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What factors into home solar power installation costs?

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Quick Answer

Things like a budget, government financial incentives and the size of the system all factor into the cost of home solar power. Always calculate upfront costs and compare them with future utility costs to make sure installation is worth it.

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Full Answer

Many homeowners want to do something positive for the environment while significantly lowering their utility bills, and solar power is a way to do both, notes HGTV.com. However, depending on the area of the country where the homeowner lives, it may or may not be worth the money to install solar power.

Living in an area of the country that typically receives abundant sunshine year-round means the system does not need to be as big as one installed in an area of the country that is usually dark and gloomy. This can greatly reduce the installation costs.

Before deciding on a solar power system, look at the energy usage on utility bills for the previous 12 months. Calculate the average annual energy usage and compare it to the average output for a solar system. A three-kilowatt-hour system produces around 3,600 to 4,800 kilowatts per year, a five-kilowatt system produces somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 per year and a 10-kilowatt system produces from 12,000 to 16,000 kilowatts per year, states HGTV.com. The larger the system, the more expensive it is to install.

As of 2015, the U.S. government has implemented incentives to help homeowners make the switch to solar power. Tax incentives generally fall into the 30 percent range, as of October 2015, offering substantial savings that should be accounted for when calculating the cost of a solar system. Many tax incentives also involve exemptions from state taxes and annual rebates. Check with the local government to find out more about incentives and savings and use these figures to calculate the total cost of solar power installation.

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