The TRUTH About Solar! 4 Year Review

Solar panels are now required on all new homes in California. So that's about 80,000 new homes each year that are getting solar. In October of 2020 California ranked as the highest solar power
generating state in the nation producing enough solar capacity to power about 8.4 million
homes in the state. And in 2020, the SEIA estimated that California will
increase its solar capacity by over 19,000 megawatts
over the next five years second behind Texas at 20,000 megawatts. And I happened to get my solar panels on my house just over four
years ago in March of 2017. And in that time I've learned a lot. My solar panels set up at
my house contains 16 panels, and generates just over five
kilowatts of peak power.

These 16 panels feed into a
string inverter in my garage that converts the DC energy into AC energy that my house can then use. I also have two Tesla Powerwalls, and a Smart Panel from Span giving me a really
complete home energy system that's pretty advanced. But if you wanna learn more
about those other systems check the description down
for links to those videos. And where I live in California we have net energy metering, which means that I can
actually sell energy back to the grid, and build up credits
with my local utility. Coincidentally, this is what
makes having a home battery not a financially beneficial
option for most people. If you're in the United States you likely already live in a
state with net energy metering, but if you're not sure I'll put a link to an
article from EnergySage, that has more detail on it
down in the description below.

So basically that's my setup. The sun comes up, it generates energy, any excess that I'm not
using at that exact moment goes back to the grid. And then later I can buy back
that energy at a later time. The question now is after
four years how's it going? How much energy have they generated? And is there anything
I would do differently? Let's start with the
most important question you probably are wondering about, is it worth it financially? So since installed back in March of 2017, my solar panels have generated
35,480 kilowatt hours which costs an average
of 27 cents where I live. Except now in 2021, it's 31 cents thanks to a rate hike
from our local utility. And when you multiply those two you get $9,683.60. This is how much the energy is worth that my panels have generated over the four years that I've had them. And looking at the net cost of the system right around $14,000 minus the powerwalls we find that I'm about 70% paid off from the initial investment
in just four years.

And this is good news
because the original quote I got from the installer
had us right around $9,200 worth of energy at this point, not 9,600. So we're a little bit ahead of schedule when it comes to these
panels paying themselves off. And then if we forecast out from here looking at our yearly average consumption of 8,500 kilowatt hours, and the new energy cost of
31 cents per kilowatt hour, we see that they should
have paid for themselves in about year six, we're half a year ahead of schedule from our initial estimate.

Again, that's partly aided
by the energy price hike from my local utility, but this is just how things go. Every year the prices go up just a little. Now, if we extrapolate
that for the next 25 years we're looking at about an $85,000 profit assuming that the annual reduction in photovoltaic production is around .4%, and the annual utility
rating increase is around 5%. So are they worth it? Totally, but it doesn't mean that I didn't make any
mistakes along the way, and have anything that I
would have done differently. When I first started this journey I used EnergySage to find my installer. The way it works is by
submitting your information, your electricity bill, and putting a pin on your roof so they can see exactly the
orientation of your house, and if there's any shade
or anything nearby.

Then getting quotes
from various installers without them ever getting
your personal information, which means no one's gonna be calling you, or stopping by unannounced
trying to sell you something. You just get a nicely laid out dashboard inside of their portal on energysage.com to compare all of these quotes. And with summer right around the corner now is a great time to head over to bensullins.com/EnergySage, sign up and get quotes for your house to see how much you could be saving. Again, there's no obligations there, if you head over it's all free.

You sign up, you get the
information and all that. The actual installers are the
ones that pay a commission to EnergySage so that that's
how that whole thing works. Totally free to you. And even if you already have
quotes from other people I would highly recommend it just to get more kind of second and
third opinions out there just to see what kind of deals, and what kind of quotes you can get. So thanks to EnergySage
for sponsoring the channel. Again, they're one of my favorite partners that I've been recommending for years on and off the internet.

And so I really do believe
in what they have to offer. As well as it's one of the best websites just to learn about this stuff. So give them a look,
link in the description, or just bensullins.com/EnergySage. Okay, so the biggest
thing that I've learned over this time that I would do differently is that there is a fixed cost to even getting one solar
panel on your house. The way it works when you
get this process going, is that you have an installer
design a system for you. Which basically means where
are the panel's gonna go? And how are they going
to connect to the grid? The installer there has to
submit those plans to the city, or your local utility, or whomever kind of has
jurisdiction in that area, and get it approved.

