Five ways to reduce the payback period of your solar panels

Francisco CastroMay 20, 2019 2606 0

Five ways to reduce the payback period of your solar panels

When you decide to go solar, one of the first things you’ll ask is how soon those solar panels and equipment will be free. That is, how long before the electricity savings will match the costs associated with the installation of a home solar energy system. 

Much depends on the size of the project and how many peak sun hours you get in a day in the region where you live, but on average it takes 6-8 years to recuperate that cost.

There are, however, some ways to shorten this time.

Pay in cash

Christ Joosee writes on a blog devoted to solar power questions that for him it was paying out of pocket for his domestic solar power system instead of financing that did part of the trick.

“For context, in that year I bought a new car, and 6.4kw on my rooftop. Financing the car was a matter of a few minutes, at a rate of 2%APR. The dealer had their own in-house financing arm, they took one look at my credit, and it was simple as hell. But financing a solar array that cost about the same as the car? Took weeks for the local credit union to get back to me, and they wanted 13% and a lien on my house,” he writes. 

“Because I could do it without financing, I paid cash. In doing so, I shortened the payback period of my system substantially- cutting it by more than half,” he adds.

When you use your own money, you won’t have to face high interest that you also have to cover with the energy savings.

Invest in top quality solar equipment and labor

By choosing only top quality equipment and an experienced installer you’ll be guaranteeing that your domestic solar power system is producing the most energy. 

If you have a choice between a more affordable but modest solar energy system and a more expensive one, opting for the latter one will mean higher upfront costs, but also biggest returns down the line. Also, Tier 1 panels will carry better warranties and are backed up by more reliable research and development, important in case of a failure in your installation. It will be easier and cheaper to replace faulty equipment. 

Make the most of Net Metering

Take advantage and send as much power as you can to the grid so that those credits overshadow the electricity you purchase from the utility at night. Make sure your residential solar panels are able to produce as much, and if possible, more than the energy you need during the day. Talk to your installer about this. 

If you don’t know what the correct size of your solar power system should be, you can easily find out with the Hahasmart price checker. Just provide your address and your average monthly utility bill and you’ll get the actual price of solar panels and inverters - which are the most critical parts of a solar powered system - as well as provide you with an estimated cost of installation based on thousands of completed solar projects in your area. 

They’ll even provide you with an estimated buyback period, the point where the electricity savings achieved with your solar array cover the purchase of your residential solar panels and your system becomes free.

In addition, they’ll connect you with their installer network to get your residence equipped with solar power as possible.  

Eliminate all shade

Trim trees, clean your panels often and make sure there’s nothing blocking the sunshine they receive. The most power they can generate, the less time it will take for you to achieve the necessary savings that pay for your solar installation.

Depending on how much shade you get, you may be losing up to 20% of the energy your solar panels would be generating under ideal conditions. Clean them up once in a while to remove dust, pollen, bird droppings, and any other accumulation. 

Enforce energy savings procedures

Install LED lights, energy efficient appliances and turn off the lights when you leave a room, even small actions have a very big return on the long run.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), only 65% of the energy that reaches a household is utilized; 35% is wasted. 

Heating and air conditioning account for the biggest consumers of electricity in a home, followed by a washer and dryer, refrigerator and electric oven. 
But the real culprit of energy waste is often small devices called “vampire” appliance for “sucking” electricity even when they’re not in use. Among them are satellite DVRs and cable boxes, routers and modems, gaming consoles and television. If you’re not using them, unplug them. 

Once you take all these actions, you’ll know that you’re doing everything in your part to accelerate the point where your home solar power system is in fact yours and you’ll start reaping the free benefits of renewable energy for years (and even decades) to come. 

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