Is Putting on a Solar Roof Really Worth the Money?

by Ben SanfordMay 8, 2017

Making Sure a Solar Roof Is a Sound Investment

Whether you’ve heard it from a friend, a neighbor, an architect, or a solar sales company, it’s easy to be enticed by the pitch: “solar installations save money.” It’s true; solar panel installations do offer long-term rewards and benefits, but it’s equally important to weigh the costs of this long-term investment.

Before you jump on the solar energy train for your home roof, utilize our guide to help decide whether or not putting a solar roof on your home is worth the money.

Measure Your Current Electricity Usage

Before you invest in solar energy, start with what you know. Gather the past year’s worth of electricity bills, and asses your current cost of electricity. According to Seattle City Light Engineer Armand Shabazian, “Knowing the cost of your current electricity bill is the easiest way to determine how much, or how little, money you can save by opting for solar energy.” This is indeed true: electricity costs are distilled to cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and those with higher cents-to-kWh ratios should seriously consider the benefits of a solar roof.

For the homeowner, it’s important to know that electricity costs vary greatly by state and utility company. But regardless of location, those who have the highest electricity costs stand to benefit the most from installing a solar power roof. Here’s why: solar roofs serve as mini power plants where your home can source its electricity. And if you’re sourcing energy from your own home, rather than from an outside company, you can save on paying astronomical electricity rates.

Consider Your Solar Financing Options

If you’re new to the world of solar energy, it’s important to weigh your solar energy financing options. Most homeowners considering a solar roof face three options: an outright purchase, a solar loan, or a solar energy lease.

If you can afford the up-front costs, purchasing a solar roof in cash will save you the greatest amount of money on your electricity bills. But even if you can’t afford to make a cash purchase, a solar loan can still save you tens of thousands of dollars as a long-term investment for your home.

With Solar, Be Sure to Factor in Locality

Another essential element for homeowners thinking of going solar: think locally. While solar energy attracts buyers for its global carbon footprint benefits, it’s important to factor your location in when you weigh the pros and cons of investing in a solar roof.

For starters, the cost of a solar roof installation differs depending on location. Additionally, in some regions, local municipalities and government organizations offer tax incentives for solar energy usage. Tax incentive benefits shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Even in states such as New Jersey and Massachusetts that experience cold and cloudy seasons, as opposed to other states known for their bright sunny months (think California), local incentives can provide over $30,000 worth of savings for homeowners with high electricity costs.

Spend Less on Your Electricity Bill by Going Solar

If you’re paying high electricity usage costs and you’re able to secure advantageous solar financing options, investing in a solar roof can reap great benefits for you as a homeowner.
As long as you’re aware of the up-front costs, and you can keep your eye on the long-term prize of energy cost savings, solar energy panels are a great way to save money.

Curious to see how much money a solar roof can save you? Start by plugging in figures to this Solar Calculator, and don’t delay in figuring out just how swiftly your investment will pay off.
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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.