Information for Homeowners
Audubon is working with EnergySage and others to educate our members about solar energy as a solution to climate change. EnergySage provides solar information for consumers, and we point to their vendor-neutral online marketplace to help bird lovers compare solar options.
Here are some quick statistics on solar installations in Washington from July 2015 – June 2016, courtesy of EnergySage:
51 – 91%: Percentage of home’s energy needs met by solar panels. In some states, utilities will purchase unused electricity from solar panel owners.
6 – 8.7 kilowatts: Total power output of a home installation
$23,820 – $32,985: The out-of-pocket cost to buy and install solar panels. This can be paid upfront or funded through a solar loan. Leasing panels is an another option to avoid this initial cost.
$11,401 – $20,746: The amount of money saved over 20 years, after the out-of-pocket cost.
4.2 – 7.6 years: Time until owners break even on their investment
That out-of-pocket cost isn't cheap, even if you make that money back within a decade and save more money over time. Luckily, there are a variety of rebates and payment plans available so that you can afford solar panels today. "If you can pay your current utility bill, you can afford solar," according to EnergySage, the online solar marketplace.
If you want solar panels on your roof, you have two options: own the solar panels or rent them from a third-party owner. If you lease, you'll pay a monthly fee to use the solar panels and their electricity, and avoid the upfront cost.
If you do choose to purchase your panels, you can pay for them up-front or finance them with a solar loan, which allows you to pay them off over the course of several years. In either case, you can save extra money by taking advantage of rebates and incentives, which are offered to encourage solar panel installations. One of these is the Investment Tax Credit, a federal tax credit that helps people pay for solar projects—and lets you subtract 30 percent of the system's cost from your tax bill. Many states offer additional incentives, and Washington has more than 100 policies and financial incentives to help you pay for solar power.
Learn more about financing your solar panels from EnergySage.