Tag Archives: Mother Earth News

is solar worth it

Are solar panels worth it?

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Like any major investment, installing a solar system is a big decision! But, as the cost of solar continues to decline and new energy bills make purchasing more attractive, this decision is becoming easier and easier: for most people, going solar now represents a smart long-term investment with substantial savings. However, before installing a solar panel system, you’ll want to make sure that you can take advantage of these benefits by first considering a few major factors. In this article, we’ll help you answer the question: “Should I get solar panels?”

Here are a few aspects of solar energy to think about before making an investment:

  • Do you own your home, or are you renting?
  • Will you sell your property in the next 10 years?
  • Is your roof suitable for solar panels?
  • How much do you spend every month on electricity?
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DIY solar panels: can you install solar panels yourself?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Going solar has major financial benefits: it reduces your monthly electricity costs and can even increase the value of your home. Incentives like the federal tax credit for solar can reduce your net cost by 26 percent, but solar is still a big investment, and the price tag can result in sticker shock. To save money, it’s no surprise that many homeowners are considering DIY and asking themselves “can you install solar panels yourself?” Simply put, yes you can—but, there are some advantages and disadvantages of doing it alone. For instance, it may not be the best route to take if you still need to rely on some utility energy, and installation can be very complicated without professional experience. In this article, we’ll break down the top pros and cons that you need to know about do-it-yourself solar panel systems before making a decision.

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key solar panel metrics

How long do solar panels last? Solar panel lifespan explained

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The industry standard for a solar panel’s productive lifetime is 25-30 years. However, a solar panel won’t die after 25-30 years, rather, their output will decrease a significant amount below what the manufacturer projected. It’s hard to understand the upfront cost of going solar without knowing how long you can expect your rooftop panels to produce ample energy. Your solar panels will be able to offset your electricity use for decades, but it is also important to understand industry projections and degradation rates. 

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solar vs wind

Solar energy vs. wind energy: which is right for you?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Installing a renewable energy system on your property is one of the best ways to save money on your electricity bills while reducing your impact on the environment. Often, your decision will be between solar energy and wind energy. If you’re a homeowner weighing your renewable energy options, you already know that thorough research is the best way to find the right system for your home. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of residential wind vs. solar so that you can make your decision with confidence.

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Understanding the solar panel payback period

How to calculate solar panel payback period (ROI)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The financial benefits of going solar are now well documented. Solar panel systems actually function as investments with strong rates of return, and homeowners generating solar electricity can avoid paying increased utility rates by eliminating their electricity bills. According to a 2015 report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, installing solar panels on your home can even increase your property values. If you’re reviewing multiple quotes, there are plenty of metrics that can help you make a decision about which solar option is best for you, but studies show most solar shoppers rely on one metric in particular: the solar panel payback period or break-even point.

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solar panels increase home value EnergySage

Solar power as a home improvement strategy

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When you make improvements to your home, it’s smart to take into consideration how they will impact your home’s value. The conventional wisdom from HGTV and home improvement magazines is that updating your kitchen, renovating your bathroom, or building an addition are the smartest ways to increase the value of your property. But there’s another home improvement that you may not realize adds to your property’s value: installing a solar energy system on your roof.

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solar as a retirement investment strategy

Solar power as a retirement investment strategy

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Establishing a secure financial future for your retirement requires that you explore a variety of options, but most homeowners don’t realize that installing a solar panel system can be one of the smartest retirement investment options available. By viewing a home solar panel system as an investment opportunity, homeowners can reduce or even eliminate their electricity bills, freeing up more than $1,000 in cash each year. With the increased availability of $0-down solar loans, homeowners that lack the cash required for an upfront purchase can still take advantage of solar as a retirement investment strategy.

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Grid tied vs. solar battery backup on EnergySage

Hybrid solar systems: which pairing of on and off-grid is right for you?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Solar offers more than just an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint. When you install solar panels on your roof, you are a step closer to taking your electricity production and consumption into your own hands. One of the biggest decisions solar shoppers have to make is whether to install a standard grid-tied solar energy system, a solar battery backup, or a hybrid solar system. Here’s everything that you should keep in mind when you’re comparing hybrid solar panels to typical grid-connection or off-grid options

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property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for solar

What is PACE financing for home solar power?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you want to install a solar energy system on your property, one of the first questions you’ve probably asked is, “How will I pay for it?” There are many financing options available today for homeowners who want to enjoy the benefits of solar. In many areas, an increasingly popular option for home energy improvements like solar is Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

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distributed generation

What is distributed power? The parallels between distributed energy and cell phones

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In 1994, only 10% of Americans had a cell phone. And yet, in 15 short years, more Americans had cell phones than landlines. While the rapid adoption of mobile phones can’t be attributed to a single factor, there is one major parallel between the transition from landlines to smart phones and what’s actively happening today in the electricity industry: the transition from a centralized system to a distributed (or decentralized) network.

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