Are Solar Panels Worth It? Economics, Incentives, and Environmental Impact

For years, solar panels have been the ultimate symbol of home sustainability. Whether you're looking to go off-grid, reduce your emissions, or save money in the long run: the idea of generating your own renewable energy is super exciting. But does solar make sense for your home? And how big of a solar array do you actually need? In this video, we'll dive into these questions and explore just how solar panels really impact your health is your wealth and the planet let's do it. Solar panels are no small investment, which is one of the reasons solar is powering about 2 to 3% of the United States.

The good news is solar is getting cheaper every single year. And the number of solar installations is projected to double every year until 2024 not only are solar panels getting more affordable. But there are also major games being made in Battery Technology for storing that beautiful energy the global output from solar is increasing by about 50% per year now is a great time to invest in solar panels or at least get your home ready for solar panels.

Once you're in a position to make the investment. So does solar make sense for your home before we get deep into the numbers. There are a few boxes your house needs to check in order to make solar panels make sense. First is your home energy efficient. You can dramatically reduce the size. And the cost of your solar panel array that you need by making sure your home consumes as little energy as possible. You can do this by reducing your square footage opting for energy efficient heating and cooling systems like heat pumps in investing in high performance insulation for a very tight building envelope with no air leaks next. Do you have the right kind of roof for solar panels? Most solar panels come with a 25 year or more guarantee. So you want a roof that's going to last just as long as well shingles. For example last about 15 years while a metal roof last about 45 years this homeowner knew what he was doing when he installed his Solar Ray on his beautiful and metal roof.

Are you also want to make sure that your roof is structurally sound to withstand the additional weight of solar panels and that your roof warranty consents to solar panel installation. Now if your roof won't work and know that you can get ground-mounted. Solar panels but those heavy duty racks will need to be considered in the cost. Now the third thing to consider will your solar panels get enough Sun your solar arrays daily Sunny hours is a key calculation for whether or not solar panels make sense for you. How much sun does your city get on average? Look at that sun hours map like the one at Unbound to get this number will put some links in the description below. You want to consider the direction of you that your house is facing. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you want your solar panels to face so you can face east or west but that will decrease the amount of electricity that you can generate the fourth. And final thing to consider is this what sort of electrical upgrades are required for your solar panels your home might need an upgrade electrical panel before installing solar panels in most cases a 200-amp service has enough for your average residential solar PV system.

Also will want to plan to install an electrical conduit from your solar panels location and a metal conduit inside the home. These requirements should be discussed with your contractor. Now that you're sure that your home is a good candidate for solar. It's actually time to do some math. So the first calculation you need to consider is what size solar PV system do you need now? Is that isn't your thing? Don't worry we're going to do an example together and there are also lots of resources online to help you with your calculations will put some links in the description as well.

First. You want to calculate your daily energy load in kilowatt-hours do this by looking at your monthly power bill and your kilowatt hour usage at the bottom of your bill add up the totals for 12 bills for the year then divide that by 12 then divide that number by 30 to get your average daily kilowatt hour usage. I looked at the bills for my example house and found that it uses about 28 kilowatt hours. Day on average next you want to figure out your average Peak Sun hours for your city use a tool like the one at Unbound and we'll put a link in the description below. Now. If you live in Portland, Maine, for example, you get an average of 4.51 Sunny hours per day to know your efficiency Factor look at the specs for the solar system.

You're looking to purchase 1.15 is an average number. So that's what we'll use in our example using the numbers in our example 28 kilowatt hours per day 4.51 sunny hours per day and an efficiency factor of 1.15. This home will 87 kilowatt-hour solar array to provide more than 95% of its total energy needs 7 kilowatt-hours might not mean a whole lot to some people. So let's talk about what matters how much do solar panels cost today? The average cost of solar panels per installed. What is about $3? So A7 kilowatt-hour solar panel array it will cost you about 21,000. Dollars for all the bells and whistles the solar panels inverter charge controller wiring and installation seems like a lot but homeowners can save 20 to 50% off of that cost in tax credits and incentives which will talk about a little bit later now assuming 30% savings from these programs installation lands at about $14,700. The next calculation you want to consider is the payback. Now the payback. Means how long until your solar panels to pay for themselves. Now, how long will it take for you to pay for the initial installation based on how much money you're saving per year on your energy bills? Let's use this formula.

