There are a few investments you make in your life that will seem as personal as the one you make in a home. When you take out a mortgage, it's a serious financial commitment that should be treated as such.
This requires you to make decisions concerning the property, including those you make to increase its value. Adding portable solar panels to your property is one way to raise the market value of your residence. Simply put, portable solar panels can reduce your monthly energy bills by using solar power to produce electricity.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the year 2021 saw over 50,000 solar panel systems being installed in homes throughout the US. Solar panels are an investment that will almost certainly be profitable in the long run, despite the increasing volatility in both the solar industry as well as the economy as a whole.
More money can be saved in the long run if solar panels are obtained from an established installer and adjusted to maximize energy production. Even renters can go solar with a variety of different plans.
Are Portable Solar Panels Worth It?
The duration it takes to see a return on one's initial financial outlay is known as the payback period. The long-term savings on energy expenses from installing solar panels more than makes up for the initial investment. The solar panel size, your home’s energy needs, and a variety of other factors will determine how much money you save each month. The good thing about portable solar panels is that they cost considerably less than their traditional counterparts, and thus, have a far shorter payback period.
Due to the difference in upfront investment and the variations in energy costs depending upon the location, the exact payback period will vary between cases. Having said that, below are a few general guidelines to help you determine how long it will take for you to break even (the point at which your initial solar investment is equal to the cost savings generated by the portable solar panels).
Calculate the Upfront Costs
You should begin by making a rough calculation of the starting investment you will make. Include not only the price of the system itself, but also any fees associated with putting it up and getting it running. Look up local price estimates and go from there.
Consider Tax Incentives
The federal government offers a one-off 26% tax credit on the cost of a solar energy system for a home. Assuming your portable solar panel costs you $500, you will be eligible for a tax credit of $130.
In addition, there are financial incentives and rebates available from some utilities for switching to solar energy. Find out if your utility company provides rebates by contacting them.
Calculate Your Average Monthly Electricity Bill
The calculation is based on the assumption that solar panels will supply all of your energy needs. Some houses will be able to generate all of their power needs from solar, and even sell any extra energy to the grid, but others will still need to rely, at least partially, on traditional power sources. The number and size of the portable solar panels a given home has, how much electricity it typically uses, and other factors will affect the percentage of electricity needs that can be covered by solar.
To get an idea of how much money you'll save after making these changes, you can log in to your account with your electric utility provider and take an average of your most recent bills. If you can, go back a minimum of six months to allow for seasonal changes in temperature and other expense fluctuations.
Let us assume the portable solar panels will cover all your energy needs and currently pay around $80 in electricity bills per month (or $960 per year). You now have all the data you need to calculate the approximate payback period for your portable solar panels.
Financing Portable Solar Panels
You can acquire portable solar panels even if you do not currently have the funds for it. Here are the three most common ways to make that happen:
In most cases, you won't need to put up any collateral if you get a personal loan. While the interest rate for unsecured loans is generally higher, you will not lose any collateral should you miss payments or default on the loan.
Having a strong credit history increases the likelihood that you will be awarded the best interest rate. If you have a less-than-stellar credit score, you may want to look at lenders offering personal loans to applicants with poor credit. Most lenders conduct a soft or light credit check before letting you know if you qualify. This means that you will not have to go through the hassle of shopping around in the quest for the best rates. If you have a low credit score and the proposed interest rates feel too high, you may want to wait until you have improved your score before moving forward with the project.
Home Equity Loans
You can get a loan based on the value of your home's equity. With a usual home equity loan, you can secure a loan of up to 85% of your house equity. Your equity is defined as the value of your home minus any debts or liabilities you might have. For instance, if your house is worth $350,000 and you owe a total of $200,000, your equity will be ($350,000-$200,000) = $150,000. With this equity amount, you can expect to get a bank loan of up to ($150,000 * 0.85) = $127,500. Normally, portable solar panels cost considerably less than this.
