How to save on energy bills with solar panels
Solar savings are a big reason why homeowners love buying solar panels for their home. It’s clear that home solar panels are a good long-term investment when it comes to saving money. In fact, the International Energy Agency declared that solar power is “cheapest electricity in history.” Currently, there are many incentives that help homeowners like you go solar and save in the process. That means when you switch to solar, you could save on your energy bills over the lifetime of your system.*
Here’s what we’ll cover in this page:
- How do solar panels save you money?
- How much do solar panels save the average homeowner?
- How to find out how much solar panels cost and if they’re worth it where you live
- How to determine how many panels you need
- How much energy can you expect from solar panels?
- How much money can solar panels save you for your specific home?
- How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves?
How do solar panels save you money?
One of the first questions first-time solar homeowners ask is, “How much do solar panels save?” For starters, solar power offers protection from high energy rates and steadily rising electricity costs. When you have your free consultation, a Solar Energy Specialist will give you a specific solar savings estimate based on your ideal solar power system size, monthly energy usage, appliance electricity usage and the kilowatt-hours (kw or kWh) you’ll want to produce.
Between your excess power and property value, there are a number of areas where you will see the solar savings make an impact on your bottom line. Not only do solar panels save you money on your energy bills, but solar incentives like the solar federal tax credit, net metering programs and federal, local and utility rebates make the initial decision to go solar easy and affordable.
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How much do solar panels save the average homeowner?
Let’s start off with a caveat: how much you can save with solar panels can only be accurately assessed by a Solar Energy Specialist during your free consultation.
However, for a point of reference, we’re going to go through an average situation for a homeowner in the U.S.
How to calculate solar power savings
In terms of savings on solar panels, you can estimate how much your savings will be by understanding how much in energy costs you currently are paying. In the U.S., the average electricity rate is 13.19 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) (as of February 2021). (1) According to the EIA, the average yearly electricity consumption for homeowners is 10,649 kilowatt hours (kWh), or an average of about 877 kWh per month.
If you do the math, that adds up to around $1384 in electricity bills each year. Which means if you have a solar system installed that covers the amount of electricity your home consumes and added a solar battery for energy storage, you could avoid paying for energy for the entire life of your solar energy system.
Want to know how much energy your state consumes? Here’s a breakdown ranking each state (2).
- Louisiana – 1,273 kWh Per Month
- Tennessee – 1,245 kWh Per Month
- Mississippi – 1,220 kWh Per Month
- Alabama – 1,211 kWh Per Month
- North Dakota – 1,205 kWh Per Month
- Texas – 1,174 kWh Per Month
- Virginia – 1,156 kWh Per Month
- Kentucky – 1,154 kWh Per Month
- Oklahoma- 1,142 kWh Per Month
- Arkansas – 1,133 kWh Per Month
- South Carolina – 1,124 kWh Per Month
- West Virginia – 1,118 kWh Per Month
- North Carolina – 1,098 kWh Per Month
- Georgia – 1,088 kWh Per Month
- Missouri – 1,086 kWh Per Month
- Florida – 1,078 kWh Per Month
- Idaho – 1,055 kWh Per Month
- South Dakota – 1,055 kWh Per Month
- Nebraska – 1,034 kWh Per Month
- Maryland – 1,031 kWh Per Month
- Arizona – 1,049 kWh Per Month
- Washington – 1,041 kWh Per Month
- Indiana – 1,005 kWh Per Month
- Oregon – 976 kWh Per Month
- Delaware – 944 kWh Per Month
- Kansas – 926 kWh Per Month
- Nevada – 924 kWh Per Month
- Iowa – 908 kWh Per Month
- Wyoming – 894 kWh Per Month
- Ohio – 892 kWh Per Month
- Montana – 860 kWh Per Month
- Pennsylvania – 857 kWh Per Month
- Minnesota – 817 kWh Per Month
- Utah – 798 kWh Per Month
- Illinois – 755 kWh Per Month
- Connecticut – 752 kWh Per Month
- Colorado – 723 kWh Per Month
- District of Columbia – 720 kWh Per Month
- Wisconsin – 703 kWh Per Month
- New Jersey – 687 kWh Per Month
- Michigan – 665 kWh Per Month
- New Mexico – 655 kWh
- Massachusetts – 638 kWh Per Month
- Alaska – 632 kWh Per Month
- New Hampshire – 629 kWh Per Month
- New York – 602 kWh Per Month
- Rhode Island – 602 kWh Per Month
- Vermont – 569 kWh Per Month
- California – 557 kWh Per Month
- Maine – 551 kWh Per Month
- Hawaii – 515 kWh Per Month
How to find out how much solar panels might cost and if the could be worth it where you live
Here is how much you can expect to save on average by having solar panels installed on these major cities.
