Solar panels are generally installed with the goal of reducing power bills in homes and businesses. However, even better results are possible when a solar power system is combined with other sensible energy efficiency measures. In this case, there are two amounts that get subtracted from your bill: the kilowatt-hour savings achieved by efficient appliances, and the clean power produced by solar panels.
Keep in mind that solar panels don’t reduce the amount of electricity consumed by your property. They reduce the net consumption measured by the power meter, but your total energy usage remains the same.
For example, if a home uses 15,000 kWh per year and a rooftop solar system generates 9,000 kWh, the power meter will only register 6,000 kWh of net consumption. However, this doesn’t change the fact that the home is using 15,000 kWh.
If you are looking for ways to take your home’s energy efficiency to the next level while also increasing the value of your property, then installing PV solar panels on your home’s rooftop is likely one of the top options you are considering.
In this guide, we explore the current cost per watt, total solar system cost, available tax credits, net metering, pros and cons, and whether going solar makes sense for your home.
Solar costs are typically quoted per watt installed. The current national average cost of a solar panels system can range from $2.80 to $3.50 per watt installed (before the 26% solar investment tax credits), depending on the project size, panel type, accessibility and location. This price range captures approximately 80% of all residential solar installations in the US for a system size between 5kW and 10kW of solar-generating capacity.
What is a Typical Solar System Size?
A typical residential solar power system size averages between 5kW (5,000 watts) and 8kW (8,000 watts), depending on the size and span of the roof surface and household needs.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Assuming a typical 5kW-6kW solar system, you will need between 14 and 20 panels for a complete system.
If you are using conventional panels with 250 watts of solar-generating capacity, then you will need 20 panels.
If you are using high-efficiency solar panels like those offered by SunPower with 370 watts of solar-generating capacity, then you will only need 14 panels for a 5kW system.
High-efficiency panels are generally a good option for rooftops with limited space.
If you happen to live in a house with a nice backyard that gets plenty of sunshine, and you are the type of person who loves to entertain your guests and family outdoors, then investing in an outdoor kitchen can be a great way to make your home not only more valuable, but also more enjoyable. 😉
Cost-wise, an outdoor kitchen can cost anywhere from $7,500 to $35,000 for a fairly basic set-up, and between $50,000 and $100,000 for a more luxurious outdoor kitchen. On a per square foot basis, costs tend to run anywhere from $35 to $75 per sq. ft. depending on the choice of materials, the complexity of your design, and home’s geographic location.
ROI: If the upgrade you chose is appropriate for your area, and won’t price your home out of the market, then you can expect an ROI of up to 100% or more depending on the extent of work you had done and how suitable it’s for your particular house. To get the most bang for your buck, consider selling the home with an outdoor kitchen in the summer!
A deck can make a major difference in terms of curb appeal and enjoyment value for your home.
Cost-wise: a typical deck will range in price from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the complexity of the design and the type of materials used. For DIY enthusiasts, a basic deck can be built for around $3,500. Average cost per square foot: $35 – $55, depending on the materials used, complexity of your design, and your home’s location.
ROI: Aside from a 100%+ return on enjoyment value and popularity with your friends and family, you can expect a return on investment of 80% to 100%, if you choose the right materials and appropriate design.
Oh would it not be great to extend your home outdoors? That’s right, outdoors, where you can enjoy a bit of sun and fresh air, while also having a sense of shelter? That’s what a Pergola is! — An outdoor structure designed to shelter you from the sun.
There is not a better way to make your enjoyment of the backyard more stylish and fun. A pergola can be combined with a deck, or placed tastefully on your patio, with patio furniture right under the pergola. Pergolas can also be placed around outdoor kitchens.
Cost-wise: You can have a pergola professionally built for $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of your design. For DIY enthusiasts, a classy pergola can be built for around $1,000.
ROI: Like many other smaller outdoor home improvements, a pergola can have an ROI exceeding 100%, not too mention the enjoyment factor that a homeowner will derive from having a pergola in their property. 😉
The bottom line is that if your pergola is tastefully integrated with the rest of the features on your property, then you can easily recoup the cost of your investment. 😉