You want to go solar, but you also want to save money. How do you balance these two goals? Finances are a huge factor in your solar energy journey, so you need to understand the costs and savings involved.
Calculating your solar panel finances is not easy, however. You have to estimate installation expenses, forecast energy savings, and project the return on your solar investment. You also have to put these numbers into your solar panel calculator.
Don’t worry, this guide is here to help you. It will make it easier for you to do all these calculations, so you can explore the world of renewable energy with confidence. You will learn how to use every saving tactic possible with solar panels, and how going solar will affect your finances in the long run.
By the end of this guide, you will be ready to make an informed decision about your solar energy future.
Best Solar Panels To Save On
Before diving into our solar panel calculator, let’s look at some products which will guarantee that you get value for your money. We’ll review some high-end products, outlining how their features, efficiency, and amazing prices make them stand out from the rest.
Natures Elite Generator And Solar Panel Kit - Best Upgradability
While Nature’s Elite Generator Kit is a fantastic solar panel kit on its own, you can enhance its power and capabilities with this comprehensive Power Add-On Bundle. Whether you want to upgrade your Gold system to Platinum or expand your existing Platinum system further, this bundle has got you covered.
The Power Add-On Bundle includes an additional Nature's Generator Elite Power Pod, two 100 Watt Solar Panels, a 50-foot power panel cable, and a pair of branch connectors. Here's why it's the perfect choice for your solar requirements:
- Power Pod with 100Ah (1,200Wh) capacity for long device usage
- Safe and efficient charging with built-in charge controller
- LED multi-colour battery fuel gauge to monitor power level
- Solar charging option with 300W Max input
- Expansion cord to connect with Nature’s Generator or another Power Pod
- Low battery protection for optimal performance and longevity
- 100 Watt power panel to convert solar energy to device power
- Multiple positions (summer/winter) to adjust panel for maximum sun exposure
- Anodized aluminium frame for durability and longevity in harsh weather
JACKERY SOLARSAGA 100W PORTABLE SOLAR PANEL - Best Conversion Efficiency
Effectively utilize the sun’s energy and stay charged wherever your adventures take you with the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel. This portable solar panel boasts an impressive 23% conversion efficiency, making it an ideal companion for outdoor life and unexpected power outages.
Weighing in at just 9.1 lbs and featuring a foldable design with an easy-carry handle, it's incredibly lightweight and easy to set up. Whether you’re looking to go independent from the grid, or simply lower your load through a sustainable power source, the Jackery SolarSaga is the perfect start for you.
- Solar cells with multi-layered cell technology for up to 23% conversion efficiency
- ETFE-laminated case for sturdy and splash-proof exterior
- Two adjustable kickstands for secure placement and optimal sunlight exposure
- Compatibility with Jackery Explorer 300/500/1000/1500 power stations (sold separately)
- Option to connect four SolarSaga 100W panels for faster charging
AcoPower 5X 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel - Best Energy Output
Introducing the AcoPower 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel — a reliable and efficient solar solution for your energy needs.
With advanced monocrystalline technology, this solar panel offers high conversion efficiency, ensuring maximum energy output. Thanks to the advanced encapsulation materials, its enhanced performance guarantees durability and longer service life.
- Aluminum frame for outdoor use, durability and longevity
- Anti-reflective, low iron-tempered glass for high transparency and sunlight absorption
- Pre-drilled holes and 12 AWG cables with quick connectors for easy setup and installation
- Lightweight anodised aluminum frame for portability and strength
- Versatile applications: RV, greenhouse, caravan, car, boat, etc.
- Weatherproof design with waterproof IP65-rated junction box
How Solar Panels Can Save You Money
Solar panels might carry a daunting price tag when you plug all the numbers into your solar panel calculator, but if you manage your energy finances properly, you can actually make sure your solar panel investment is more than worth it.
That’s right, going solar isn’t just about embracing a sustainable future. You’ll be making a wiser choice for both yourself and the environment as a whole. There are a variety of ways you can save on solar panels, so let’s dive into the calculations.
Estimating Your Costs
First, we need to find out the equipment we need for our solar panel system.
Do we need a large grid that’ll be running all the time? Do we need a generator for backup power? How much will the solar panels cost per unit, and can I save money by buying bulk? These are all important questions to ask when putting everything in the solar panel cost calculations.
When you're diving into a solar project, you have to think of more than just the cost of the panels themselves. You have to bring all the pieces together: solar panels, inverters, sturdy mounting structures, and the wiring involved in the installation.
Don’t forget about the labor costs, plus the equipment they'll use — that's a big chunk of this phase. Occasionally, you may have more to factor in as well: permitting fees, assessments from engineers, and charges to connect to the grid.
These upfront costs might look hefty at first glance, but think of them as the building blocks for future savings on your energy bills and a more independent energy setup. Knowing where these initial costs go is the map towards making smart money forecasts and well-informed choices as you set sail on your solar journey.
Solar Panel Efficiency
Now that we've shed light on initial costs, let's talk about something that really makes a difference – solar panel efficiency. Think of solar panels as the workhorses of your setup, converting sunlight into usable electricity.
