Are Solar Panels Worth it in Texas

Are Solar Panels Worth It In Texas

Solar panels can be a great investment, especially if you live in a warm climate that gets lots of sunlight. For this reason, Texas homeowners can really benefit from installing solar panels on their property. While this may be a bit of an investment at first, the savings on your electric bill will pay back that cost in no time! Other benefits include increasing your home value and reducing your environmental footprint. 

Solar Power for Your Home

Solar power involves installing solar panels on your property or the rooftop of your home. These panels can then convert sunlight into electricity that can power some or all of the electrical appliances in your home, depending upon the amount of solar power collected and the energy needs of your household. Typically, there is a decent installation cost involved, so it is important for you as a homeowner to do the proper research before making any final decisions, as benefits can vary based on your home or geographic location.

How Solar Power Works

The technology behind solar power is referred to as photovoltaic (PV) solar technology. It has actually been around since the 1950s but was not cost-effective for mass-market use until more recently. Solar energy is first collected by the solar panels and then converted from direct current (DC) energy to alternating current (AC) energy by an inverter. Solar energy cannot be used to power the devices in your home until it has been converted to AC energy.

When it comes to solar panel size, the size of the panel is quoted based on the theoretical or potential electrical power output in watts. It’s important to note, though, that the average output for a solar energy system only weighs in at around 15%-30% of the theoretical output. 

Does Solar Power Actually Save You Money?

Solar panels do help to save you money. When you utilize solar energy, you are able to significantly cut costs on your electrical bill. After you’ve saved enough money on your bills to recoup your electrical costs, your solar power savings become even greater! Besides saving you money, there are some other key benefits to utilizing solar energy in your home.

Advantages of Solar Power

Of course, the number one advantage of implementing solar power is to save money on your energy bill. There are some additional considerations involved here, though. Firstly, you will need to take a look at the solar irradiation levels that are available in your property’s geographic location. For instance, if you are closer to the equator, this is generally better. In addition to this, it is important to take into account the orientation of your home and the solar panels. A south-facing roof void of any obstructions is the way to maximize your solar energy intake. If you are not able to set up your panels in this way, you could also mount your panels on external supports to install them away from the house. This, however, will incur additional installation fees for the cords, cables, and supports.

You may even be able to make money from implementing solar energy, rather than simply saving money. This can be done by selling back extra solar energy and electricity to the grid or power company. In the United States, this is done through something called net metering plans. A net metering plan works by having residential consumers use the power they put into the grid– when the rate of electricity from the solar energy system is greater than the household electricity consumption – to offset the energy that is used at other times. The exact regulations for net metering may vary based on location, so it is important that you research your local regulations to be sure you fully understand.

In addition to saving or making money, you can also increase the overall property value of your house if you decide to install a solar power system. This can lead to you making money when or if you go to sell your home. Plus, buying a home already outfitted with solar panels saves the buyers money in installing it themselves. Due to the benefits and the positive correlation that comes with having solar panels, your home can have a greater appeal to potential buyers. In fact, houses that have a solar energy system sell about 20% faster than homes without. 

With the rise in “green living” and more eco-friendly lifestyles– such as eating or commuting habits– many more are looking into solar power as an energy option. It can help you to reduce your carbon footprint by using less energy, and this is another reason why your property may appeal to buyers if you put it on the market. Solar energy is also an electricity option that is powered by renewable energy sources, unlike the other electric options on the market– another reason that it is a more environmentally friendly option. 

  • Lower your carbon footprint
  • Sell back excess energy via net metering plans
  • Save money on electrical bills
  • You may be eligible for certain tax breaks

Disadvantages of Solar Power

As with any appliance or new implementation, there are also some drawbacks to consider when deciding on a solar energy system. One of the biggest disadvantages that energy companies are still working to combat is the cost of installation and maintenance. Installing solar panels can be costly in regards to the manpower and supplies involved. In addition, certain parts of the system may need to be replaced every few years. The savings that you gain from your solar energy system will add up, however, and can eventually cover the money you spent on installation. 