Below are average annual savings* in major cities that some homeowners got after going solar. Here is how much you can expect to save on average by having solar panels installed on these major cities. It’s important to remember that the savings you might get depend entirely on factors like:
- Your solar energy system design and size
- The direction your roof faces
- How much sunlight and shade your roof receives
- Where your home is located
- How much energy your family consumes
- The rates charged by your utility provider
Savings per year on solar by city
|Electricity rate (cents per kWh)
|Savings per year
|El Paso, TX
|San Antonio, TX
|Little Rock, AR
|Oklahoma City, OK
How to determine how many panels you need
The number of solar panels you need for your home depends on a number of factors.
Read more: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
#1 How much sunshine does your home get?
Find out how much sunshine your home at peak hours gets with a handy tool from Google called Project Sunroof. To understand an estimate of how many watts per hour your home will need to produce each hour using solar panels, multiply your hourly usage by 1,000. For a standard home, it’s about 1,250 watts per hour.
#2 What are your home energy goals?
Another factor determining how many solar panels your home needs is what your home energy goals are. For example, if your goal is to completely cover your home energy use with solar energy, you’ll need more solar panels as well as battery storage to hold the excess power for the night. If you’re looking to cover only a partial amount of your home energy use, you’ll be able to have a smaller system installed.
#3 Determining the quality of your solar panels
The other major factor in how many solar panels you’ll need has to do with the type of solar panels you choose. The quality of a solar panel, the materials used and the brand makes a huge difference on how much energy your panels produce.
#4 How much electricity does your home use?
One big factor in determining how many solar panels you’ll need is how much electricity your home uses. The more solar panels you have, the more electricity they will be able to capture for your home use. You can determine how much electricity your home typicallly uses by looking through your past utility bills and finding your home’s hourly energy needs.
If you need help with these calculations, be sure to set up an appointment with a Solar Energy Specialist. Find the ‘kilowatt hours used’ number and get an estimate by dividing the number of days or hours within that time period. For example, if it shows a 30 day time period, divide it by 30 to get the daily usage and then by 24 to get your hourly kilowatt hour (kWh) usage.For reference, in 2019 the average homeowner consumed about 877 kWh per month. This is around 30 kWh per day and 1.2 kWh per hour.
Get your customized solar savings estimate
How much you can save with solar panels can only be accurately assessed by a Solar Energy Specialist during your free consultation. Enter your information and we’ll contact you to schedule your solar savings evaluation.
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How much energy can you expect from solar panels?
You can find out how much energy you can expect your solar panels to produce by knowing about their efficiency. This is a measurement of what percentage of sunlight your panels can turn into energy. Most solar panels are between 14% and 20% efficient. For maximum savings on your home energy costs, it’s best to go with solar panels that have 20% efficiency and above. Each percentage makes a large difference in how much more energy your panels will likely produce.
The efficiency of the solar panels have a lot to do with how many solar panels you’ll need. To find this out, multiply the peak hours of daylight your home gets by the hourly average wattage your home gets. Next divide that number by the wattage on the solar panels to find an estimate of how many solar panels you’ll need.
For example, with 355W panels on an average home, you’ll need around 17 panels versus panels that are 250W in which you’ll need around 25 panels.
Another caveat: one reason it’s good to talk to a Solar Energy Specialist is because this varies widely especially if you’re considering a backup battery in which you’ll be able to store excess energy for later use, like when the sun is not shining.
How much money can solar panels save you for your specific home?
For your particular needs you’ll want to schedule an appointment with a Solar Energy Specialist who can go through all the factors for your particular situation. You can start by doing the calculations we’ve already mentioned. But when it comes down to all the incentives available to you and figuring out your exact home energy goals, you’ll want to discuss it with a professional. Be sure to have previous energy bills available as well as your home energy goals.
How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves?
Again, this answer varies widely depending on all the factors at play. The initial price minus incentives as well as if you financed them can heavily influence this. However, for a very typical situation in the U.S., the average payback period if you’ve financed a solar system is between 9 and 12 years. This means that all the solar energy your panels produce after this is completely free. And if you have a solar battery and a well planned out solar system installed, you can expect to see $0 electricity bills for a typical situation.
Start saving with a free solar quote
If you’re ready to make the switch to solar, get a free quote and a free consultation to discover all your options. We install solar panel systems across the United States, so contact us today to see if we service your area and get free solar quotes for your particular needs.
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