While solar panels are a big upfront investment, they can save homeowners hundreds of dollars each month on electricity bills. That savings can be life-changing, especially in months when we have to run our heater or air conditioning more often to stay comfortable.
A common question that comes up is, “Are solar panels worth it in Minnesota?” Despite the fact the state gets snowy and cold winters, Minnesota is a great place to have solar panel installation done on our homes. The cold temperatures can actually improve how efficient our solar panels are.
This guide will go over the benefits of installing solar panels, the cost, and why Minnesota is an ideal location for renewable solar energy.
Increase a Home’s Value
Having solar panels installed on a home can greatly increase its value. Many homebuyers seek out homes that have solar panels already installed. One of the reasons solar-powered homes sell for more is because they have future electricity cost savings.
People looking at homes will know before they purchase that they’ll save money on electricity costs. They’re willing to pay more for that value. Homes that have solar panels sell for around 4.1% higher than those that don’t have them.
For people that know they consume a lot of electricity, the extra cost of paying for a home with solar panels is worth it. Many homes that have solar panels also have other sustainable features that can save them money, like heated floors.
Solar Panels Help the Environment
In addition to the financial benefits of solar energy, solar panels are also very sustainable. They help get rid of air pollution since they create their own energy. They also are able to create energy without using water.
If an electrical source doesn’t use fossil fuels as a source of power, it usually uses water. Nuclear energy and hydropower use a lot of water to produce power. Creating dams to control water flow is damaging to local ecosystems.
Solar panels also reduce people’s dependence on fossil fuels and other nonrenewable energy sources. Those types of energy sources create copious amounts of pollutants that have a negative impact on the quality of our air.
Lowering air pollution also benefits us as humans. Air pollution is dangerous and can contribute to or cause different health conditions. Cleaner air has a positive effect on us and the environment.
Low Cost of Maintenance
Once the solar energy system is in place, it won’t need a lot of maintenance. Keeping them clean will help their longevity. In the winter, snow accumulation will need to be removed.
There’s not a lot of wear and tear either because there are no moving parts. The inverter might need to be changed after five to 10 years. It works continuously to convert solar energy to heat and electricity.
The cables will also have to be maintained to make sure the system is running efficiently. Other than the initial investment homeowners won’t have to spend a lot on repair work and maintenance.
How Solar Panels Work in the Cold
The temperature doesn’t have to be scorching for solar panels to work. They can turn sunlight into power in even below freezing temperatures. Solar panels absorb energy directly from the sun’s light, not its heat.
No matter the temperature outside, if the sun is hitting the panel, it will create electricity. The only reason there may be diminished energy production during the winter is because of shorter hours of daylight and snow covering the panels.
There are electrons in the silicon of the solar panels. When the photon particles in sunlight hit the photovoltaic cells, those electrons get to work. They create an electric current.
That current is sent into an electric distribution box. That box then powers whatever is hooked up to it.
Rechargeable solar batteries are available as well. They store electricity so the power can be used at nighttime, during peak electricity hours, or when the power goes out.
These batteries are ideal for the winter months. In colder months, power outages happen frequently. With the battery, a home will have renewable energy at any time during a power outage.
In the wintertime, it’s not as likely for solar panels to reach their peak power or temperature. An increase in temperature causes their performance to decrease.
Do They Still Work in the Rain?
Some homes experience many cold and rainy days. Homeowners may think that the solar panels won’t be gathering energy if the sky is cloudy.
However, the sun still sends out light through clouds and rain. Solar panels work the best in direct sunlight, but indirect sunlight can still generate energy.
Clouds and rainy days result in diffuse light. That refers to particles of sunlight that’s scattered throughout the atmosphere but still comes down to the earth. The amount of energy solar panels create depends upon how dense the cloud cover is.
While the product of energy does decrease with rain and cloud cover, the solar panels are still working. The rain is also great for washing away dust and dirt that’s accumulated on the panels.
The same goes with snow. The light of the sun is still able to reach a solar panel through the snow.
Homeowners don’t need to live in a continually warm or dry climate to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. A colder climate may work for a person’s benefit as solar panels work best when they’re not overheated. Rain, clouds, or snow won’t stop solar panels from doing their job.
Are Solar Panels Worth It in Minnesota?
People assume that because Minnesota has frigid winters, solar panels won’t work as well. In fact, people who have solar panels in states like Arizona run into more problems. That’s because the summer’s extreme heat results in the panels working less efficiently.
In the winter, snow that falls on the panels will block the sun’s rays. That will slow down the panel’s ability to produce electricity. If the panels are installed at an angle, the snow will melt off, depending upon how strong the sun is.
The snow that’s on the ground can actually reflect the sun to the panels. That results in the panels producing electricity more efficiently.
To move snow off solar panels more quickly, use a soft brush to gently wipe it off. Avoid scratching the panels. We don’t recommend homeowners brush snow off panels that are installed on their roofs.
Solar Panel Cost in Minnesota
The cost of solar panel installation in Minnesota varies based on the size of the system. Below are some financial details about solar panels:
- Average Solar Panel Cost: $25k to $35k
- Average 25-Year Savings: $43,244 to $52,854
- Average Payback Period: 5.5 to 6.7 years
The state of Minnesota offers different tax credits to homeowners for their solar panels. Homeowners can qualify for a 26% tax credit for the cost of their solar panel installations. Recoup around one-quarter of the cost of the solar panel investment in the first year of installation.
How to Make a Home More Energy Efficient
In addition to installing solar panels, there are a variety of ways to improve the energy efficiency of a home. Before meeting with a solar panel installation company, explore making these changes:
- Sealing air leaks
- Adding insulation
- Conduct an energy audit
- Replace or repair old cooling and heating systems
- Replace old lightbulbs with LEDs
- Install a programmable thermostat
As a home becomes more energy efficient, its energy consumption will decrease. With a decrease in the amount of energy needed, the size of the solar panel system needed will also decrease.
Get Educated on Solar Energy
Solar energy is used for heating or cooling a home, heating up water, and generating electricity. Learn about all the ins and outs of solar energy before investing in a system. Homeowners can learn about solar panels from the following resources:
- Electric utility company
- Local solar energy companies
- Solar basics class
- Education opportunities in the community
- Friends and neighbors who have solar panels
Finding out as much information as possible about solar energy will ensure that the system is being maximized for the most potential.
Plan the Location of the System
A reliable solar energy company will come out and conduct an evaluation of a property. They’ll determine if there’s a proper place to install solar panels. Get an opinion from a third-party source to confirm what the company says.
Reach Out to Primitive Power Today
Hopefully, we’ve answered the burning question: “Are solar panels worth it in Minnesota?” Solar energy provides homeowners with countless benefits, saving them money on electricity charges. Plus, it’s great for the environment and our climate.
Contact us today to discuss solar energy options. Request a free quote and design for custom solar panels.