There is also the maintenance involved with solar panels to be taken into consideration. It is important to be sure that you are maintaining the system properly and frequently enough so that the efficiency of your solar panels is not affected. For instance, the buildup of dirt, dust, or grime on the panels can reduce their effectiveness and the level of solar energy that they are able to collect. Depending on your location and climate, you may have to clean and maintain the system more frequently than in other areas. Typically, this is something that you would hire a professional to do, so there is a cost involved with maintenance. 

Of course, solar energy also only works when the sun is out. If the sun is out or there is a significant cloud cover, your solar panels will be unable to collect a significant amount of solar energy. This directly affects the electrical output of the system, the number of solar panels you will need to power your appliances, and how much solar power you are able to use vs regular electrical power. Some areas with less direct sunlight may need to seriously consider this, as it could have a significant impact on their solar energy system implementation plans.

  • High cost of installation and maintenance
  • Frequent maintenance may be needed
  • Solar power only works if the sun is out
  • Parts may need to be replaced every few years

Costs of Solar Power

The cost of installing a solar power system can be a bit high, but this cost can be recouped by the savings you will see on your electrical bill. A few factors are involved when it comes to this price, including the number of solar panels that you will need and the rate of labor in your area. Generally, in Texas, it costs about $2.69 per watt for solar panels. If you are installing a solar energy system of 5 kW– the average size of a solar panel system– installation costs can come in between $11,432 to $15,468. 

Calculating Your Solar Power Costs

In order to calculate your solar power costs, you will need to first determine the number of kilowatts you need for your home. This will help you to figure out the number of solar panels you will need. The higher the number of kilowatts you need, the more solar panels your system requires. There are many templates online where you can plug in your numbers and have your calculations done for you automatically, or you could choose to calculate this manually.  

Financing Solar Power

You could choose to pay cash for your solar power system, of course, but if this is not feasible for you, there are still other options! The first is to finance your solar power installation through a personal loan. Most personal loan options are unsecured. This means that you do not need to secure the loan with collateral. This means that you will not risk losing your home, for example, if you miss your payments. However, due to this, the interest rate of the loan will likely be higher than some of your other options. Those with high credit scores will most likely be offered some of the lowest possible interest rates, while those with poor credit scores should specifically seek out personal loans for bad credit. 

You could also look into a government loan. For instance, the PowerSaver loan– offered through the Federal Housing Administration– assists homeowners with financing energy-saving upgrades for their property. This option does have a certain set of requirements, such as a debt to income ratio of 45% and a credit score of at least 660.

A third option is a home equity loan. This entails borrowing money from the equity in your home or property. Generally, the bank will finance up to 85% of the equity in your home. If your home is worth $300,000, for example, and you only owe $200,000, this leaves you with $100,000 in equity. If this is the case, the bank will usually lend you up to $85,000 for a home equity loan. One of the advantages of a home equity loan is that they typically have a low-interest rate. The reason for this is that the bank is already using your home as collateral and because of this, they know that they will not lose the money that they are loaning you. However, you should think carefully before you use your home as collateral for any sort of loan. 

In Summary

Whether or not you choose to install solar panels may depend on your budget and your location. For instance, in Texas, there is plenty of direct sunlight, so a solar energy system can be a great choice! It’s important to make your decision wisely, as this is a long-term investment and can be more expensive upfront. However, the energy savings and other advantages can make a solar energy system the perfect addition to your property. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you really save money with solar panels?

Yes, you do save money by using solar panels. Using solar panels means that you are using less electricity, which can save you money– you can also increase your home value by installing solar panels, so you make more money when selling your home. You can use solar power to create energy for household appliances like refrigerators, air-conditioners and simple electronics.

Does solar make sense in Texas?

There are several benefits for Texas homeowners who decide to install solar panels on their property. Not only can you lower energy bills, but you can also improve the resale value of your home, lower your carbon footprint, provide power and security in case of outages, and increase your energy independence.

Do solar panels increase home value in Texas?

Solar panels do increase the value of a home. In Texas, it is estimated that each watt can add about $3 to a home’s property value. It has also been observed that homes that are outfitted with solar panels sell, on average, 20% faster than homes without solar power.

How much does it cost to get solar panels in Texas?

Pricing is dependent upon factors such as solar panel power and size. In Texas, the average cost for solar panels is about $2.69 per watt. Based on the average solar energy system size of 5 kW, installation costs average around $11,432 to $15,468.