Homeowners wanting to go a step further to reduce their energy consumption may want to look intogenerating their own electricity. Solar technology has improved over the years and the panels have becomemore affordable, making it a viable option for more households.1 If you’re thinking about installing a systemthis spring or summer, the time to plan is now.

What is it?

Solar panels generate DC electricity during the day andsend it to an inverter, which converts it to the AC-type ofelectricity used in households. The panels may last up to40 years with routine care and maintenance, and tout areturn on investment of 15-20%.

How much does a solar panel system cost?

Solar panels can cost between $15,000 and $40,000,depending on your solar set-up, less the rebates and taxcredits available.3 They will generally pay themselves offin the form of reduced utility bills after 7-12 years.

What are the benefits?

  • Save Money! Once you get past the installation andmaintenance costs, the energy you generate is free.
  • Save energy! Solar allows you to tap into the unlimitedpower of the sun, making you less reliant on energy drawnfrom fossil fuels.
  • Boost your home’s value! Studies show that buyersare willing to pay up to $15,000 more for a home withsolar panels than one without.
  • Your home may sell quicker! Homes with solarinstallations may sell an average of 20% faster thanhomes without.

What is the downside?

  • It’s not constant. Your system won’t generate energy atnight, so energy generated during the day must either bestored or sourced from elsewhere. Additionally, the systemwill generate less energy during the winter months, whendays are shorter, making it necessary to have a backupsource of energy.
  • It may not be efficient. Currently, solar panels can convertonly 22% of the sun’s energy into electricity, which meansyou’ll need to install quite a few panels to power yourhome. However, efficiency has improved drastically overthe past few years and will continue to improve inthe future.

Will they add home value?

The short answer is: it depends on where you live. If thehomeowner live in an area with an active solar market, solarpanels will add more value to your home than if you live in anarea where the solar market is less developed. Studies showfor every additional dollar you see in savings on your energybill, you’ll add $20 to your home’s total value.5 The averageincrease is around $5,900 per installed kilowatt.5 Keep inmind, the method used to finance the panels plays a role inhow much value they may add to a home. If you own thepanels, they’ll add value. If you lease them, especially in areaswhere solar isn’t common, they may not add value.