General Question

Shelby's avatar

How much money approximately can using solar panels save you per year?

Asked by Shelby (7points) March 30th, 2008

I’m working on my science project and I’m researching solar energy and solar panels. Unfortunately, I’ve been researching for a day or so, and I can’t seem to find this statistic. Can anyone help?

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4 Answers

cartmankid's avatar

the average person can save about 300–400 dollars in the California area but it changes in different areas but only slightly oh and when I say california Im only sure about San francisco and Sacramento. Not only can you save money with solar power you can earn because on the months you don’t use all of it you can sell it back to the your power company.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

When building a new home, you can easily wrap the cost of a solar system into your mortgage, making photovoltaic cost effective from day one. For a retrofit on an existing home, payback comes in 6–12 years (depending on incentives and electric rates), which translates into a return on investment of between 8–16%- far better than what you can earn in the stock, bond, or long-term CD markets. In the commercial sector, the numbers are even better. With federal tax incentives and accelerated depreciation, payback typically comes in 2–5 years, delivering a return on investment between 20–40%. Solar power substantially increases property value, too. In 1999, home value increases $20 for every $1 achieved in annual energy savings. This means that a 3kW system(average home system), can increase your property value by $20,000, while costing you only $18,000(with California rebates). You are up money from day one. More importantly, a PV system allows you to lock in utility rates at less tham $.14 per kWh for 30 years- and mnay expect that utility rates will skyrocket over the next three decades.

You may also want to check out passive solar design. This is a great way to heat and cool your home, using nothing but the sun. It is not a new idea. It has been around for centuries and was practiced by the ancient Greeks. The ancient Anasazi of the Desert Southwest also built some of their communities using passive solar design principles that allowed them to take full advantage of the low-angled winter Sun for warmth.

The savings over a 30-year period of passive solar design can be substantial. Gas prices have skyrocketed in the past 4 years, so the savings will only be greater.

Passive solar design is intelligent, climate-controlled design. If properly executed, it ensures that homes stay warm in the winter, and cool in the summer with little, if any, outside energy and with little, if any mechanical support from air conditioners or evaporative coolers. Year- round comfort happens because many of the measures that permit a house to be passively heated, such as insulation and proper orientation, also passively cool it. But thats not all.

Passive solar houses also provide a significant amount of light during the daytime, saving even more money on energy bills This strategy, known as daylighting, creates a more healthful environment and for this reason is often incorporated into offices, warehouses, schools, and factories. Daylighting has been shown to increase test scores in schoolchildren and productivity in the work environment.

There is no reason in the world that the entire US should not be 100% dependent on the Sun and the Sun only. It is something that every single person in the world can afford to use, if only people were educated about it.

The best source of information I have found on solar power so far, is the Real Goods Solar Living Source Book by John Schaeffer. It is a great read and also serves as a catalog for all sorts of alternative energy sources.

syz's avatar

Hmmm. So if you calculate energy savings through solar panels, calculate the cost of government subsidizing solar panels for home owners, and then compare that to the cost of exploration, drilling and building a pipeline in Alaska, I wonder which would be a more affordable option for recucing reliance on foreign oil.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

@ syz Thats a good question to ask but I would also consider the environmental benefits of solar power (it doesn’t matter if you believe in global warming/climate change or not, its whether or not your willing to risk the possible consequences proposed by immense numbers of scientists) , and not only that, but the huge job creation opportunity of solar manufacturing (not to mention other alternative energies like wind). especially at a time like this when the US economy is so low. Also, I think solar power is a bit more permanent than alaskan oil. Eventually, the alaskan oil will run out, but the sun, I guarantee,will rise every single day.

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