Is Solar a Good Investment?
Is Solar a Good Investment?
To really understand why solar is a good investment, compare it to installation of a pool.
A pool and a solar array have similar costs for installation. Both expenditures are typically paid over some significant length of time and don’t have a disqualifying upfront payment. But a pool is strictly a new cost because it isn’t replacing anything. Solar isn’t a new cost – rather, it is the diversion of an existing expense from one vendor (the utility) to a different vendor (the financing institution).
Most solar arrays are designed to match your bill, so rather than seeing an incremental increase in power generation costs, money previously allocated to the power company would go to the financer of the solar loan. When that loan is paid off, the cost to generate power is eliminated – for a long time.
Furthermore, even before the recent surge in inflation caused by supply chain issues (increased demand with heavily reduced supply), energy costs increased by 30% over the past ten years in Canada. The purchase of a solar array immediately eliminates these increases because the system generates power that would otherwise be purchased from a utility.
Another significant difference comes post installation. Landscaping is typically not part of an initial pool installation and can run an average of $3,400 according to BobVilla.com. Then comes pool maintenance – HGTV.com says maintenance costs an average of $1,500 per year. BobVilla.com also states that heating a pool – considered a necessity in Atlantic Canada – costs an additional $3,000 per year if you keep it warm for just five months. So, incremental costs beyond installation are objectively huge for a pool. What about solar?
Solar arrays require no landscaping and no maintenance. GreenerChoices.org says that solar panels only lose about 5% of their efficiency if they’re dirty. In most cases, snow or rain will be enough to keep panels clean. If rain is an infrequent visitor, a hose sprayed onto the panels will suffice.
Finally, consider home value. There isn’t much agreement on how a pool impacts resale value. It depends too much on outside factors, like the surrounding neighborhood, the ability to use the pool year round, and the condition of the pool at the time of resale. Investopedia states that, if all the stars align, a pool can help increase home value by 7%. Conversely, sources agree that solar helps increase home value at resale from 4% to as much as 17%.
Plus, solar helps homes sell faster – up to 20% faster than comparable homes without solar.
This comparison and contrasting of pools and solar isn’t intended to pit one against the other. Rather, it helps illustrate why solar is such a good investment – it doesn’t require a large upfront payment, it doesn’t cause an incremental expenditure, it doesn’t have recurring yearly maintenance costs (it actually saves substantial money), and it helps resale value and resale speed.