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Top 5 things you should know about solar panels

If you're ready to invest in this clean energy source, here's what you need to know first.

Solar panels

Photo Credit: iStock

Solar panels are becoming really popular — and far less expensive ! — these days. But most people still don't know a ton about what it means to own them. 

We've outlined five key facts that will keep you in the know on this clean energy source.


The cost has come down dramatically over the last decade

New solar energy development

Since 2011, the cost of solar power has decreased by almost 90%! This drop has made solar cheaper than coal in most places –– a huge win for a cleaner and cooler planet. And because solar power is becoming more popular, the price of installing panels should become relatively cheaper over time, too.


You can get a federal tax credit for installing them

A calculator and pen to calculate federal tax credit

If you've installed solar panels, you can receive a tax credit from the federal government, with no maximum amount that can be claimed. This tax credit is up to 26% of the cost of installation, which could save you thousands of dollars. 


You can have a negative balance on your electricity bill

Calculating balance on your electricity bill

Getting a bill doesn't have to be bad! If your solar panels produce more electricity than you use in your home, you would see a negative balance on your monthly bill. This means that not only would you pay nothing for your electricity, but you would be making some money, too.


They don't require much maintenance

Solar roof tops

If you're thinking about installing solar panels but are concerned that maintaining them will be a hassle, worry not. Usually, the main form of maintenance required is occasional cleaning; only once or twice a year is necessary. Often, rain will do most of the cleaning for you, lightening your load. 


You can get solar energy without even buying solar panels

Cycling near community solar panels

In many parts of the country, you can lease (or buy) part of a solar farm that is also being leased by other members of your community. These "community solar" projects allow customers to get credits on their electricity bills for the solar power they helped create. So even if your roof isn't ideal for panels, you can still reap the economic and environmental benefits of solar power.

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