Going Solar in Kansas City: Answers to 6 Common Questions
February 23, 2015
Thinking about adding solar panels to your home? You probably have a lot of questions.
Here are 6 of the most common and our answers to them. Of course, if you have more, let us know!
1) How many solar panels do I need?
This is a difficult question to answer since different sized panels generate different amounts of electricity. The question you should be asking: “How much electricity do I want to generate?”
Solar panel systems are measured in kW (kilowatt) and the typical home system is 3-6 kW.
Often, the size of system you get depends on what you want to do. For example, a small, 3-kW system will supplement your home’s power but not take you “off grid”.
Here’s a helpful article from HowStuffWorks that walks you through calculating the size system you may need.
2) How much does it cost to go solar?
The cost of installing solar on your home is around $4600 per kW in the Kansas City area. So the total costs are usually around $13,800-32,200.
But this price can vary depending on:
- The size system you install
- The quality of the panels (not all solar panels are created equal)
- The type and age of roof you have (some roofs are more difficult to install on)
3) Are there any federal or state rebates or incentives that can offset the cost of solar?
Yes! There is a federal tax credit for 30% of the cost you pay. Plus, some Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) customers can still get a rebate of up to $1.00 per watt they install.
So, for a 3-kW system, that might look like this:
$13,800 (cost to install panels)
- $3,000 (KCP&L rebate)
- $3,240 (federal tax credit)
$7560 (total actual cost for you)
Of course, this is only an example to show you how much difference these incentives can make.
4) How much will solar save me?
Again, this will vary greatly depending on what you do. Do you want to eliminate 100% of your energy bills or just a portion? How much electricity do you use now?
This solar calculator is a great place to start to see how much you could save in different scenarios.
5) How do solar panels affect my home’s value?
According to one study, solar panels can increase your home’s value enough to recoup almost all of the initial investment. So if you spend $30,000 on solar, your home value will likely go up about the same.
Compare that to other common home improvement projects (like the kitchen remodel, which will only recoup 70-80% of the investment) and the solar addition looks even better.
And unlike other major home renovations that increase your home’s value, the addition of solar panels is exempt from property tax in both Missouri and Kansas. So you won’t pay more property tax for adding the panels, either.
Note: If you get solar panels, don’t forget to add them to your home insurance policy! Otherwise they might not be covered if they get damaged from weather or fire.
6) How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels last up to 30 years and require very little maintenance. But this can vary depending on the type and brand of solar panel you install.
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- Posted in:
- Energy Efficiency