How much do solar panels save in 2021?

Updated

solar savings estimator 2021

Residential solar panels not only help you reduce your carbon footprint, they help you save money on your utility bills, as well. Rebates and incentives like the federal solar tax credit can help you save even more and make installing solar panels even easier. 

How much you actually save depends on many factors, including your power usage, local electricity rates, and the size of your solar system. So when you see statistics on how much solar energy saves on average, those numbers aren’t taking all of these personal details into account. 

Luckily, we’ve created our solar savings calculator that analyzes all of this information. When you use our solar savings estimator, you get an idea of how much you can save with solar panels on your specific home - an estimate that is tailored to you.

Below, we dive into how much solar panels save on average, and what you can learn by using our calculator.

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    How much money can solar panels save you for your specific home?

    One of the easiest ways to find out how much you can save with solar panels is by using our solar calculator. SolarReviews has the world’s first solar power calculator that utilizes AI to show the system size that’s right for your home and what your return on investment could look like. 

    Estimate your solar savings

    Our AI calculator provides savings estimates based on the following:

    • Automated measurements of your roof
    • Your location
    • Your energy usage
    • Current average price offered by solar companies in your area 

    We also outline what solar tax incentives and other rebates are available in your area that will help bring down the upfront cost of a solar power system. 

    How much do solar panels save the average homeowner?

    When we talk about solar savings, we are actually talking about avoided energy costs, or the amount of money you would have spent on your electric bill had you not installed solar panels on your home. 

    The average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer is 10,694 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is an average of about 877 kWh per month. 

    When you multiply that by the national average electricity rate of $0.13 per kWh, you’ll find that the typical American family has electricity bills totalling around $1,390 per year. This means that if enough solar panels were installed to cover this electricity usage, the average household would save by going solar would be about $1,390 per year.

    Here’s a list of the average solar savings that the typical homeowner in each of the top 50 U.S. solar cities are likely to see for a 6 kW, cash-purchased solar energy system on their home:

    City Electricity cost per kWh* Annual solar production (kWh)** Estimated 25-year bill savings Top-rated solar companies in your city
    Phoenix, Arizona $0.12 9,366 $40,977 View companies
    Mesa, Arizona $0.13 9,540 $45,217 View companies
    Tucson, Arizona $0.13 9,498 $45,018 View companies
    Fresno, California $0.21 8,694 $66,565 View companies
    Long Beach, California $0.21 9,012 $68,999 View companies
    Los Angeles, California $0.21 9,066 $69,413 View companies
    Oakland, California $0.21 8,646 $66,197 View companies
    Sacramento, California $0.21 8,538 $65,370 View companies
    San Diego, California $0.29 9,024 $95,412 View companies
    San Francisco, California $0.24 8,922 $78,682 View companies
    San Jose, California $0.16 8,435 $49,205 View companies
    Colorado Springs, Colorado $0.12 9,270 $40,557 View companies
    Denver, Colorado $0.14 8,682 $44,315 View companies
    Washington D.C. $0.13 7,620 $36,177 View companies
    Jacksonville, Florida $0.12 7,416 $32,446 View companies
    Miami, Florida $0.12 8,040 $35,176 View companies
    Atlanta, Georgia $0.12 7,770 $33,995 View companies
    Chicago, Illinois $0.14 6,474 $33,045 View companies
    Indianapolis, Indiana $0.09 7,068 $23,192 View companies
    Wichita, Kansas $0.11 8,388 $33,640 View companies
    Louisville, Kentucky $0.09 7,386 $24,235 View companies
    New Orleans, Louisiana $0.10 7,278 $26,535 View companies
    Baltimore, Maryland $0.12 7,632 $33,390 View companies
    Boston, Massachusettsn $0.23 6,768 $56,753 View companies
    Detroit, Michigan $0.17 7,020 $43,510 View companies
    Minneapolis, Minneosta $0.15 7,788 $42,591 View companies
    Kansas City, Missouri $0.11 8,004 $32,100 View companies
    Omaha, Nebraska $0.11 8,172 $32,774 View companies
    Las Vegas, Nevada $0.12 9,672 $42,316 View companies
    Albuquerque, New Mexico $0.12 9,528 $41,686 View companies
    New York City, New York $0.21 6,882 $52,691 View companies
    Charlotte, North Carolina $0.11 7,962 $31,932 View companies
    Raleigh, North Carolina $0.11 8,130 $32,606 View companies
    Columbus, Ohio $0.13 6,750 $31,993 View companies
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma $0.10 8,430 $30,735 View companies
    Tulsa, Oklahoma $0.08 8,172 $25,835 View companies
    Portland, Oregon $0.11 6,078 $24,376 View companies
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $0.15 7,140 $39,047 View companies
    Memphis, Tennessee $0.10 7,716 $28,132 View companies
    Nashville, Tennessee $0.11 7,686 $30,825 View companies
    Arlington, Texas $0.11 8,136 $32,630 View companies
    Austin, Texas $0.11 8,154 $32,702 View companies
    Dallas, Texas $0.13 8,220 $38,960 View companies
    El Paso, Texas $0.11 9,660 $38,742 View companies
    Fort Worth, Texas $0.11 8,544 $34,266 View companies
    Houston, Texas $0.14 7,770 $39,660 View companies
    San Antonio, Texas $0.09 8,094 $26,559 View companies
    Virginia Beach, Virginia $0.11 8,052 $32,292 View companies
    Seattle, Washington $0.11 5,664 $22,715 View companies
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin $0.14 6,576 $33,566 View companies

