Millions of Americans are going solar. More than just a niche interest, solar energy has become an increasingly affordable option for most homeowners. Solar panels and installation costs are dropping year after year.

You’ve probably heard rumors of homeowners slashing their utility bills and pumping electricity back into the grid. The truth is that the amount of money you’re going to save with solar energy all depends on where you live, how much you’re currently spending on electricity, how much you pay in taxes, and how much you intend to pay for the solar energy system. Installing solar panels in your home could completely eliminate your electricity costs or cut down your bill anywhere from 10 to up to 90 percent.

Are there financial incentives to install solar?
In addition to the money you can save on electricity, the US federal government offers a renewable-energy tax credit of 30%. Depending on how much you pay in taxes, the federal government will reduce your tax bill by up to 30% if you make the switch to solar energy. For
example if you owe $10,000 in taxes and you spend $20,000 on solar panels, you can receive a tax credit of up to $6,000. Every case is different. The 30% tax credit does not work like a traditional rebate. It will only affect the amount you end up paying in taxes to the federal government.

For more information, use the Solar-Estimate Calculator to find out how much solar energy can save you on electricity. The Solar-Estimate Calculator incorporates factors such as the local climate, federal and state tax credits, and the position of your home in relation to the sun (a southward facing roof is ideal).
With all of that in mind, let’s get down to the basics of utilizing solar power in your home.

First Reduce before you produce!
While installing solar is an excellent way to eliminate your utility bill, it’s important that you do everything you can to reduce your energy consumption first. It is our professional opinion that performing energy upgrades in your home before adding solar will enhance your comfort, safety and reduce the cost of solar. For example, if you invest in solar panels without first replacing your existing, inefficient, air conditioner, sealing your home including your ductwork, and insulating your attic – you will be buying more solar panels than you really need. Once you have completed these upgrades to your home, you may reduce your energy consumption by more than 35%. This means you may have needed a 20-panel system prior to the changes and after you may only need 14!!! This would bring your cost of solar down considerably.

If your solar energy cancels out your utility bill that used to be $250.00 and your monthly payment for your solar is only $200.00 a month, you are retaining $50.00 a month back into your household income! When you factor in the annual U.S. inflation rate of 3.22%, your energy savings over a 10-year timeline have the potential to exceed your wildest expectations. That’s a lot of extra money in your pocket!

How Much Solar Do I need to install?
You will need to decide first if you would like to completely eliminate your bill or just reduce it to a lower ‘tier’. You can look at your utility bill to find your kilowatts (kW) used. Simply divide that number by 365 (the amount of days in a year) to get your average daily use. Divide this number by 5.5 (California’s sun hours).

Example: your home uses 10,000 kW per year. Divide this amount by 365, which should equal 27.3 average kW per day. Divide this by the average sun hours 5.5 – To eliminate your usage by 100% you would need a 4.9kW system.

How Long Does Solar Installation Take?
Installing solar panels usually only take a few days. This all depends on the size of your system, the solar energy company you choose and the style of your roof. The time frame may also depend on your municipality and utility company’s requirements.

How Often Do Solar Panels Need to Be Replaced and Maintained?
A quality solar energy system will usually last many years, in fact most top-quality panel manufacturers guarantee a panel output of 85% for 25 years. Our solar equipment is backed by a 25-year linear performance warranty. There is little to no maintenance required for solar panels. A simple spray of the hose once a year should be enough to keep your solar panels in excellent working condition.

What if the Power Goes Out?
Unfortunately, solar panels are designed to only generate power when the grid is up and running. If a power failure were to happen, the solar systems would back feed into the power grid causing an unsafe environment for utility workers. However, there are battery backup systems that can be easily installed. These systems store power and automatically use the batteries when the power fails. However these backup batteries are not designed to hold large amounts of electricity. If the power goes out, a backup battery would only be able to power the lights and a few appliances in your home for a couple of hours.

A-1 Guaranteed Heating & Air, Inc offers Whole House Energy Reduction packages as well as Premium Solar Energy Installation services and upgrades. Be sure to ask about our Solar Energy Financing options. Now is the time to gain your energy independence by installing solar panels on your home. Call for a free, no obligation in-home estimate today and reduce your carbon footprint, or learn more about our solar energy services here.