And you likely have to then get a permit which you have to pay for. This is all to be done before you can actually move
ahead with the install. So if you want one panel on your house you'd have to do all these steps. Or if you want a hundred
panels on your house you would also have to
do all of these steps. So the lesson here is
that you should probably get as much solar energy as
you think you will ever need. Not just how much you need now, but how much you might think you need within the next 20 years. So if you think you might
get an electric car, or two within the next 25 years, or maybe you're gonna
be working from home, and your kids are gonna be home when they should be in school, and your energy needs are
gonna go up because of that, yeah, you might wanna get more panels now than you think you need.

So what that means is,
when you get these quotes, they're gonna say, hey,
this is gonna cover 98% of your energy needs
or something like that. And yeah, you can buy some
energy from the local utility because it's just gonna be cheaper. But that's today. In the next twenty-five years chances are your energy
needs are gonna go up. A lot of appliances in our house are switching over to electric, and overall we're just gonna
be using more and more energy. So my recommendation, the thing I wish I would
have done differently, is just got as many panels
as my roof could hold.

That of course is within reason, right? If you have this massive house
that could hold, you know, a hundred panels or something crazy, I'm not suggesting go
you know, two or three x what your energy needs are today. I'm just suggesting that
when you do the layout if you have room for like
four or five extra panels like I did, go for it.

'Cause the cost of adding
this four or five panels now is gonna be far cheaper than
trying to add them later. Also, if you wanna add them later, there's a good chance
that those same panels aren't in manufacturing anymore, they're not in production. So you'll get a different kind of panel which will look different giving your roof this
kind of patchwork design which personally I just am not fan of. So if you have a layout, if
you're doing some stuff here, you're already gonna be
going down this route, I do recommend that you get kind of, you kinda max it out to
an extent that makes sense for your family's needs, and
your future potential needs.

The next thing is the type of
inverter that you wanna get. Now I have a string inverter which is this big box in my garage. These do tend to have better durability than some of the other types of inverters, but my house and my
garage are really small. And I would totally
rather have these located underneath the panels all
tucked away with microinverters. Microinverters tend to
be a bit more expensive than the other options out there. But they do give you
panel level monitoring, meaning you can look at each
panel and how it's doing. And most importantly, for me anyways, they are completely hidden
underneath the panels. So you don't have this big
box inside of your garage taking up all this room. Now, however your panel
and system get designed you could put that box, that
inverter somewhere else. For me I put it in the garage because that's where I
wanted my powerwalls to go. Only later to learn that I couldn't have
my powerwalls in there 'cause there wasn't enough room due to the fire code or whatever, it just wouldn't be a place
that I could actually have them.

So I have this big box in there taking up this room on this wall that's super precious and valuable in this really small garage, and I can't really move it. So pay attention to that, and pay attention to the kind of inverter, because if I were to do it again I would have got the microinverters which are all tucked up
underneath the panels, and there's nothing else
that you have to install, nor other big boxes outside your house, or in the garage, or anywhere else. For us that would be a big win. And again, depending on your situation there could be other options, but just pay attention to that when you get your system design. And again all of this
info is on EnergySage. I'll put a link to an
article that they have which really just breaks
it all down for you in case you're curious. And then that way when you
go into these discussions about what kind of inverter
would make sense for you you can already have this
knowledge at your disposal.

And lastly the thing that I
would probably do differently is get a different design of solar panel. The ones I have you can kind of see the layout of where the solar cells are, but now they have these ones
that are just all black. They just look like a
black sheet of glass, and it just looks a lot cleaner
I feel like on your roof than what I have. And again, now because I've
had these for four years if I wanted to add more panels they're not gonna match the same design giving it a really kind
of odd look on the roof more so than you already may think how odd they look already.

Because it is one of the
things people talk about how ugly solar panels are. I've never felt that way, but when I see them with
different mismatched designs I definitely think it's like
something's wrong there. And so that's another reason again to just get more solar than you
think you'll need right now, and that way you save money
on that whole setup again, and then the design if that's
important to you at all is something that will at
least match down the road.

All told I'm really happy
that we got solar when we did. And I really do recommend it
to almost everyone out there. Again, if you wanna get
a quote for your house, head over to bensullins.com/EnergySage, upload your info, and just start seeing what installers would put on your house, and how much it would cost and all that. There's no obligations again. And it's just more info that you can use to make a better decision which of course is what I'm all about. Also, if you wanna learn more
about my powerwall setup, and how I've tuned it to actually save me even more money using
the timer use pricing, and this thing called peak shaving, check out this video over here. I did it not too long ago, and I think there's some
really great info on there that might help you decide
whether or not a home battery is also worth it for you. That's it for this one guys.

Lemme know what you think
down in the comments. Thanks for watching again. And I'll see you back
here in the next one..

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