Low interest rates are a common feature of home equity loans. The bank will feel secure in lending you money because of the collateral provided by your home. However, you must think carefully about putting up your house as collateral.
Financing energy efficiency improvements – such as the installation of portable solar panels – are possible through the Federal Housing Administration's PowerSaver loan program. PowerSaver Energy Rehab 203(k) Loans and PowerSaver Second Mortgages are the two available options. A debt-to-income ratio of 45% is generally required by these loan programs along with a credit score of at least 660.
How to Earn Money through Portable Solar Panels
After March 31, 2019, new participants could no longer join the government's feed-in tariff (FiT) program. However, homes that installed solar panels and applied for the scheme before this date are still eligible to benefit from it.
Households that employ solar panels or other renewable energy sources to generate their own electricity will be eligible to receive cash rewards under the program.
If you do not fit the bill for the FiT scheme, you can leverage the SEG (Smart Export Guarantee) program launched at the start of 2020. If you produce renewable energy and send any excess back to the National Grid, the program will compensate you for it.
Energy suppliers with 150,000 or more customers are required to offer at least one SEG tariff, while small suppliers may do so voluntarily.
You are eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee scheme if you produce energy through solar panels or through any of the following renewable sources:
- Wind turbine
- Anaerobic digestion (a process where the lack of oxygen causes organic material to break down and produce biogas. This biogas is then used as fuel)
- Micro-combined power and heat (a process where electricity and heat are simultaneously generated using the same source of energy)
To qualify for the micro-combined power and heat tariff, your installation's capacity must be less than 50MW. In addition, an MCS (Micro-generation Certification Scheme) or a comparable certification is also required.
Also, you will need to install a meter that can provide readings every half hour; this will allow your supplier to determine the amount of electricity you export.
How Does An SEG Tariff Work?
If you join a SEG tariff, you can get compensated for any extra power you produce and send back to the National Grid. Unlike feed-in-tariffs, though, SEGs will not pay you for all the energy produced, which is why the compensation is probably going to be lower.
Suppliers of energy have complete autonomy on the terms of their contracts, including the tariff rate, duration, and stability. Over the course of the contract period, fixed SEG tariffs offer an agreed-upon rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of exported energy.
The cost of a variable tariff might rise or fall in response to fluctuations in the market (note that the prices cannot drop below zero). Therefore, it is in your best interest to look about and compare prices and features.
You should know that you cannot sign up for both feed-in-tariffs and Smart Export Guarantee schemes. However, if you want SEG payments instead, you can opt out of the feed-in tariff scheme.
How to Make the Most of Your Portable Solar Panels
Here is how you can get the most out of your portable solar panels:
Maximize Energy Use during the Day
Try to wash clothes, do the dishes (if you use a dishwasher), and perform any other energy-intensive tasks during the sunlit hours instead of at night. Appliances with built-in timers are useful if you are frequently absent from home during the day – you can use the timer to turn these applications off before sunset.
You could also charge your mobile, laptop, and other electrical appliances during the day and unplug them at night.
Minimize Energy Wastage
You can lessen your home's energy consumption by doing things like turning off any lights that are not being used, taking shorter showers, and taking draught-proofing measures. Also, as far as possible, use a single electrical appliance at a time so as to reduce the burden on your solar panel system.
This will allow you to cover a greater percentage of your overall electricity needs through solar energy.
Use an Energy Storage or Battery System
By using an energy storage system, you will be able to use electricity during the night as well, further reducing your dependence on grid electricity.
Save Money with Solar
Rarely do we get the chance to keep more money in our pockets while simultaneously benefiting the environment. Portable solar panels, however, allow us the best of both these worlds.
If you are looking for a portable solar panel system to reduce your electricity bills, we invite you to check out our wide range of options. We offer a number of portable solar panels, generators, and kits, and can help you choose one based on your budget, energy requirements, and saving goals.