As illustrated above, cumulatively, over a 30 year useful life, the 5 kW system with the industry standard warranty of “25 years to 80% of initial output” will most likely underperform when compared to a 5 kW high efficiency system with “25 years to 87% of initial output”. Typically, the higher quality PV system, such as SunPower Equinox system will cost ~20% more. But as seen above, higher efficiency PV system will generate more energy by as much as $2800 or more, not require an inverter replacement, and pay for the price difference in solar energy generation.
Additional advantages of a higher efficiency system usually include smaller footprint, better and longer warranty, better aesthetics, and the peace of mind that comes with a more robust, professional solar panel construction.
Ultimately, it takes a $16,250 5 kW PV system 7-10 years to pay for itself (depending on the electric rate). With a 25 year warranty becoming an industry standard and maintenance costs being very low, a PV system pays for itself 3 times over its useful life. One will argue that higher quality components and craftsmanship are essential for capitalizing the long-term return.
What if I sell my house?
While in many cases the official added value of a home solar electric system may depend on local appraiser practices, the three following things are often the case:
The home will sell faster
The home will sell for more money
The solar system will be paid for by the property value increase
What are the financing tools and how does that affect the cost?
It’s no secret that financing costs money. However; it often makes good sense when it provides access to funding that generates revenue. Often the PV system helps to “make it’s own payment” by providing ever increasing savings on the electric bills, while the bank payment remains fixed. As the result, solar may be obtained with little or no increase in the homeowner’s budget.
Should I wait and see if the solar prices come down further?
Solar system prices have come down over the years and are still on the downward trend, but so are the solar incentives. By the time the solar costs come down another 30% it is likely that the 30% tax credit will sunset. As a result, the homeowners will not be getting the better deal - by waiting they will pay year's worth of electric bills aside from foregoing the substantial incentives savings. What that means is that the cost of doing nothing far exceeds any price advantages down the road.
Sum it up for me!
Size your system based on your electric bill - ~$80/month per 5kW (5000 Watts)
Price your system - ~$3.50/Watt
Calculate your Tax Credit (total system cost X 30%) and resulting net cost
Compare quotes based on lifecycle costs - in most cases the lowest bid is not justified
Have more questions about switching to solar? Our friendly and knowledgeable Gainesville solar installation professionals are ready to hear from you! Call Power Production Management at (888) 501-3890 today!