How Much Do Solar Panels Save? (Lifetime Savings)

If you’re looking to save on your energy bills, you may be considering making the switch to solar. While solar panels might cost money upfront, they can help families cut utility costs in the long run. But just how much do solar panels save?

Solar panels can save homeowners as much as $10,000 to $30,000 over the course of their lifetime. A solar power system can also help families reduce their carbon footprint without affecting their daily energy consumption.

If you plan to invest in solar for your home, it’s always a good idea to know what to expect in terms of both costs and savings. You should consider factors such as: 

  • The advantages of solar energy
  • The cost of a solar system
  • The efficacy of solar panels
  • Your energy bill
  • Potential savings
  • Common mistakes to avoid

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how much you can save by switching to solar. Read on to learn whether or not switching to solar could help you to save on your energy bills each year. 

Solar panels on a house with skyscrappers in the distance

How Much Do Solar Panels Save?

Homeowners who invest in a brand new solar can save between $10,000 to $30,000 over its 20-year lifespan. The amount you can save by switching to solar varies heavily from state-to-state thanks to incentive programs and tax benefits.

Energy usage and house size will also affect savings.

You can not only save money with solar panels but also make money. If you produce more energy than you consume, you can sell it back to the grid for a profit. 

Is Solar Worth Going?

Solar is often well worth the upfront costs for long-term property owners. Those who live in their home for the entirety of a solar panel system’s life are likely to see significant savings. Many people break even as early as seven to ten years, though it can take longer.  

See also: Calculate Solar Panel kWp & KWh (KWh Vs. KWp + Meanings)

What Are Three Advantages of Solar Energy?

For most homeowners, the main advantage of solar energy is the savings over a system’s lifetime. Solar is also a green, renewable form of energy that can help to lower a family’s carbon footprint. 

Finally, solar helps to provide independence from the power grid. It even provides a reliable energy source for people in remote areas disconnected from the grid.

How Much Does It Cost to Switch Over to Solar Power?

On average, U.S. homeowners pay an average of $12,000 to install solar with federal assistance. However, the cost of a home solar panel system can differ based on factors such as house size, number of panels, and local tax or incentive programs. 

A small, simple system in a solar-friendly state like Oregon may only cost around $5,000. On the other end, a high-end system designed to power a large house could cost as much as $40,000 to install. 

Average Electric Bill With Solar Panels 

Average energy costs for homes with solar panels can vary from state to state. On the low end, households in Oregon pay around $94 per month, while families in Hawaii may pay hundreds of dollars per month.

Are Solar Panels Expensive?

Solar panels can be relatively costly to install. For many people, it takes at least seven to ten years to break even before they begin to see returns on their investment.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Solar panels cost an average of around $16,000 upon purchase. However, different types of solar systems can have price points ranging from as low as $3,5000 to as much as $35,000 for high-end solar panels.

Solar panels on a house with a metal roof

How Many Solar Panels Would It Take to Power a House?

The number of solar panels your home needs depends on factors such as square footage, number of rooms, and your typical daily energy consumption. 

Most solar homes use 20 to 25 panels to supply 100% of their power needs. However, a smaller property may use fewer, while a large family with high energy consumption may need more panels.

Some people also supplement a small panel system with grid power or a generator. 

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Most people don’t see a return on their solar investment until years down the line. The longer your new solar panels stay in good condition, the more you stand to see returns.

A quality solar panel can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years with proper care.

How Long Before Solar Panels Pay for Themselves?

Most homeowners break even on their solar investment around seven to ten years after purchase. However, a higher upfront cost, fewer tax relief programs, and other financial difficulties can get in the way of making healthy returns. 

It can take as long as 20 years to pay off solar panels for some people. Proper financial planning is the best way to ensure that you see early returns on your solar purchase. 

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Many people wonder if the high initial cost of installing solar is worth it in the end. As long as you plan to stick it out as a long-term investment, you’re likely to see lower energy bills and healthy returns on your investment within a few years. 

How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Produce Per Day?

Most solar panels produce 1.5 to 2 kWh per day depending on access sunlight, panel efficiency, and maintenance schedules.

Many homes with solar produce more energy in a day than they consume. Not only can they operate on 100% solar, but it may even be possible to sell excess money back to the grid for a profit. 

How Much Do Solar Panels Save per Month

The amount a family saves per month on solar depends on their upfront costs, their home size, their energy consumption, and local laws regarding solar.

Considering the average household uses 893 kWh per month and the average cost of energy is around $0.14 per kWh, families stand to save as much as $125 or more per month. 

How Much Do Solar Panels Save per Year

The savings from a solar system can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of the year.

