Like with any other significant upgrade or improvement you might consider making to your home or building, it’s prudent to view solar panel installation as a long-term investment. While solar power installations will often come with up-front costs you need to be prepared for, there are also several factors to keep in mind over a period of time after you have solar panels installed, from how they help lower your monthly energy bill to the maintenance they require, other financial incentives they offer and a few others.
At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we’re happy to help with numerous areas of our residential or commercial solar power services in both Idaho and Utah, including helping prospective clients understand the precise numbers and details involved to ensure they’re making a good investment – both now and for the long run. What are the important variables to keep in mind while evaluating solar power from a return on investment (ROI) standpoint? Here’s a primer on each of them.
For somewhat obvious reasons, the cost of a solar power system will be very important to any home or building owner considering installing one. Costs for solar panels may come in a few different forms: Some companies will charge an up-front fee alone, others maintain low- or no-interest financing programs that allow clients to pay for their equipment over time, and still others will offer hybrid programs that have elements of both these concepts involved.
No matter what the case here, it’s important to view the cost of any solar power system within the lens of the other related factors – and that’s what we’ll be going over for the rest of this article to help you determine whether a given solar panel system you’re considering will be a worthwhile investment.
First and foremost, while nearly every solar power system will come with at least some warranty coverage, these are not created equal. The first factor to consider here is manufacturer warranty – this will sometimes be offered, but in most cases it will be relatively limited. Most manufacturer’s warranties only cover specific defects on the product that existed when it was installed, and will not cover any sort of damage or wear-and-tear that might take place on the panels once they’re in place.
The more important warranty to consider in most cases, however, is the one offered by your solar panel installer. It’s vital to be detailed and specific here: There are a few different components involved in a solar panel system, and some warranties only cover certain varieties while leaving others out. On top of this, you should be paying close attention to the number of years on the warranty and exactly what’s included – does it include full labor costs for any fixes that need to be made on the panels, or just the cost of materials? In some cases, certain parts will be covered for a given number of years, but certain others will have a different coverage length.
Durability and lifespan will also be very important factors for the quality of any solar power investment you’re making, and there are a few distinct variables to consider within these broader spheres. A particular factor that’s sometimes overlooked is known as degradation, or the rate at which a given solar panel or system of panels loses production capabilities over time.
While degradation doesn’t typically happen very quickly for modern solar panels, the effect is still there over a long period of time. Because panels sit exposed to the full range of elements, from rain and snow to major temperature changes, it’s unrealistic to expect them not to wear down.
However, working with the very best in the solar power world will help you limit your degradation risks significantly. At Intermountain, we use modern solar cells that are less prone to cracking or other wear-and-tear during normal operations – while we’d never claim our products are invincible, they tend to withstand degradation much longer than many other options.
Another huge factor in the quality of your solar investment: The efficiency of your system, which refers simply to the amount of energy your panels can create to help meet your power needs. The primary goal of a solar power system for many home and building owners is to reduce the energy portion of their monthly utility bill, and modern solar panels allow this goal to be carried out easily – in many cases, they can almost entirely replace your monthly power bill you pay to the electric company, instead providing you with your own self-created energy that’s sustainable and eco-friendly.
However, not all solar panels are of equal efficiency. Speak to our team for information on why our solar panels are particularly efficient.
Finally, for homeowners looking into solar panels, one major consideration with regard to investment quality is the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) that’s often available. This incentive, which was extended early this year, allows homeowners to get a tax credit on a percentage of the total cost of their solar panel system – for 2021 and 2022, this number is projected to remain at 26%, after which it will likely drop to 22%. This drop was originally planned for 2022, but has been delayed, making now a perfect time to consider solar panel installation, as you’ll be able to take advantage of the larger tax incentive.
For more on how to view solar panels as an investment, or to learn about any of our solar power services in Idaho or Utah, speak to the staff at Intermountain Wind & Solar today.
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