend into your home’s decor while allowing you to generate your own energy.
However, it’s understandable that the prospect of adopting solar causes some trepidation. What’s crucial to realize is that this technology is becoming more widespread, making it less daunting to the general public. Every day, more individuals are opting for solar, and the technology advances year after year.
How often should your solar panels be inspected?
If your solar panels are slanted, you’re in luck: rain will wash away any material that has gathered on them. During the dry season or extended periods without rain, however, it is necessary to manually clean them.
Cleaning your solar panels between two and four times a year is generally suggested. While this may appear to be a lot of labor, the good news is that it isn’t. Your panels will be clean and in good shape with just a leaf blower or a brief spray with a garden hose.
After a large snowfall in the winter, you may need to clean your panels. If you’re clearing snow with water, make sure it’s lukewarm. You can also use a long-handled squeegee.
It’s vital to remember that when cleaning snow from the panels, you should never use hot water. The panels are composed of tempered glass, and the severe temperature difference between hot and cold water might cause them to break.
Ground-mounted panels vs. rooftop panels – is there a maintenance difference?
The only major difference between ground-mounted solar systems and rooftop solar systems in terms of maintenance is that ground panels are easier to access and hence clean. If there is a buildup of snow or other debris, a soft-bristled broom can be used to sweep it away.
Is it true that solar panels might harm your roof?
So, when solar panels are put, do they harm your roof? As long as your solar panels are properly installed, they shouldn’t cause any damage to the exterior or infrastructure of your roof for most homes. Solar panels will not harm the integrity of your roof provided you deal with a certified licensed contractor and your roof is in good shape.
When solar panels are installed, the technicians will drill holes in the roof to secure the panels. These huge holes are for lag bolts, which are strong enough to keep solar panels in place while also being weather resistant.
While knowing that a contractor is drilling holes in the outside layer of your home may give you the creeps, this is all part of the process of mounting solar panels so that they are completely secure and won’t cause damage.
To protect your roof, the lag bolts are covered with flashing after the panels are installed. A thin roll of moisture-resistant metal or plastic called flashing is used to help block off this hole and keep moisture, wind, and the weather out. It diverts water away from the area, so you don’t have to worry about moisture seeping into your roof from solar panels.
Many homeowners are hesitant to install solar panels because they are concerned about the roof’s integrity. What if the roof needs to be replaced or repaired only a few years after the solar panels have been installed? If this occurs, the panels will need to be removed, the roof repaired, and the panels reinstated, increasing the expense of repairing or replacing a roof.