Between the news, the rising price of gas, global warming, and the door-to-door salesman, you probably know about solar panels for your home. It's not a new invention, having been around since the 80s, but it is becoming much more popular recently.
Have you throught recently: are solar panels worth getting? Can they be the huge life difference people say they are, especially for those living in Boise or surrounding areas?
Do Solar Panels Work?
Simply put, solar panels do work. By harnessing the energy of the sun, solar panels produce electricity you can use in your home. It is a sustainable energy source that can last a long time and provide you with free electricity.
There are some common misunderstandings and questions concerning how solar panels work, so here’s some answers for you:
Do solar panels work when it is cloudy?
Yes, solar panels work when it is cloudy, raining and even snowing. As long as sunlight is coming through, solar panels are absorbing it and converting it into electricity. On days with less sunlight, your solar panels will produce less electricity, but will still make some.
Do I have power at night?
During night time, your solar panels do not actively produce electricity. With your solar panels though, you’ll have a battery that stores your power that you can use at night. If you are still connected to a power grid, you can also pull power from the city.
Does Boise get enough sun for solar panels?
Boise, and the greater Treasure Valley, does get enough sun for solar panels to be effective. Your individual situation might differ depending on your roof and surrounding area.
Do solar panels damage my roof?
Installed professionally, solar panels do not damage your roof and in fact make your roof last longer as the solar panels take more of the brunt of the elements.
How long do solar panels last?
The quoted life expectancy of solar panels is 25 years, but if you take care of them, many panels can last indefinitely. Some solar panels installed in the 80s are still working to capacity and producing energy.
Do Solar Panels Really Get Rid of my Electric Bill?
The point of getting solar panels is to no longer depend on the electric company and have to pay their prices. Since electric company prices can go up and down depending on demand and the season, it is possible that your electric bill can go way up without warning.
If you install enough solar panels, they can get rid of your electric bill fully and supply your home with all the power you need. Depending on the season and situation, that could save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Between pulling in energy during the day and a battery that stores it for the night, unless you use a lot of electricity, you will almost never pull electricity from the grid. If you have excess energy, you can even sell that back to the power grid in some places which might cover any electricity you end up using you’d have to pay for.
Overall, solar panels do get rid of your electricity bill. The flip side is, you have to pay for the solar panels.
Paying for Solar Panels
Solar panels are not a cheap investment. The average cost can range from $10,000 to $26,000, depending on the size of your home and how much energy you need to produce. This cost is for both the materials and professional installation.
If you are able to pay for the solar panels out of pocket, that’s great! In one investment, you get rid of your power bill for the foreseeable future. That’s money you can put elsewhere, likely first replenishing your savings from the purchase, but then can be used for other expenses.
Unable to drop 10k on solar panels? There are plenty of options. Likely, whatever company you go with to install the solar panels will offer a loan and payment plan, with their own interest rate. You can go with them, but it’s smart to shop around for other options.
Another way you could pay for solar panels is by using a a Pioneer Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). With a HELOC, you use your home’s equity and have a term period where you can borrow money, only paying on the interest each month. Once the open term period ends, then you start making payments. This can give you the flexibility to purchase and install solar panels and any other large expenses you might have and pay it down later on. Maybe after you saved up some money by not paying your electric bill for a while!
Learn more about HELOCs