Ways to Make Money with Your Solar Panels

solar panels on a terracotta roof

Going solar is a serious investment in cash, making it difficult for some homeowners to consider. DIYers can bring the cost down by installing solar panels themselves, but it's a good idea to really evaluate whether this is a project you want to tackle yourself, or if it makes more sense to leave solar installation to the professionals.

With more people making the switch, prices have finally gone down enough to allow homeowners to enter the market who initially had been priced out. Wiring your system can be tricky, though, even dangerous, so it's a good idea to have a certified professional connect you to the electrical grid for safety's sake, and for peace of mind. Definitely important if you live in an area where certification is required before you can reap the benefits of your new solar system

Lowering your energy bills by harnessing the power of the sun will help counter the price of installation, making it a more desirable option for your energy needs. Here are a few ways to help you do just that.

tax savings with form and calculator

Tax Subsidies

A tax subsidy or grant for energy efficiency is basically like the government paying you to convert to solar. These financial incentives encourage more people to go green by substantially reducing the final cost of the project, sometimes to even below the sticker price.

Credits for renewable energy have changed over the years, so consult your tax preparer and the current rules and regulations to help you decide. As of publication, the IRS website shows the Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credit has been extended through 2021, so get it while the getting's good.

Net Metering

Those who have converted to solar for off grid living have successfully done so for years, but if you're planning on getting some of the energy kickbacks, you'll have to get connected. For those who are beginning the planning process for their solar voyage, you'll want to stay connected so you can offset the costs of installation through net metering.

Net metering is an agreement between the energy company and customer, allowing the customer to recoup some of the cost of solar installation through credits given back for any excess power generated during the billing cycle. Customers must be connected to the grid and using a photovoltaic system to receive these credits. Depending on the energy facility, the credit may be returned to homeowners in the form of a check, or in lieu of a check, provided as a way for the homeowner to offset energy costs.

energy power meters

Legislation and implementation of net metering is not consistent in each state, so the benefits can vastly differ depending on where you live. The goal of course, is to lower the cost of your monthly bill, so check local regulations and your installation company to get the best estimate of your potential savings. With the price of solar panels decreasing, and the number of systems increasing, a profit from going solar is more attainable than ever.

Solar Investments

You may have already installed solar panels. Or maybe you're not ready to take the plunge, but still want to reap the benefits, especially since you're aware of the importance and impact of doing the deed. If you've got some financial savvy and the tolerance for some risk as begets the stock market, putting some funds away in green investments might make more sense for you. Consult your financial planner for companies and funds in the energy sector that focus on renewable green energy.

We all want to save money. That's why we're DIYers! But it feels especially good to save money through a project that helps our environment. So fellow eco-warriors, regardless of your approach to solar, offset those high costs of installation by letting the government pay you, getting connected to the grid, and making earth friendly investments.