How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels work by allowing photons (particles of light) to shake electrons free from atoms, which generates a flow of electricity.
Here’s a simple step-by-step look at how solar panels work:
- Sunlight shines down on the solar panels
- Photovoltaic (PV) cells located on your panels convert this sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity
- The DC electricity flows down to an inverter where it’s converted into alternating current (AC) electricity
- The panel sends electricity to whatever it is you’re powering
Don’t worry about all of that science, however. Solar panels, once installed, use the sun’s light to power your home. It really is that simple!
Can I Save Money With Solar Panels?
Yes! In California, when you’re paying a regular utility bill, electric companies often charge as much as $.21/kwh! When you switch to a solar panel system, you’ll pay as little as $.06/kwh – and that includes the cost of the panels themselves!
With $0 down, low monthly payments, and a 10-year warranty, solar power will cost less than your current electric bill.
How Long Does it Take for Solar Panels to Pay for Themselves?
Depending on the tax credits and other discounts you take advantage of, it typically takes between 7-20 years to cover the initial cost of your solar panel system. However, after 20 years the average savings can be as dramatic as $20,000! And don’t forget about the huge value you’re adding to your property by installing solar panels.
Do Solar Panels Add Value to a Home or Commercial Property?
A small solar panel system (around 3.1 kwh) adds an average of over $18,000 to the value of a medium-sized home in California. Adding larger solar panel systems to your property will only increase its value. For example, installing 5 kwh of solar panels adds an average of almost $30,000 to the value.
Additionally, new homes in California are required to be built with solar panels, leaving homes without them in the dust (and with a higher cost of ownership).
Are Solar Rebates and Tax Breaks Still Available for California Homeowners?
They are! While many of the popular rebates from the past are beginning to expire, there are many still available, including local municipal tax breaks and the Federal Investment Tax Credit. Learn more about solar rebates and tax credits available.
Is it Better to Buy or Lease Solar Panels?
It’s always better to buy solar panels instead of leasing them. Here’s why:
- Save more money. Leasing panels can cost as much as $.18/kwh. Compare that to $.06/kwh when you own your own solar panels.
- Receive tax credits and rebates. When you lease panels, the leasing company gets all the tax breaks. Remember: the owner of the solar panels gets the tax credits!
- Avoid poor lease terms. Your solar panel lease payments might balloon after a year or two. When you buy panels, you can finance and lock in a low, guaranteed monthly payment.
- Add value to your home. Leasing panels does not add any value to your home and can be tricky to transfer over to new homeowners if ever you do decide to sell.
Don’t trust anyone who says you should lease solar panels for your home. They’re not looking out for your best interests.