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Solar Energy Costs

COST FACTORS

There are several factors that could dictate whether or not solar energy is a viable option for you and your home:

  • Location
  • Incentives
  • House Orientation
  • Roof Inclination
  • Aesthetic Preferences

LOCATION

Location, for example, is a great determining factor. National isolation data shows that Austin is a great place for solar energy, with relatively high levels of solar radiation and clear days.

You should also consider local labor rates and financial incentives when considering the cost of solar. Rebates, tax credits, and financing may be offered for both commercial and residential owners, depending on your utility provider, county, and solar installer. Ask your solar installer if you qualify for financial incentives.

Electricity rates can also have an impact on the solar business case. As presented in the graph above, average residential electricity rates have been gradually increasing throughout Texas. The residential sector has increased about 38% since 1990, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In markets like Austin, recent electric price increases have caused controversy among the community. Additionally, commercial electric rates have increased approximately 32% since 1990.


HOME AND AESTHETICS

Both your home’s specifications and your personal preferences will also inform the total system cost. Your home’s orientation and your roof’s inclination and materials may determine solar energy installation expense. Additionally, the number of roof sections and shading may dictate the technology necessary to maximize solar energy production. Your individual requirements may also increase or decrease the cost of your home solar unit. Different types of inverters, panels, and other system components will differ in price, affecting the overall system cost. Solar panels Austin homeowners prefer vary depending on price point, production level, and aesthetic preferences.

 

Provided by NREL

 


PRODUCTION

While cost is an enormous factor when evaluating solar, it is important to consider not only the total system cost, but also the production capacity of your system to ultimately make the best investment for your home. Two similarly priced 6kW systems could produce different amounts of electricity based on the technology used, shading, orientation, or other determinants. Before making assumptions about the cost of solar, seek out an assessment to view the exact price, design layout, and production level of your prospective system.