How To Budget For A Residential Solar System Installation
By Space Coast Daily // February 9, 2023
Switching to solar power is one of the best ways homeowners can do good for the environment.
Apart from that, solar energy helps homeowners against increasing energy costs. After all, energy from the sun is free to collect and use.
While a residential solar energy system can provide free energy from the sun, it can be costly. The high upfront cost of installing solar panels can discourage many homeowners from taking the plunge.
But the cost shouldn’t stop you from enjoying clean energy and taking steps toward saving energy for the future. This article shares valuable tips on planning and budgeting for a residential solar system installation.
- Understand The Average Cost
To budget effectively for a residential solar system, you need to know the average running price of solar panels and their accessories in your area.
Take note that solar pricing can vary greatly depending on your location. For instance, the average cost to install solar panels in Florida is over USD$15,000, whereas states like Colorado can go over USD$20,000.
A simple Google search can give you a rough idea of the different rates in your locality.
- Ask And Compare Quotations
For more accurate pricing, you should consult several solar system installers and ask for an estimate. Getting estimates from at least five or more companies allows you to compare costs and help you find the one that suits your budget and needs.
While getting these price quotes, make sure to ask a lot of questions. You need to understand the quality of the solar system products you’re being sold. Also, you need to consider the reputation and quality of the company.
- Consider System Size, Type, And Style
The size, type, and style of the solar energy system you choose can significantly influence the overall cost. In this case, you need to consider how much energy you want to generate. Generally, most homeowners opting to install a solar system want to maximize solar generation to eliminate reliance on the local grid. Such system size maximizes energy and cost savings but likely cost more upfront.
In addition, the types of solar panels can determine system efficiency and longevity, impacting the cost and return on investment. Today, the two most popular solar panels are photovoltaic and solar thermal panels. Photovoltaic panels are more common. They last longer and are more versatile, whereas solar thermal panels are more efficient.
Moreover, you may want to consider aesthetics. Solar panels are available in various styles, which can also affect their final cost. For instance, you can find all-glass solar panels. You can go for black on black, which comprises black solar panels installed on black racks, for a sleek appearance.
- Do Not Forget To Budget For Extra Costs
Most of the time, the price estimate you get online or from an installer is the overall cost of the solar panels and essential accessories, such as batteries and inverters.
If you only budget for this given estimate, you may be surprised by the extra costs along the way. Some of the additional costs you need to include in your budget are as follows:
- Installer Service Fee
Sometimes, an installer already includes their service fee on the provided estimate. Check if you will be charged more for installing solar panels. Aside from installation fees, some installers may also charge additional fees like transportation costs, especially if you live a significant distance from their office. Consider these extra costs when hiring an installer to prevent unexpected expenses.
- Necessary Upgrades And Repairs
When switching to solar, you may need repairs and upgrades to accommodate and support the system. For instance, if you’re installing solar panels on your roof, you need to make sure that your roof can support the extra weight. Depending on your roof condition, you may need to hire roof inspection services and make the necessary repairs or replacements before installing the panels.
In addition, you must consider a few upgrades in your home to support the switch. For instance, you may have to upgrade your insulation or replace old bulbs with LEDs for better energy efficiency. To keep things organized, you may need to build a storage cabinet for solar equipment, such as inverters and batteries.
Solar energy systems have minimal maintenance requirements. But you should still include it in your overall budget. Generally, most solar energy installers offer maintenance services for a small fee. Others provide this as a freebie for a certain period to entice clients. In addition to regular inspection, you should consider the cost of replacing parts over time, including wirings and batteries.
The steep upfront cost of solar energy system installation seems to be a huge obstacle. Nevertheless, similar to most investments, you can work it into your budget with careful planning and proven strategies. Soon enough, you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy while keeping your budget under control.
The long-term benefits to your electricity bills and the environment are definitely worth the price.