We’ve all heard about how solar panels can make a huge impact on the climate and our energy bills, but as a property owner, you have to ask yourself: are solar panels really going to help me? Homeowners have a whole other suite of considerations when it comes to ensuring their properties run efficiently, but can also sell easily, if need be. Also, you have to consider whether the high up-front costs of redoing your home’s entire energy system are worth the hassle. All of these considerations can make deciding whether to install solar panels challenging. But don’t worry, we’ve crunched the numbers so that you can decide whether installing solar panels is the right decision for you.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF SOLAR?
At first glance, solar panel installation costs are jarring. In Massachusetts, solar panel installation ranges between $14,918 and $20,182. That may seem high, but whenever you’re considering investing in something, just like a property, you also have to consider the benefits you’re gaining. First, consider that you’re going to be saving at least $31,000, and up to $42,000 over the next 20 years in energy costs. That may seem like a long time, but also consider that you’ll have broken even on your investment in as little as 6 years thanks to all of the money you’re saving.
Now, you might be wondering how solar panels affect the price of your home. This is a really important consideration as a property owner should decide to sell your property. Solar panels haven’t been, and still aren’t, the most appealing thing to look at, especially if you have a beautifully-fitted, new roof on your property. Well, the good news is that several studies have found that solar panels actually increase the value of your property, if not the aesthetics. One study even found that if your solar energy system saves you $700/year, the value of your property rises by $14,000. This is largely because homebuyers also know that a solar home will save them money on their monthly electricity consumption.
As the costs of producing solar energy continues to fall and as the technology improves, the payoff from your investment will rise every year. Indeed, according to the International Energy Agency, between 1970 and 2020, the price of solar has fallen by almost 100% per Watt. If you’re still concerned about how the aesthetic impact of solar panels can affect the value of your property, remember that solar energy is in the midst of an innovation revolution. Tesla has designed new solar panels that look sleek and blend into your roof much more naturally than most commercially available solar panels. Not only do they look better, they’re also much more energy efficient, which means more money in your wallet. They even guarantee the lowest price for solar!
MORE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
Another great selling point of going solar is that you’ll have more energy autonomy. With the erratic nature of the country’s current energy policy, you’ll be worry-free as solar energy is completely disconnected from the grid, meaning your costs won’t be affected by anyone or any energy company. With the price of electricity going up by 60% in Massachusetts in the last year, alone, you have to ask yourself whether you’re not better off being more independent. The value of having long-term, independent stability is worth considering. The past couple of years have been a trying time for all of our wallets, so if you have the opportunity to supply your property with energy without worrying about dramatically rising costs, you should take it.
It is worth noting, one of the major drawbacks of solar energy is that it cannot be stored in real- time. This means you can’t live completely “off the grid” and solar households must rely on utility grids for power at night or in the winter when sunlight is limited.
ARE THERE SUPPORT OPTIONS FOR SOLAR?
If you’re still hesitant about the costs of solar, don’t worry- there are a lot of helpful resources out there to help you along the way. There are several local, state and federal programs that assist property owners with the installation of solar panels. Some programs, like the MASS Solar Loan Program, offers low-interest loans that help with the high initial costs of installing a photovoltaic (PV) system on your home. Interest rates can be lower than 3%, and the loan amount can range between $3,000 and $60,000, which is more than enough to offset the initial costs of installation.
Massachusetts homeowners also benefit from federal tax credits that allow you deduct up to 26% of the costs of installation of PV systems from your taxes. Massachusetts property owners can also receive a 15% state solar tax credit, which will reduce your state income tax. You also don’t have to worry about any taxes because there are zero sales or property taxes that are applicable to solar panels.
As the owner of a solar-powered home, you can also benefit from net metering, which allows you to sell any excess electricity your home produces back to a selection of energy companies (Eversource, National Grid, or Until). This allows you save even more money on your electricity bill, and perhaps even generate some passive income.
IS SOLAR RIGHT FOR YOU?
Whether solar energy is right for you is entirely dependent on your property’s features, as well as your personal needs and financial situation. We have summed up a few reasons to go solar, and believe that it’s a sound, long-term investment that can save money and raise the value of your property. Sure, it’s nice to help the environment, but more importantly, it’s even better to do so if it means that you get to save money, generate passive income, and sell your property for an even higher value. You also have many support options to assist you with the high initial costs, and the future of solar is looking ever brighter as the technology improves and looks better thanks to companies like Tesla. There’s no telling when the bad energy policy will cease, so it’s important to find ways to make your properties free from the unpredictable nature of the current energy policy landscape.
Published February 16, 2023