How much! That is what it comes down to with most things right? What is the overall cost and what do I save when I install a solar energy system. Well that is something we can tell you!
A solar array on your home is going to cost a little bit of money, we are after all essentially purchasing all your homes power for the next 25 years up front. So we should expect it to cost a little bit. However, it will 100% without a doubt save you loads in the long run. Lets do the math on an average mid-western home. Say 2600 Sq feet. 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 stall garage with a gas furnace and water heater. Electrical consumption is about 850 Kilowatt hours per month. A good average candidate for a solar array installed on their roof.
We will install thirty 325 watt solar panels that will produce all the energy the house consumes plus a little more. In fact about 114% of that initial 850 KWh is generated by this solar array. Initial cost for the array with full turn key installation is about $22,500 dollars.
I know, that is a lot up front but what is the actual cost over the life of the system? Well, before we can continue we need to add in a tax credit of 30% off the cost of the system. Reducing the solar investment by $6600 to just under $16000.
Now we can break down what this solar array will save this household in energy costs over the life of the solar array!
Over the next 25 years If they were to continue buying all your electricity from Xcel Energy - Minnesota, this household will SPEND $52,937! But if they go solar they will spend only $13,056 in electricity costs over the same period. How is that less than the $22,500 for the solar installation you are wondering? Well remember when I said we where producing 114% of what the household used. Well, Xcel has to pay you for the excess energy you create and give back to the grid. So it reduces the cost of the solar install even further!
Essentially this household would expect to pay about 25 cents per kWh used from Xcel Energy. With the solar array on their house the cost goes down to about 6 cents per kWh. Just imagine what you could do with your savings!
Here are some fun graphs showing the cost comparison of electrical bills for the next 25 years with and without this array and where the production comes from throughout the average year.
With this system and this households energy usage they can expect the break even at around year 8 mark and with a low interest rate loan for the cost of the system the bills will disappear in a lot less time than that.
So what is the real cost of solar? Not nearly as much as paying the utility!