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Domestic Solar Panel Resources, Guides and Plans

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~ Updated September 24, 2013

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About Me

My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the this site to help regular home owner’s like me make their own

energy at home. For more info about me check out the about page here. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest.

Are They Worth It?

If you're trying to figure out
are solar panels worth it, then this short article is going to answer all of your questions as well as give you a better understanding of the current developments in domestic solar power. For starters it's important to understand exactly what it is you're measuring up when you weighing the pros and cons.

Domestic solar panels are now cheaper than ever due to the huge advances in the development and manufacture of cheap solar panels specifically for the DIY domestic market.

Previously, when you were thinking are solar panels worth it, your only option was to buy them from a solar company or franchise at a cost of around $10,000 - $20,000. A few years ago, paying out this ridiculous
solar panel cost was really the only option for eco friendly homes. Going by these prices, it wouldn't make sense for you to buy and install solar panels for your home. But, now the game has changed and all of the best solar panels are now available for public purchase.

Solar Panel Payback Calculators

To really figure out for sure if solar panels are worth it you need to do a solar panel payback calculation.

There are many online solar power calculators out there, but beware as most of them try to lead you into buying their own products, usually of the old dinosaur expensive franchise variety, which may not necessarily be the most efficient solar panels.

The ones to watch out for are the ones which ask for your zip code and / or personal details because what they're really trying to do is add you to their mailing list to hammer you with sales calls and door-to-door solar sales people.

How To Decide If Solar Panels Are Worth It

To find out if solar panels are really worth it all you need to do is work out a rough estimate of the payback time, the time it will take for the cost savings in energy to recoup the cost of the
solar roof panels you intend to buy.

Here's what you need to know; your current electricity usage in kWh. Your electricity supplier should be able to give you this info. It'll also be on your bill most of the time. For the sake of this estimate you can use the U.S. National average electricity cost of $9.52 per kWh to find out exactly how much your electricity costs you.

Continued below…

Above: an example calculation of energy costs and savings

Now, here's the tricky part, finding out a reliable figure for the energy output of the solar system you intend to install.

Now, here's the thing, if any panel or system doesn't have this information clearly available on their website it's best to disregard it.

Transparency is a big deal for consumers nowadays, so if any company asks you to make an enquiry they're, once again, just trying to get your details to try and make a pushy sale.

The information you want is not the output of the unit, it's the average user output over a monthly or yearly period from actual usage. The output figure is misleading because it assumes a constant supply, not taking into account night time, seasons and weather conditions. Try to get real data in actual kWh output.

Once you've got this information all you need to do is figure out the yearly energy savings of your proposed unit. For example, if the data you have for unit output in kWh is a daily or monthly figure simply multiply it by 365 or 12 respectively to get an annual output and then multiply it by the National average electricity cost (as above $9.52) to get your total energy savings for the unit.

The result is the total cost saving of the unit per year. Simply divide the total price of the unit by this figure to find out how many years it would take to pay for itself. This will tell you if solar panels are worth it for your needs.

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Solar Panel Payback Calculation