How long do solar panels take to pay for themselves?

How long do solar panels take to pay for themselves?

One of the biggest questions people have about installing solar panels is ‘how long will my solar panels take to pay for themselves?’ In technical terms, this can be called system payback time

As the cost of electricity rises and solar panel prices fall, it may take less time than you think to recoup the cost of a solar system. Some solar panel installation experts estimate it can take as little as six to 10 years to recoup the initial investment.

Thanks to federal rebates, and net metering, there are many ways that solar panels can save you money, especially over a long period of time.

The best way to calculate how long it takes to achieve system payback is to consider three variables:

  • Up-front cost of the solar panel system
  • Incentives that reduce that initial cost (such as state or federal rebates)
  • Ongoing savings from net metering

 

What rebate incentives are available for solar panel installation?

Without considering net metering, there are also other incentives that can greatly affect the cost of the solar panels.

In California, the cost of solar has dropped over the last 5 years, so SCE and SDG&E no longer offer upfront rebates to install solar panels on your home (other than some specific low-income and multi-family programs).

But there is still good news. In late 2015, Congress approved the 2016 federal spending bill and extended the solar panel tax credit. The bill contained a 5-year solar tax credit extension, which makes solar more affordable for all Americans. The tax credit is now available to homeowners in some form through 2021.

Here is the breakdown:

  • 2016 – 2019: Tax credits remains at 30 percent of the cost of the system. This means that in 2018, you can still get a major discounted price for your solar panel system.
  • 2020: Owners of new residential and commercial solar panel systems can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2021: Owners of new residential and commercial solar panel systems can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.
  • 2022 onwards: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. After 2022, there is (currently) no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.

 

How does net metering for solar panels work?

Electricity is sold and measured in kilowatt hours (kwh). A kilowatt-hour is the equivalent of 1,000 watts of electricity used continuously for an hour. In 2016, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,766 kilowatt-hours (kWh), an average of 897 kWh per month, or approximately 29 kWh per day.

When a solar panel system produces more power than what is being used in the home, the excess power is sent back to the grid. This is then credited by your utility provider at the retail power rate per hour. This is known as net metering.

Each kWh of power your solar system exports offsets the cost of another kWh drawn from the grid at a time your solar system couldn’t produce power (at night or on cloudy days).

Net Metering 2.0 makes a few minor changes to California’s original net metering policy, but it preserves the key element that makes solar economical for California residents: retail rate bill credits. Homeowners and businesses that enroll in NEM 2.0 will still receive per-kWh credits for their solar electricity that are equal to the value of a kWh of utility electricity. This means that the economics of solar are still very favorable under NEM 2.0.

Net metering can prove to be a very valuable incentive since a lot of homeowners use less power during the day. Therefore quite a lot of the solar power generated can be exported back to the grid.

Net metering essentially gives you the financial benefit of storing solar power in a virtual battery without the cost of needing to install a battery.

In summary, the sooner a homeowner decides to install solar panels, the more ability they have to save via rebates.

This is just one more reason, above and beyond the environmental factors that encourage many people to choose solar panels for their home.

 

G C Electric Solar is widely known as one of the best solar panel installers in San Diego. We employ experienced engineers to perform our solar installations, to ensure that your system will be installed according to the highest quality of workmanship available in the industry. We custom design each project based on your needs and pay close attention to all details. Call us today to learn more about our Solar panel systems and how we can help you.

solar panels environmental benefits

What are the Environmental Benefits of Solar Panels?

One of the main reasons that people want to look at installing solar panels is to save money. However, for others, a big reason is that they believe it will have a positive impact on the environment, and the future generations of the planet.

It is true that solar panels have both financial and environmental benefits, and here are some significant ways that solar panels are having a positive impact on the environment.

Fossil Fuels still create most of our electricity supply

Did you know that approximately over 60 percent of the electricity generated in the United States comes from fossil fuels?

When burned, these traditional energy sources are used to produce electricity. However, they simultaneously produce substantial amounts of greenhouse gasses. These are gasses that get released into the atmosphere and trap heat within the earth’s atmosphere. The most prominent of these gasses is carbon dioxide.

As well as this, the way that fossil fuels are extracted from the earth can be devastating for the local environment. Practices such as strip mining, drilling, and fracking all have negative impacts on the local environment. For example:

  • Strip mining leaves ecosystems more vulnerable to catastrophic flooding.
  • Drilling can unearth toxic minerals and also contaminate fresh groundwater.
  • Fracking for natural gas releases toxic chemicals and minerals into the surrounding area and can cause seismic events.

In addition to these extraction processes, searching for oil can have its own negative effects. Seismic techniques for searching for oil under the ocean floor can do serious harm to fish and marine life, not to mention when there are oil leaks, such as the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010.

In contrast, the benefits of solar panels do the reverse to the environment. They provide clean, efficient energy, using a resource that is not reducing the resources of the planet.

Here are three significant environmental benefits of solar panels:

Solar panel technology reduces air pollution

Generating electricity with solar panels produces no greenhouse gasses. The current solar capacity currently installed across the United States offsets as much as 16.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. This is a massive step towards mitigating the human impact of climate change.

