How Solar Panels Can Reduce Your Energy Bill AND Your Carbon Footprint

By the team at Unbound Solar

As people start to worry more about how the harmful by-products of energy sources are growing, there has been an increasing number of homes installing solar panels.

Solar panels come with other cost-saving methods adding to the list of ways to reduce your energy bill. Under new laws, installing solar technology on your property could make you eligible for a 26 percent tax credit on purchase and installation costs!

Keep reading to discover how solar panels can reduce your energy bill, how they work and how much they typically cost.​​

Solar Panel Acceptance

It used to be rare to drive around neighborhoods and see solar panels installed on the roof of homes, but now it seems it’s on every home you pass by. It’s not surprising after a study showed that many Americans are taking action to help the environment.

If you live in an area that’s covered with clouds most of the year, you might have heard rumors that solar panels won’t work. That’s simply not true. While solar panels do need sunshine, they don’t require direct sunlight.

However, if there’s a blanket of snow covering the panel, it won’t be operational until the sun comes out to melt the snow off the angled panels.

Another rumor people have heard is solar panels end up causing more pollution in the long run. The EIA has thoroughly debunked this myth, stating that no air pollution or gases are produced and affect the environment it takes over.

Solar Panel Operation

So, how do solar panels work?

On a high level, the process boils down to a few steps:

  1. Direct/indirect sunlight hits the solar panels
  2. The sunlight generates DC currents
  3. The DC currents run through the inverter which converts the DC currents to the more commonly used AC
  4. AC currents move from the inverter to the breaker
  5. The breaker box directs the electricity to any appliance that needs energy
  6. Excess unused AC electricity moves to the utility meter
  7. When devices need more electricity than the panels produce, it’s drawn from this meter

On a smaller scale, the process is equally simple. Every photovoltaic solar panel contains solar cells made from silicon.

The solar cell separates the electrons from the photons and sends them through an electrical circuit. From there, it follows steps three to four shown above.

woman in shock lookig at bill

Source: TeodorLazarev/Shutterstock.com

Electricity Bill Savings

When you choose to invest in solar panel kits, the return on your investment is considerable. As stated earlier, because the sun produces free energy, you save in one way by not running your meter.

Two things can happen when the day ends and the panels aren’t collecting energy from the sun. The first scenario involves sending power back to the grid, but this is advantageous because it causes your meter to reverse. So you’re not exactly giving the energy you collected away for free.

The second scenario involves the home battery that comes as part of the solar panel kit. The battery stores excess electricity so you can use it at a later date. However, this doesn’t give you the benefit of turning back your meter.

The potential for solar panels to offset your monthly power bill or even completely eliminate it is high.

Take a moment to review your power bills over the past year and look around the house to see if there’s anywhere electricity is used when it shouldn’t. This means checking for some of the following:

  • Leaky ducts
  • Broken seals on doors and windows
  • Inefficient light bulbs

Solar panels do cost money upfront, but the amount you save over the years is more than enough to offset the costs.

energy saving idea board
Source: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Because solar panels produce all their energy from the sun, there’s no need to use limited resources, such as fossil fuels. There are little to no emissions involved in the process of converting energy into electricity.

Depending on where you live, one home fitted with solar panels can reduce carbon emissions by at least 1.3 tons annually! The reduction of carbon emissions is possible only because the sun is a natural and renewable energy source.

Even though the process of collecting energy for your home doesn’t involve emissions, manufacturing the panels do. However, the industry has been working overtime to lower those emissions in the manufacturing process and the materials.

Regardless of the minimal emissions, the carbon footprint of a solar panel is approximately 20 times lower than the emissions put out by fossil fuel energy sources.

The Cost

The cost to purchase and install solar panels can be initially substantial, running anywhere between $15,000 to $25,000. The final price you pay is determined mainly by your location.

While it seems like a lot of cash to put forward, you have to remember to add in the federal tax credits you’ll be eligible to claim towards both installing and the product itself.

Many providers also add incentives to purchase through them, so make a few calls and shop around! After doing the legwork, if the costs are still high, you might find that leasing solar panels might work better in your situation.

While leasing solar panels benefits from lower upfront costs, you won’t own the panels outright and may not be eligible for specific incentives.

Keeping Your Wallet and the Environment Green

Installing solar panels is one step homeowners can take to step in front of the environmental crisis the world is facing. And while the emissions caused by solar panel production are high, manufacturers have been working non-stop to make the process more environmentally efficient.

The good news is, the solar panels on your house don’t emit any, so you have a clear conscience and more cash in your pocket in the end!