Solar Accounting: Costs and Benefits

Solar Accounting ChartGenerating clean energy for your home with solar power is a great investment. While the upfront costs of a solar system can seem daunting, the return on that investment can pay for the system and generate a profit over time.

Most Solar PV systems are warrantied to retain 80% of their peak levels of production after 25 years. The usable life of a system can extend far beyond that—systems installed decades ago are still producing power! This long life, combined with the ability to offset household electricity usage and lower power bills, can add up to big savings.

The graph to the right provides an example of the savings over time of an average 3.5 kilowatt (kW) solar PV system installed in Salt Lake City with 2012 utility rates in effect. Assuming energy rates will continue to rise an average of 2% per year, the solar PV system racks up an impressive lifetime avoided cost of over $15,000!

At a time of historically low returns on traditional bank investments, the return on an investment in solar is 5-7% in the first year: investing in solar is a smart move for your money. For more information about financing options that can help with the initial system cost please see our Solar Financing Options page.To get more details about the economic and environmental benefits of solar, check out our Solar Calculator.

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