    *Electricity cost reflects average of existing rate plans from largest utility in each city

    **Savings assume full retail net metering, actual net metering policies will vary by state and utility company

    **Production forecast assumes installation at optimal title and azimuth with no external shading and typical isolation conditions based on data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)  

    How to find out how much solar panels cost and if they’re worth it where you live

    Another benefit to using our solar calculator is our accurate and live solar installation costs that we get directly from our partner installers. 

    So not only will you know how much solar can save you, you’ll get an idea of what size solar system you’ll need, how much it’ll cost, and what it will look like on your roof. 

    To gauge whether or not solar panels are a worthwhile investment in your area, be sure to look at the lifetime savings estimates in our calculator reports. 

    As of April 2021, an average 6 kW solar panel installation costs $2.85 per watt. That means the total average cost of the system would come out to about $17,100. The 26% federal tax credit knocks an extra $4,400 or so off the cost, which brings the total down to just about $12,600. 

    How reliable are solar savings estimates?

    We here at SolarReviews are passionate about solar and clean energy and hope that you decide to invest in solar for your home and our planet. However, we are also committed to giving you the full picture so you can make an informed decision. 

    With that said, it’s important for you to be aware of the limitations of solar saving estimates. 

    Forecasting residential solar savings can be more difficult than it first appears for two main reasons: 

    1. The need for long-term accuracy of solar production estimates in kWh tailored to your location
    2. Accurate economic value of that production after 10, 20, and 25 years (at least)

    Figuring out the solar energy production over the lifetime of solar panels is relatively predictable, and solar production in different climates and conditions is well-known and understood. Predicting the future value of solar energy is where it gets tricky.

    Most studies have concluded that the price of electricity in the U.S. has gone up by around 3% each year for the past decade. It’s projected that between 2020 and 2021, the residential electricity price will increase by 2.8%. Based on the trends in the past, we can pretty safely assume that the cost of electricity will continue to rise in the future. 

    So, at SolarReviews, we are confident in our energy bill savings estimations. But you should keep in mind that there is a slight bit of uncertainty when it comes to predicting future utility rates and solar production, so how much you actually save with solar will vary. 

    The SolarReviews solar savings estimator is here to help you

    Going solar is a big decision and it can be hard to know who to trust. At SolarReviews, we’ve dedicated ourselves to giving consumers the most accurate solar estimations possible to help make the switch to solar a little easier.

    Find out how much you can save annually with solar

    Other helpful content relating to home solar panel savings:

    1. The solar payback period for your home
    2. Solar panel cost data 2021
    3. Best solar installers near me
    4. The best solar battery for your home

    Key takeaways

    • The average 6 kW solar panel system installed anywhere in the country will save you about $1,500 on your electricity bills annually.
    • Solar savings are very real, but exactly how much you save depends on the availability of local city and state incentives.
    • A great way to find a reliable solar panel cost estimate near you is by using our solar calculator, which is built using real cost estimates from solar installers.
    • Keep in mind that there is some uncertainty with solar estimates related to utility cost inflation, so actual long-term savings could be slightly lower or slightly higher than what estimates suggest.
    • However, historic trends in utility prices and solar panel performance make us confident in the estimates SolarReviews provides.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Catherine Lane

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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