For example home, assuming an annual energy cost of 2160 about $180 per month. This solar panel array will actually pay for itself in just over 7 years after that. You're looking at almost zero monthly or annual energy cost some home. Regenerate so much energy. They actually sell energy back onto the grid. I don't know about you but I think that's pretty cool. Now for what is probably the most important for a money conscious homeowners. How do you take advantage of government subsidies and programs for solar panels in the US and Canada? There are programs at the federal state and provincial levels that offer incentives in the form of cash back insurance discounts tax credits and more in the US the main policy to familiarize yourself with is the residential renewable tax credit which offers a 22% tax credit for systems installed before 2022 in Canada programs are available by province Natural Resources Canada, as well as filled with keeps an updated list of the programs will put a link to these programs in the video description below.

Now that we've looked at the financials. Let's take a look at the health and environmental impacts of solar panels solar is sort of the post. Jobs for renewable energy and home sustainability but solar panels and get a lot of criticism for the chemicals used in manufacturing the high amounts of energy used in manufacturing and the difficulty of recycling solar panels. So is there a way to these criticisms? Let's take a look are there harsh chemicals and materials used to manufacture solar panels solar panels are made from aluminum tempered glass and solar grade silicone that is made from mine quartz cadmium can be washed into the soil by rainwater one solar farm in Virginia actually contains as much as a hundred thousand pounds of cadmium is highly toxic in low Doses and is carcinogenic to plants.

But with that in mind can solar panels be recycled. It's not recommended that solar panels go to normal landfills since broken case modules week toxic chemicals into the soil the glass and solar panels can't yet be recycled like for additional glass because they contain Security is like Plastics lead cadmium and antimony right now recycling solar panels is so expensive. It's still cheaper to just use it brand new materials even renewable energy Advocates will tell you that solar panels have a major recycling problem. And it's a problem that needs solving some experts believe that the cost of recycling should be passed onto manufacturers others think consumers should bear the responsibility. Luckily. There's a ton of research being done to create solar panels that are easier to recycle. Let us know in the comments if you know of any companies doing good work in this area and now for the final question and maybe the most common criticism we hear online the solar panel manufacturing waste more energy and Emissions than it saves me hear it all the time the Mind material and Manufacturing process for solar panels require high amounts of energy and emissions and so much so that it off.

The energy generated by a solar panel in its lifetime. If this is a concern for you breathe a sigh of relief in 2014 the US Department of Energy's and National renewable energy lab found that the energy used to manufacture solar panels is paid back in less than 2 years. And when it comes to emissions solar generates about 40 G of CO2 per kilowatt-hour compared to a thousand grams per kilowatt hours for coal Coal produces, 25 times more carbon, dioxide and solar energy to produce the same amount of energy. So while it's true that producing solar panels is energy intensive during the manufacturing solar is a completely admission free source of energy for the 25 plus years of a panels use full life. So do solar panels make sense for your home as we've discovered in this video.

It really depends luckily solar energy is getting more affordable every year as more homeowners are taking their energy. Did their own hands? The industry is constantly innovating with higher efficiencies easier to recycle materials and legislation that has our people and planet in mind. Have you ever installed solar panels, or maybe you're thinking about it and it but you're afraid to take the plunge tell us in the comments below and we love to hear all about it. And that's our video for today guys. Thanks for tuning in and we'll catch you on the next one. Thanks so much for tuning in guys for more videos like this and don't forget to subscribe by clicking the button below and also check out build with The only place to turn any Home Improvement project into a sustainable..

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