Posted: Tuesday, 9/27/16 @ 11am EST
Updated Wednesday, 1/13/2020 @ 12:00 PM EST
As you may already know, installing a solar panel system for your home is good for the environment, but it has always been thought of as expensive to install and maintain. The reality is that the costs associated with installing and maintaining such a system are falling every year. Over the last decade, solar photovoltaic systems have become an increasingly efficient, affordable, and easy to maintain alternative source of electricity.
So, are solar panels expensive to maintain? Or are solar panels low-maintenance? In this blog we will get into what it takes to invest in solar energy, how much to maintain solar panels over their lifetime of providing your home with free, renewable energy, and a few extra solar tips.
The Cost of Solar Installation
The primary costs for solar electricity are those associated with products and installation. Converting a residential home to a solar residential home can run the owner an average of $35,000-$50,000 depending on what kind of system is purchased and how large their estimated energy needs are. Keep in mind, with a 26% federal tax credit, Massachusetts' SMART incentives, and net metering, payback is usually within 3-7 years.
Boston Solar now also guarantees your solar system’s energy production or we will pay you the difference!
The Current Cost of Electricity
To better compare solar electricity costs, it's important to consider what people are paying for traditional electricity. Understandably, the price of electricity varies from state to state, but it is still helpful to think about nationwide averages. The average price per kWh is highest in Hawaii at ~$0.2872 per kilowatt hour (kWh), and the lowest in Louisiana at $0.0771 kWh. The average U.S. household pays $0.1054 kWh, for an average monthly electricity use of 877kWh, with a bill of $92.44 before taxes and fees.
In Massachusetts, the average price per kWh is now $0.1840, making an average electric bill about $161.37, over one and a half times the national average. (Updated 1/11/21; Source: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/).
Solar energy can offset these costs tremendously. When Boston Solar evaluates homes, we take a look at the roof (pitch & azimuth) and your electricity bill and are seeking to offset your electricity costs as close to 100% as possible.
Solar Panel Maintenance Costs
A properly installed system has little to no solar maintenance costs. Over the course of its 25-30 year average life, there are only a few ongoing costs associated with the system as a whole. Examples of these costs could be monitoring issues, wire maintenance (maybe a squirrel ate through a wire), adding snow guards, or the inverter is not communicating. A quick call to Boston Solar will help you evaluate whether or not this would require us to be on site.
Cleaning Your Panels
Solar panels generally have a 1-2% degrading factor per year depending on climatic conditions and can suffer up to an 8% production discount from soiling effects (this is noted on all datasheets for solar panels and what the 25 year warranty will cover over this time period).
Worried about solar panel cleaning? The great thing is, solar panels are basically self-cleaning. 1-foot snow storm yesterday? Don't worry, the sun shines and melts the snow, and your panels are back to producing.
However, if you are concerned about maintenance, Boston Solar offers yearly maintenance plans to its customers that can also be packaged with a solar system purchase.
Solar Installation is a Sound Investment
Anyone who has considered going solar or who has gone solar consider the initial capital and subsequent negligible maintenance costs of a solar panel system to be worth the investment. Although there is an initial upfront investment (financing options are available), technology advancements and increasingly available and efficient equipment decrease these costs every day.
As new systems are designed to be even more energy efficient and last longer than 30 years, the kWh cost will continue to decrease, and it will continue to be a practical way to enjoy consistent and reliable green energy.
Convinced on the lifetime productivity of a new solar PV system for your home? For proper solar installation with low maintenance, call Boston Solar at 617-858-1645 or get a quote here.