In a 12-month timeframe, many families save as much as $1,500 by making the switch to solar. However, keep in mind that this is only once the system gets paid off in full.  

Solar Panel Savings Calculator 

Every home is different, and the best way to figure out your potential savings is by using a dedicated calculator.

Most solar panel savings calculators give you an estimate by using information such as your house size, typical energy bill, and current zip code. 

Solar panel inverter and fuse underneath solar panels

How Do Solar Panels Work With Your Electric Bill?

In most cases, having solar will reduce your yearly energy bill but won’t eliminate it entirely. Unless you use 100% solar energy to power your home, you will still have to pay for any energy provided by the grid. You will also have to pay fees if you own an unpaid or leased solar panel system.

If you produce more power than you need, you may be able to eliminate your electric bill. In some instances, property owners can even sell solar energy back to the grid for a negative balance on their bill.

Do Solar Panels Give You Free Electricity?

With solar panels, you can enjoy free electricity on sunny days. While it might not cover your entire energy bill, a solar system can significantly cut your monthly utility costs without any other changes to power usage.

Many homes rely on nonrenewable resources such as natural gas, nuclear energy, and even coal for power. On the other hand, solar panels convert sustainable sunlight into energy for your home.

This energy is free and readily available anywhere that receives plenty of light.

How Much Do You Save on Bills With Solar Panels?

The average household uses 10,715 kWh per year. With an average energy cost of $0.14 per kWh, families typically spend around $1,500 per year on energy bills. 

With 100% solar power, a family could eliminate their annual energy bill and save thousands each year. However, in many cases, families use solar to supplement grid energy.

Doing this can still slash yearly energy bills by hundreds or even thousands of dollars, especially for families with high energy consumption. 

Do You Really Save Money With Solar Panels?

Solar panels can save you money, but it’s not always clear just how much you stand to gain. If you’re considering adding solar to your setup, you’re probably wondering: how much do solar panels save?

Looking at the upfront costs, it can be hard to believe that people save thousands of dollars through solar panels. For the vast majority of people, though, solar is a smart investment.

If you pay off the initial costs as soon as possible, you can start saving hundreds to thousands on your annual energy bill. In some cases, you may even be able to make money. 

How Much Does the Average Person Save With Solar?

The majority of people who invest in solar power end up saving thousands of dollars in the long run. Even those who rely partially on the grid can significantly impact their annual utility costs.

Once the initial investment gets paid off, the average person saves as much as $10,000 to $30,000 over the lifespan of their solar panel system.

The amount that a family stands to save depends greatly on factors such as house size and energy consumption. 

Location is also important. Different states have various tax rebates and incentive programs to help solar owners save on installation and maintenance costs. It’s always a good idea to look up what programs your state has to offer and see if you can save on solar costs. 

Why Are My Solar Panels Not Saving Me Money?

Unfortunately, not everyone will save money with solar. In some instances, it may not be the cheapest or most reliable way to power your home. 

There are a couple of reasons why your solar panels might not be saving you money. If you live in an area with poor weather conditions or short daylight hours, you might not get the sunlight you need to power your home.

Shade trees around the roof can also affect solar panel efficiency.

It’s also important that your roof is big enough to fit the number of solar panels you need to power your home. Otherwise, you may not see a significant dent in your monthly energy bill.

Why Is My Edison Bill So High If I Have Solar?

Without an efficient and effective solar panel system, you may notice your Edison bill rising alongside your monthly utility charges. 

Your Edison bill is the settlement your utility company sends you at the end of the year. It will either bill or credit you for your energy usage. 

A solar panel setup will generally help to reduce your Edison bill at the end of the year. While most people will still owe money, some solar owners who produce excess power can get money back from their utility companies.  

If you used more energy than your solar panels produced, you will likely see charges on your end-of-year Edison bill. If your Edison bill is higher than expected, it may be because your solar setup is not producing power at full capacity. 

Solar Cost FAQ

Here are a couple of the most commonly asked questions regarding solar panel savings.

How much do solar panels cost for a 1,500 square foot house?

Many U.S. families live in homes around 1,500 square feet, which is a good size for solar. It costs around $18,500 to install enough solar panels to power a house this size.

However, prices can range anywhere from under $9,000 to over $24,000. Costs will depend mainly on the type of solar system and the installation process. 

Do solar panels increase home value?

If you ever plan on selling your home, a fully paid solar system can greatly increase your property value. Homes with solar sell for as much as $15,000 more than similar homes that rely on the grid. 



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Elliot has 20+ years of experience in renewable technology, from conservation to efficient living. His passion is to help others achieve independent off-grid living.

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