The deluge of data and the pressure to install solar panels can be debilitating. We shine some light on the murk.
You’ve seen them on your neighbors’ roofs. Solar panels are popping up everywhere now, and so are the ads for them. It’s no wonder — harnessing energy from the sun appeals to everyone from carbon-cutting environmentalists to grid-wary doomsday preppers. But the real growth has been driven by average homeowners with a much simpler motive: saving money.
In fact, a recent study by North Carolina State University ranked Boston second among the nation’s largest 50 cities in terms of the potential savings available to residents who install solar. (No. 1? New York City.)
Just how much money? The average Massachusetts household paying $100 a month for electricity can save an estimated $35,900 over the next 20 years — almost $1,800 a year — by purchasing and installing a rooftop solar system, according to data from EnergySage , an online marketplace for solar-energy consumers.
What’s more, consumers are willing to pay about $15,000 more for a home with rooftop solar panels, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that covered eight states, including Massachusetts. And unlike other home improvements, a solar installation eventually can pay for itself — after just four or five years in most cases in Massachusetts, said Vikram Aggarwal, EnergySage founder and chief executive. And that’s even before factoring in any bump in resale value. (Imagine spending $15,000 to remodel your bathroom and getting a fancy new ecofriendly faucet that spits out money for the next 20 years.)