IS SOLAR WORTH IT? January 31, 2022 | Home Maintenance | roof , home exterior , electrical Solar panels have started to gain popularity not just for big businesses, but also for individual homeowners. Almost 4 percent of all U.S. homes and 3 percent in Canada are powered or will be powered by solar panels in 2022. The benefits of a lower energy bill and reducing your carbon footprint has made the switch to solar an easy decision. If you’ve thought about changing your energy supply, there are some things you should consider. How does solar power work? Believe it or not, solar power has existed since the 1950s. But its high price point kept most people from purchasing it for personal use. Thanks to scientific advancements the cost has dropped substantially and they’re higher quality as well. Photovoltaic panels are designed specifically for residential use. The cells in the panel collect the sun’s photons, creating an electric field and eventually flowing to the appliances you’re using. How many panels will you need? How much energy a panel can put out is measured in Watts and called the “theoretical output.” While a panel may be rated for a certain wattage, they don’t use all of the energy they collect. The actual output or “capacity factor” is typically 15-30 percent less than the theoretical. Since not every panel uses all of the energy it collects, you’ll most likely need multiple to cover your home. The typical home uses between 20 and 25 solar panels for complete energy independence. Before installing, you’ll need to determine your current and potential energy needs. Poly vs. Mono Two terms you might notice when choosing panels are polycrystalline and monocrystalline. There are a few minimal differences between the two. The materials used tend to make monocrystalline models more effective than polycrystalline ones. Most homeowners also prefer the sleek black look of monocrystalline panels compared to the somewhat blue tint of polycrystalline. However, monocrystalline tends to be more expensive. Overall, cost is the main difference between the two, so it’s up to you to decide your budget based on what you need. The Expected Cost Now the big question: how much will it cost to install solar panels on your home? On average, a home panel system costs between $15,000 and $25,000 to put in. Your investment will vary depending on the size of the home and of course how many panels you install. Because of the initially high price point, it might take some time before you start to see a return on your investment. The good news is most panels are durable and require little maintenance unless they’re severely damaged. Based on national statistics, most homeowners see a return within 5 to 10 years. Is solar right for you? The answer to this question has a variety of answers. Ultimately, you have to weigh the pros and cons before making the choice of switching to solar. On one hand, it’s cleaner than other fuels to power your home and could help you save extra money. On the other, it does require a large upfront investment and you won’t always get 100 percent of the energy collected. But if you do decide to switch, it can be a great decision for your home and the environment. Make sure your home is safe with an NPI home inspection. Our NPI inspectors have the knowledge and expertise to assess your home’s major systems and provide a full report. Find an inspector near you today to buy or sell with confidence.