Written by Sarah HancockSarah Hancock is passionate about green living and sustainability. She frequently writes about renewable energy and manages the Solar blog at BestCompany.com.
This is the third question in a twelve-question series. Please click here to read the introduction, as well as access other questions in the series. Or, download the printable ebook to view the entire series.
"This varies greatly. In solar friendly states, which have lower installation costs and allow homeowners to take many of the same tax benefits that large companies can take, the payback can be as little as 3 or 4 years (providing energy for another 27!). In “non-solar friendly” states, the payback is around 10 years. Because of tax and install credits, savings are front-end loaded. So if you spend $10k on a system (leasing is a different animal), you can get a payback in 4 years; however, that does not mean you save $2,500 every year. Tax credits are a one-time shot to help with payback." -Teris Pantazes
"According to a report by UC Davis, California is anticipating higher utility growth rates ranging between 3.5% to 6.3% per year until 2020 (Source: UC Davis "The Future of Electricity Prices in California" Report). Savings will vary from one homeowner to the next because there are so many factors involved in determining each household's savings. We've worked with homeowners who have cut their electricity bill from $450 per month to $45 per month. And in some cases, we've even seen residents with a $275 monthly utility bill that's cut to only $12, which is just the utility company's connection fee." -Rainier de Ocampo
"If they opt for a PPA or Lease agreement, at least 20%. If they purchase the system, then it really depends on where you live. In the worst of cases, you might just save a little bit or nothing per month while you pay off the panels, but once the system is paid off you won't have to pay for that power ever again." -Julio Daniel Hernandez
"The answer to this question is dependent on where you live. Location, location, location! The amount of solar electricity you can produce will vary from place to place, and the amount you can save will be directly related to the cost of electricity from your local utility. There is no one answer to this question. That's why we built Sunmetrix Discover, where you can enter your address and learn how much solar electricity you can produce with an average sized system (5 kW). You can also change the parameters of your system and the orientation of your roof and see the impact. Then you can estimate what you would save - we put in the average utility rate per state as a default, but you can fine-tune it by putting in the actual rate that you can find on your utility bill." - Simone Garneau
"This depends on the size of the solar installation and if it is integrated with battery storage. A typical installation for a homeowner today (approximately 4 to 5 kW of power) will have a less than 3 to 5% return on investment. This will be a bit higher with energy storage. However, the savings will be greater the more self-sufficient the homeowner can be. And if the homeowner chooses to invest in enough capacity to sell back to the grid when over-generating for the homes’ needs, the savings can turn into a small profitability." -Greg Reed
"It depends on the size of system installed and the amount of power used from the solar PV." -Mark Stevenson
"The average consumer is spending $200 per month for electricity, and the cost of a solar system is $25,000 ($17,500 after the tax credit). If the utility rates don't go up, the homeowner would spend $60,000 in utility costs over 25 years without going solar. By going solar with a system that costs $17,500 after the tax credit, they would be saving $42,500 over 25 years - without factoring in rate increases by the utility company." -Matt Stoutenburg
"20-100%, depending on which program they choose" -Geoff Mirkin