Solar energy reduces water pollution

Most power plants today need a significant amount of water to produce steam to spin turbines and cool down the system afterward. The amount of water used in the process makes up almost half of all freshwater withdrawals in the United States, which adds up to billions of gallons every day.

This is one of the biggest, yet least talked about the environmental benefits of solar panels. Solar photovoltaic cells don’t need water to generate electricity. Solar energy creates no pollution of local water sources and does not strain domestic supplies through the competition with agriculture, drinking systems, and other vital water needs of each community.

Solar technology reduces the need for finite resources

The sun is the world’s most abundant energy source, creating an incredible 173,000 terawatts of solar energy every second. To put that into perspective, that is more than 10,000 times the world’s total combined energy use! Best of all, this resource is renewable, meaning it doesn’t deplete after one use.

In contrast, all fossil fuels are non-renewable, meaning once they are used, they can’t be reused a second time. While fossil fuels seem in abundance today, it’s a fact that they will deplete and eventually run out.

The financial and environmental cost of finding and extracting fossil fuels is proving very expensive. Solar energy is the opposite, the more we use it, the less it costs us. It actually begins to reward us for using it over time, through healing the environment and lowering energy costs.

If you are looking to work with the best solar company in San Diego, look no further than G C Electric Solar. We are a San Diego Solar Panel installer with years of experience. We employ experienced engineers to perform our solar installations, to ensure that your system will be installed according to the highest quality of workmanship available in the industry. We custom design each project based on your needs and pay close attention to all details. Call us today to learn more about our Solar panel systems and how we can help you.

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First LG CHEM Battery Backup System in the U.S.

On July 2017, G C Electric Solar has installed the first LG Chem fully automated battery back up system for Fisk the residences in Tierra Santa.G C Electric Solar is a certified LG CHEM battery back up system (Energy Storage) installer and has been installing LG CHEM battery backup systems in San Diego since. The first battery backup system was shipped to the job site directly from New York.
LG CHEM Battery Backup System


G C Electric Solar is a solar panel contractor in San Diego. We use our experience in helping to solve the energy crisis that many are experiencing. Our experienced engineers and solar panel installers to ensure that your system will be installed according to the highest quality of workmanship available in the industry. We custom design each project based on your needs and pay close attention to all details. 
Call us today to learn more about our Solar panel systems and how we can help you.

solar panel installer san diego

Five Questions to ask before installing Solar Panels

Solar panels can be an excellent way to save money, and contribute to the clean energy movement. They are a new technology that requires a professional installation. For this reason, you want to be sure to have all your questions answered before you decide.

To help you, here are five important questions most of our customer ask us before they install solar panels.

What solar panel system size will give me the best return?

Sizing a solar panel system is a lot more complicated than looking at your bill and figuring out what will generate enough electricity to cover your usage.

The solar panel installer needs to understand 
when you use electricity in your home, not just how much you use.

An estimate can also decide how much you will export, and how much you will import. This will help to make a good estimate of your savings.


Why have you chosen your panel supplier?

Most solar installers will have a preference for a particular supplier or group of suppliers.  They may have an affiliation with a product manufacturer or supplier (or several).

The longer a solar panel installer has worked with one supplier, the better their knowledge of how the products will perform over time. They will also have a better their understanding of how the manufacturer and supplier respond to any warranty claims.

In the solar panel industry, it is a challenge to balance between quality and price while also remaining competitive. Solar companies that are constantly changing their supplier may not be the best fit for your needs.


How long is the product warranty on the solar panels?

The majority of solar panels on the market will feature a 25-year warranty (sometimes known as a performance guarantee). In most cases, this offers you a guaranteed electrical production for 10 years at 90% of rated power output and 25 years at 80%.

Be aware that some solar installers could claim that you need to get your system regularly (usually every two years) serviced by their company in order for your warranty to still be valid. It is important to read the fine print in the guarantee before signing.


How much will you pay up-front for solar panels?

There are all sorts of different solar panel offers available today, and the payment structure will usually vary.

In some instances, you may purchase your system outright, paying the full cost up-front. There are also both loan and lease or Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) options where you can pay $0 down and have your system installed.

There are also ‘in-between’ options that allow you to pay a partial amount up-front, and save money later on.

Generally speaking, the more you pay up-front, the more you will save in the long run, and purchasing your system outright will usually save you the most money.


Can you show me what affects the system will have on my bill?

This metric will depends on many factors, including your hours of use and what kind of payment plan you have set up.

Typically your installer should have some date to share about what costs are to be expected.  

At G C Electric Solar, we use our experience in helping to solve the energy crisis that many are experiencing. We employ experienced engineers and solar installers to ensure that your system will be installed according to the highest quality of workmanship available in the industry. We custom design each project based on your needs and pay close attention to all details.  Call us today to learn more about our Solar panel systems and how we can help you.

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Escondido Sunport Project!

This Week G C Electric Solar Started construction on the only Parking Sunport in Escondido historical district.

This Custom made one of the kind structure will improve visibility and create shade for Vitally motors of Escondido and will also save the dealership thousands of dollars per month..

Project set to complete on November of 2015.