Customized for customers of
How much do solar panels cost for Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative customers?
You can find average solar panel cost data for your city on the SolarReviews website based on installations over the last 12 months. This data is expressed as solar panel cost per watt because this is a useful way of comparing relative value between solar systems of different sizes. Solar cost per watt is the gross value of the peak DC capacity of the solar system divided by the number of watts. (Remember that 1 kw=1000 watts... So a 6kw system is 6000 watts)
Generally speaking residential solar systems are between 5kw and 10kw depending on the available roof space and the amount of power consumption of an individual house. In September 2020 the average cost per watt of residential solar systems quoted through CutMyBill is $3.18 per watt.
|Size of solar system (kw)||Cost per watt||Gross cost before federal solar tax credit||Net cost after solar tax credit|
Calculate how many solar panels you will needCalculate
Why is the CutMyBill solar calculator different to other solar calculators or solar price comparison sites on the net?
Although the average cost of solar systems in your local area is interesting it really doesn’t tell you what you need to know.
What you need to know is how many solar panels you need for your home based on its size, its location, your power usage pattern, your Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative electric rates and to calculate whether or not you have the required square feet of roof space to fit these solar panels.
Only then can you estimate a system size and know the real cost of installing solar on your home.
To work this out a solar calculator needs to have detailed knowledge of the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative rate plans that are available to you, particularly where time of use rate plans are involved. At the time of writing CutMyBill is the only solar estimator on the net that has this level of detail. Without this level of detail the solar savings estimates given by other sites are likely to be inaccurate, as are their estimates of the size of system you need.
How accurate is it?
The CutMyBill.com BREC solar cost and savings calculator tells you all the things you need to know without you needing to gather 12 months worth of electricity bills and analyze them.
It usually produces a level of accuracy within 10% of the result you would get if you input 12 months worth of electricity data. It only requires you to know your address, how much you spend on power on average per month and an estimate of the square footage of your home.
We use government energy profiling, your location, the size of your home and the monthly $ amount of your Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative power bill to estimate your electricity usage pattern and the solar system you would need to cover this usage.
We then display a cost and savings estimate for this based on the average of the different solar offers available in your area. You can also see the individual solar prices of many of your local solar companies at the end of the process.
CutMyBill is the easiest way to get all the information you need to make an informed decision as to whether or not it is worth buying solar panels for your home and to gather solar quotes tailored to your home from local solar companies if it is.
What are the best solar panels and solar inverters to buy?
We consider there are six brands of solar panels that are deservedly called tier 1 solar panels. Some will argue there are more but I think consumers really should stick to these brands
Our sister site SolarReviews has a lot of information on the leading brands of residential solar panels in the US to help you find the best solar panels. SolarReviews shows both consumer reviews from people that have already installed each brand of solar panels and also expert reviews that give you a more in depth view of the pros and cons of each brand of solar panels.
What we suggest is that you use the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative solar calculator above to see the brands quoted by your best local solar companies and then head over to SolarReviews to compare the relative merits of each brand of solar panels and inverters your local solar companies quote you.
There are a few different metrics that people use to compare solar panels being:
How much will I actually save from installing solar?
If you decide to gather live prices from local solar companies at the end of using our solar calculator then you will be able to get a very accurate picture of both your total gross utility bill savings over the life of a solar system and also your net solar savings. Net solar savings are your utility savings less the cost of the solar system less the cost of any interest paid on a solar loan used to purchase the system.
Who are the best solar companies that service my area?
At CutMyBill we use SolarReviews.com to evaluate who are the best local solar providers and wherever possible we request solar quotes on your behalf from the pre screened solar pros with the best reputation for quality.
Whilst we all want the cheapest price none of us wants a poor installation or a leaky roof after our solar install. Given the fact that solar is a relatively new industry it does attract a lot of cowboys. We have found that by restricting the solar companies we request pricing from to the better solar companies we have been able to ensure that people who use our website and ultimately decide to buy solar panels report a customer satisfaction rate of 4.8/5, far higher than the industry average of 4.36/5.
We think we have the balance right between quality and price competition.
How many solar panels do I need for my home?
The number of solar panels you need for your home will vary with your location and the amount of electricity you consume at your property. To see how many solar panels needed to power a home in your state on average you can visit SolarReviews.
However, as with solar panels cost information that is not tailored to your individual circumstances it is of little use.
Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative solar calculator above allows you to find out a fairly accurate estimate of the number of solar panels you are likely to need without you having to get out your power bills from each season to work it out.
As you may be picking up by now we are pretty proud of our solar estimator that we have tailored for you as a Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative customer. It took us around 6 months to customize it and many thought we were crazy to invest so much time and money into it. However, the thing that drove us was knowing that one of the big reasons more Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative customers haven't gone solar is not because it isn’t a great investment. It is because it has been a hassle to date to gather up numerous electricity bills from different times of the year to get a reasonably accurate solar quote.
Now that CutMyBill makes getting solar quotes much easier we hope that many more Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative customers will take advantage of the massive profit they can make by installing solar panels while the 26% federal solar tax credit still remains and net metering is still being offered by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative.
How much roof space do I need for my solar?
The Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative solar cost and savings calculator also calculates required roof space once it determines the number of solar panels you need to cover your usage.
Produce a solar system design for your homeGet Started
Does my roof suit solar panels?
There are four characteristics of your roof that determine how suitable it is for solar panels being:
- The direction it faces- the closer to south facing the better;
- Whether the roof is shaded at any time during the day-shading reduces output;
- The slope of the roof; and obviously
- Where your roof is located.
The calculation of how much electricity solar panels will produce on your roof is relatively simple. The PVWatts calculator from the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (www.nrel.gov) handles these calculations and it is this data that we incorporate into the CutMyBill calculator. However, when it gets more complex is when shading is involved. It is at this point that you really do need an opinion of a professional solar designer as they have LIDAR guided topography modelling available in their solar design software that can estimate the effects of your shading on production.
Is it worthwhile buying an EV if I get solar?
Electric vehicles (EV's) will be the biggest technical revolution in western society in the next ten years. This belief has been one of the driving forces behind why we developed CutMyBill. If people switch to using electricity for transport rather than gas then it becomes so, so much more important that they are on the cheapest possible electric plan from their utility
The reality is that electric vehicles are not only better for the environment they are cheaper to run than conventional ICE cars. (see how much does a Tesla car cost to run compared to a gas car)
The only thing that has been holding back the tide of EV's from flooding the market has been the pricing strategy of the major EV manufacturers to price then as luxury vehicles. However, Tesla prices have dropped substantially with the release of the Tesla Model 3 and this is changing the way the traditional car manufacturers look at the EV market. Between now and 2021 we will see the release of dozens of new models of both budget and premium EV's causing the number of electric vehicles sold in the US to skyrocket.
If you are one of those planning on purchasing an EV there are two things to consider:
- Your demand for electricity will increase meaning the possible savings available from installing solar are larger and the amount of the financial loss you will suffer by not installing solar is greater. Charging your beautiful new EV from a fossil fuel burning power source is like drinking vintage Dom Perignon from a plastic cup. It does the same job but all the magic is gone.
- Both the 26% federal solar tax credit and the net metering law are not going to be around forever and so getting your solar installed while they are is crucial.
Calculate the energy you could produce to power your EVCalculate
Tesla solar roof vs conventional solar panels
Another way that the energy landscape around us is changing is with the release of the Tesla solar roof.
What is the Tesla solar roof?The Tesla solar roof is a system of roof tiles that have been made to look like normal roofing shingles or tiles but are also active solar panels. They provide the dual purpose of acting as both a roofing product and a power generating solar panel. Within the system there are both active tiles that produce electricity and also non-active tiles that do not produce electricity but look the same as the tiles that do.
The cost of the Tesla solar roof is around 4 times the cost of traditional solar panels of the same capacity but the Tesla solar roof is serving two functions. What's more the Tesla solar roof is also challenging the assumption that solar panels have to be ugly. In fact the Tesla solar roof looks attractive, arguably better than a normal roof. I think there is a place for the Tesla solar roof in high end architectural homes but for existing homes traditional solar panels are far better value.
There are a number of other solar shingle manufacturers with products on the market in the US and so prices for this type of solar option may fall in the future such that there is a more even balance between the pros and cons of the Tesla solar roof and other solar shingles vs conventional solar panels. However, for now for all existing homes conventional solar panels are a far more cost effective option.
Should you incorporate Solar Batteries for your solar system?
Another topic causing lots of discussion in the solar industry is whether or not including solar battery storage in your solar system is worthwhile. In the same way that the Tesla solar roof has ignited discussion about BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics) the Tesla Powerwall 2 has led to an explosion of interest in solar batteries.
We think the Tesla Powerwall is the best solar battery, energy storage and energy management solution on the US market currently (Tesla is not a client of ours. This is not a paid plug). However, does this mean it is worth buying Tesla Powerwall?
In our opinion economic return alone does not justify the decision to purchase a solar battery in an environment where you have access to something close to 1:1 net metering as you do as a customer of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative. Net metering, or a feed in tariff close to retail value allows you to economically store the value of power without having to pay for a battery to physically store it.
Given that batteries only last 10 years it is much better to just get a 10 or 20 year net metering contract with Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative while this is still possible.
However, economics are only one driver for a decision. The simple fact is that the Powerwall is cool...very cool and so I would be tempted to buy it purely for the importance that battery storage has for the future of our planet. Battery storage turns intermittent renewable energy sources like solar and wind into reliable on demand power. The intermittent nature of renewables is the thing the fossil fuel lobbyists use most strongly to argue against them. This is why supporting battery storage is crucial to increased use of renewables and the fight against climate change. NASA data now shows the climate has warmed between .6-.8 degrees celsius between 1980 and 2018. Given a 4 degree changes is thought to lead to an extinction of life on earth I think it is worthwhile investing in solar batteries even if the return on the battery part of the system isn’t as good as the return on the straight grid connected solar panels. This is why I have 60 kwh of battery storage at my home. Although to be honest by solar batteries are a Victron battery inverter and BYD Lithium Ion batteries.
If you are interested in knowing more about the solar batteries and energy storage technologies: