With so much focus on the transition to clean energy these days, a lot of people have been left wondering what kind of solar energy benefits and savings are available to them.
Even with that being the case, it can be a little difficult to find articles that discuss the two in an easy-to-understand manner. Sun Solar Surfer is hoping to change that today, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Saving Money with Solar
Regardless of the plethora of benefits that solar energy offers, the first question nearly anyone asks is how much money having solar panels will save them. While everyone has a different experience in how much they can and will save when it comes to this form of energy, we can still look to solar panel savings statistics to get an idea what people can reasonably expect. Let’s jump into a little math (sorry in advance, but we promise this is worth looking at).
Calculating Average Energy Costs in California
The amount of electricity the average household in the U.S. uses every year is around 10,400 kilowatt-hours (kWh). In California, the average amount we pay for electricity from our energy companies in 2019 comes out to 18.32 cents per kWh (or $0.1832 for those who like their monetary figures in dollars).
When we multiply these numbers together to find the average annual cost of electricity in California, we find that California households will pay about $1,905.28 toward their electricity costs this year. Divided by 12, we can see that the average home pays about $158.77 a month for about 866.67 kWh of electricity.
However, it should be noted these figures include all residencies in California, and those who live in homes, as opposed to apartments or condos, often see monthly bills in the $200 to $300 range (but we’ll stick to the average just to be honest and fair).
In California, the price range you will see for a 6 kW solar panels system is between around $16,000 and $20,500. If we take the difference, we find people can reasonably expect to pay around $18,250 to have solar panels installed.
From there, we can reduce the amount right away by 30% thanks to the current federal solar incentive program, which brings the installation price to about $12,775, which can be easily paid for through low and no-interest financing options. Divided up, that comes out to $638.75 every year or $53.23 a month.
Depending on your location and the local climate, a 6 kW solar system will make between 17.5 and 27.5 kWh of electricity per day. If we take the middle of these again to create an average, we get 22.5 kWh of daily electricity from a 6 kW solar panels system.
Multiplied by 365, that’s 8,212.5 kWh of energy produced annually and about 684.38 kWh per month. That means about 79 percent of the average home’s energy needs are met with a 6 kW solar system.
Now, let’s figure out what that means as far as solar energy savings are concerned. This might get a little complicated, but follow along.
With an average annual cost for electricity being $1,905.28 and a 6 kW system covering 79 percent of that, that cost comes down to $400.11. Add that to the annual cost of solar panels we found ($638.75), and you get a total of $1,038.86. That’s a savings of $866.42 a year.
For those wondering how much do solar panels save per month, that comes out to $72.20 saved over traditional energy sources. Over the expected lifespan of a solar system of 20 years, that comes out to savings of over $17,000 – and that’s assuming energy costs stay stagnant, which they never do meaning your savings will be even more.
Furthermore, if you take into consideration how much sun we get in Southern California and that California residents use far less electricity than most other U.S. households (around 560 kWh a month), these savings can be substantially higher since a 6 kWh can easily cover closer to 100 percent of a California home’s energy needs. In some circumstances, we have seen people’s figures get to savings of up to and over $50,000 over 20 years.
However, since those are situational, we won’t discuss them further here as we wanted to focus on averages to give customers as realistic an expectation as possible.
Phew. That was a lot of math. Let’s put the important figures we found in an easier to read the chart:
|Residential energy costs (without solar)||$158.77||$1,905.28|
|Cost of solar panels||$53.23||$638.75|
|Residential energy costs (with solar)||$33.34||$400.11|
|Total cost for electricity (solar + electricity bill)||$86.57||$1,038.86|
|How much does solar energy save you?||$72.20||$866.42|
Though we figured in the 30 percent federal rebate for solar installation into the figures above, there are still even more benefits and savings available. While people know they can sell their excess energy back to the power company to earn credits for additional power produced, those wondering how to save solar energy at home for cloudy or acclimate-weather days will be happy to know that most solar systems also come with a battery storage system.
When you combine California residents’ low energy usage with our constant stream of sunshine, those batteries are often charged and ready to supply your home with clean, renewable energy rain or shine.
To learn even more benefits of solar energy in California rather than simply the financial benefits as thoroughly discussed here, visit our more focused piece by clicking here.