Efficiency here refers to how well these panels do their job. Modern technology has come a long way, and some panels can convert a remarkable portion of sunlight into power. The efficiency of a solar panel can be calculated using the following equation, although most companies will tell you a panel's efficiency forefront.
Solar Panel Efficiency (%) = (Electrical Output Power / Solar Irradiance) × 100
Name Of Component
Electrical Output Power
Wattage available through solar panels per unit time (kWh)
Power received from the sun per unit time (kWh)
Higher efficiency means you can generate more electricity in less space, which is fantastic if you have limited rooftop real estate. However, keep in mind that higher-efficiency panels might come with a slightly higher price tag.
Balancing efficiency with your available budget is a key consideration when planning your solar project.
Finally, to get an idea of how many panels you’d need to install, you need to pair the panel's efficiency with your energy needs. To get started, tally up your average daily kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage, which you can find on your utility bills.
Here's the equation to help you sail through this calculation:
Total Daily Energy Consumption (kWh) = Sum of Daily Usage of Appliances (kWh) + Lighting (kWh) + HVAC (kWh) + Other (kWh)
Name Of Component
Sum Of Daily Usage Of Appliances
Check the power rating on each appliance and multiply it by the average time you use it for.
Check power rating on each light source and multiply it by the average time you use it for
HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Subtract other factors from your monthly utility bill to get an arbitrary number for HVAC power usage.
This equation captures everything from your coffee maker to your air conditioner's cooling on a hot day. Keep in mind that energy consumption can vary, so consider factors like seasonal changes and potential future expansions. These solar panel calculations will also come in handy when calculating your long-term savings, so make sure you have them jotted down!
Now that you have your total costs at hand, you can proceed to calculate your savings over time.
You can split potential savings into three categories:
- Utility Savings
- Potential Tax benefits/Government Incentives
- Net Metering
Bear in mind that since solar panels don’t incur any running costs or carry significant maintenance costs, you can factor these savings into your solar panel cost calculator without worrying about any negative factors skewing your calculations.
Savings On Utility
Calculating these savings involves a simple equation. Remember the energy needs we calculated previously? Simply factor in the load your solar panels are carrying from your overall utility bills, and include them in your solar panel calculations:
Annual Utility Savings = Average Daily Energy Production from Solar System (kWh) × Cost of Electricity per kWh x 365 (Days)
Name Of Component
Average Daily Energy Production from Solar System (kWh)
Check your local daily solar irradiance and multiply it with solar panel efficiency, or simply compare past and present utility bills to see difference in load.
Cost Of Electricity (kWh)
Mentioned in your utility bills
By estimating your solar system's daily energy production and multiplying it by your local cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour (kWh), you get a clear picture of the money you'll keep in your pocket annually.
Potential Tax Rebates And Government Incentives
Many governments are actively incentivizing their people to embrace greener and more sustainable lifestyles, and these can often reduce the burden of solar panel costs. One popular incentive is the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC is a percentage set by your government, and it's deducted from your annual federal taxes.
That’s only one specific example — you can look into many more benefits to help ease your solar panel calculations. Certain housing areas, local governments, or organizations will offer green credits to people willing to go solar. Make sure you do your research thoroughly, and see how you can save on your solar panels!
Net metering is essentially selling your excess generated electricity back to the power grid, and it balances out the inconsistency posed by solar panels.
While solar panels are certainly a smarter and more sustainable power solution, you can’t guarantee that they’ll run smoothly every day — especially in areas where the sun decides to take unwarranted holidays.
However, there’s no arbitrary way of calculating how much you can earn back from net metering, as you’ll only have excess electricity on sunny days, and when you have a large enough grid installed. You can still combine all these factors and significantly reduce your overall payback period.
Making The Final Decision
Now that you’re armed with the necessary knowledge regarding solar panel finances, you can finally move forward and see which products you’d like to buy. When comparing products, make sure you look past the main features — the company’s after-sales support is equally important, as it demonstrates their confidence in their products. Go for solar panels with robust warranties and reliable customer support.
FAQs About Solar Panel Calculators
Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about solar panel calculators and other related inquiries.
How Do I Calculate How Many Solar Panels I Need for My Home?
To figure out how many solar panels you need, divide your home's hourly wattage requirement by the solar panels' wattage (listed in the product descriptions).
What Is kWp for Solar Panels?
kWp is the rating used by solar panel companies to calculate their output at peak performance. 1kWp means one 1 kiloWatt of power is generated when the solar panel is at its peak performance (i.e maximum sunlight is being converted to electricity)
How Big Is a Standard 400W Panel
On average, a 400W is usually around 75 x 45 inches, although newer and improving technologies are able to compress these into smaller sizes
Solar panels promise a greener and more eco-conscious tomorrow. You can save money and protect the environment by choosing solar panels for your home, business, or mobile lifestyle. Don’t worry about the upfront costs or the occasional energy fluctuations. Solar panels pay for themselves in the long run, and you can see for yourself by using a solar panel cost calculator. Solar panels are the smart choice for the future.
At Solar Paradise, we have the best solar panels for your needs. Whether you want a foldable thin-film panel or a heavy-duty panel for backup power, we have it all. Our dedicated staff members are ready to answer any questions you have about our products. Contact us today and join the solar revolution.