Can You Afford to Go Solar? Can You Afford Not to?
August 8, 2023
By Bret Biggart
Imagine a $4 power bill. Imagine getting such a low bill in the middle of this scorching summer. Imagine getting one that low because of this heat.
There’s no question that blazing Texas summers are changing the way people look at solar power. The hotter it gets, the more our air conditioners feel like life support systems. Homeowners and business owners run up their power bills, knowing they can’t afford not to run them up.
Solar changes the game — and most homeowners can afford it for what they’re already spending on electricity.
In the vast majority of cases, people still save money with solar after they finance the cost of a new solar system. Furthermore, solar and storage systems are only getting cheaper and more reliable, and traditional 20th century power systems are only getting more expensive and more rickety.
Since every house and building is different (with different roof sizes and tree cover), we have to calculate savings on a case-by-case basis after in-person consultations with home and business owners.
Today, I want to walk you through how the financing and cost savings worked for one specific homeowner. I won’t share her name, obviously, but all of these numbers come straight out of the actual, real-life proposal we prepared for her. It’s a really good example of the solace that our customers can find during the summer — sure, it’s miserable, but at least they’re profiting from it.
When she reached out to us, the homeowner’s power bill was averaging $137 per month. She wanted solar to pay for nearly all of that, but she also didn’t want to generate a lot more electricity than she needed.
We figured a new solar system tailored to her house would drop her average power bill to $4.
Yes, a four-dollar power bill. And over the 25 year lifetime of the system, she would save at least $54,000 in electricity costs.
Her whole system — the solar panels, installation costs, electrical work and everything else — cost $23,000. That’s not a small amount of money, for sure. But the newly extended federal tax credit and other rebates dropped that cost by more than 40%, all the way down to $13,000.
Bake all of that into a 15-year loan with a 5% interest rate, and the monthly payment is less than $105.
The thing is, it’s $105 for the full term of that loan — it never goes up, and after a while it goes away altogether. Meanwhile, inflation, grid issues and volatile gas prices are pushing up the cost of electricity. Solar panels also add value to your house, so you’re likely to more than recoup the investment if you sell. And if you also install a battery storage unit, you can keep your lights on, refrigerator cold and A/C running when the power inevitably goes out.
People think about summer heat in terms of misery. I get it — I do too. I’ve lived in Austin all my life, and I’m still miserable this time of year.
But it’s also about money. You’re living with ridiculously high temperatures; you shouldn’t have to pay ridiculously high bills too.
When people invest in solar, they save money.