Is A Solar Roof Worth The Investment?

You may be considering using solar energy to power your home, but installing solar panels isn’t always the same for everyone. Consider the immediate costs of installing solar panels before moving forward. You can also assess long-term gains. Weighing the immediate and long-term impacts will help you choose the best solar panels for your home. Most homeowners need help answering the question is a solar roof worth the investment. 


Installing solar panels is only part of adding solar energy as a power source. A detailed site survey should be part of the solar installation process to identify and budget for external costs such as roof replacement, tree removal, electrical upgrades, and usage factors. Your roof may need to be repaired or upgraded to accommodate the panels.

Also, if your roof is due for replacement in the next five years, that will be a significant cost factor. Many shingle roof products have a 25-year rated life. You don’t want them installed on a roof with a warranty of five to ten years. Some solar installers work with local roofers and may offer a package deal.

Adding solar panels to your roof is unique. Permitting, interconnections, system design, inspections, and more all cost money. It is necessary to maintain the panels after installation, which may include cleaning them once or twice a year.

Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for federal, state, and local tax credits. The federal solar tax credit is currently 26% until 2022. For eligible homeowners, this means a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their income tax liability. State and local tax credits differ. Some states, like New Jersey, exempt 6.625 percent of home solar system sales tax. If you live in New Jersey, you may be eligible for a property tax exemption on the increased home value.


After paying for solar panels, you may reap several financial benefits over time. Many states, cities, or utilities offer solar or renewable energy credits, which reimburse the owner for the electricity generated. Most states also have net metering policies that allow you to sell any unused electricity back to the grid. A battery can store excess energy and be used at night if your state does not have this policy.

After you recoup your initial investment, you can keep saving money on your energy bills. Since 2008, the cost of a residential solar rooftop system has dropped dramatically. Payback time is highly dependent on electricity costs and sunlight. Your investment will be paid off in six to eight years in many areas.

Solar installation companies can often provide a long-term value estimate. Get three quotes from local installers. These will usually include economic forecasts for the system. Use a solar calculator like this one from the US government to calculate long-term benefits.


You wouldn’t buy a car without comparing models and prices, would you? Well, solar panels will likely stay on your roof for at least 25 years. People should do their research before inviting any company to make a sales pitch, and certainly before signing up with anyone. It’s a big deal. The proper research will help answer is a solar roof worth the investment. 

Talk To Solar Homeowners

Ask customers how well the panels work. What are the pros and cons? How long did it take? Was the installation good? Worked well with the power company. How much do they save?

Obtain Referrals

Collect referrals from friends and neighbors. Customers have complained about unclear contracts, misleading sales pitches, and poor installation. For certified installers, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners has one, and state associations like the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association have their own. Check with your state to see if the contractor is licensed to install solar. Licensed contractors are required to be insured, but homeowners should confirm.

3 Estimates

Get multiple estimates, ask lots of questions, and don’t be rushed. According to EnergySage, a 6 kW system costs $18,840 and a 10 kW system costs $31,400. Get proposals from companies with varying ideologies, methods, product brands, and information on decision-making.

Understand Your Needs

According to Solar United Neighbors, systems are sized based on consumption, roof space and budget. Larger systems produce more energy (and the more expensive it is).

Don’t Sign

No contract until you know your expected return on investment and break-even point. The Solar Energy Industries Association says you’ll save money if your electric rates are high.

Decide On How To Pay For The System

In a solar power purchase agreement, the consumer buys the power but does not own the system. Consumer Reports advises paying upfront if you can. This eliminates finance charges and maximizes the federal tax credit. Consider both smaller and larger installers’ bids, according to a recent government study.

If you need a loan, check with credit unions and banks first; some offer solar-energy loans exclusively. A clean-energy mortgage from Fannie Mae is another option. PACE lending programs are available in over 20 states. Consumers may lose their homes if they miss payments, says the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Is There A Tax Break?

Examine your state’s tax breaks. There may be grants and low-interest loans available.

Is Your Roof Old?

Solar panels have a 25-year life expectancy. If your roof is old or damaged, you should replace it before installing the panels.

How Long Do You Intend To Stay?

In spite of some research, you won’t know until you sell. So some experts advise waiting until the panels pay for themselves.

Know Your Warranty

Most high-quality panels and power optimizers come with a 25-year warranty. They come with a 12-year warranty (or even less in some cases), which can be extended to 25 years for a fee. Installed, a good inverter costs between $2,000 and $7,000, parts alone $1,000-2,000.

Ask About Upkeep

In some cases, companies charge a fee to wash the panels. However, rain usually washes away bird droppings and other dirt. Dry, dusty states like Arizona, New Mexico, and California may require professional cleaning on a regular basis.


If you plan to live in your home for the next decade, you may be able to recoup your initial investment and save money on energy. When selling or moving, homeowners can highlight solar panels as a selling point. Adding solar panels and storage may increase the value of a home.

Determining the initial costs and how to pay for them is also critical. For example, if you pay cash for the installation ($10,000-$40,000), you must pay the full amount up front. You’ll get money back in tax credits and other state or local benefits. Consider interest rates and other terms if you take out a loan to pay for the installation.

Northern and southern climates can use solar power systems. In all climates, panels protect your roof. Snow isn’t a big issue even in the coldest climates.

After weighing the pros and cons, the choice is yours, your budget, and your future home plans. If you don’t plan to move soon, going solar may be a good long-term investment. It’s an exciting time to save energy, money, and the planet while leaving a legacy move you can be proud of.

Summary: Is A Solar Roof Worth The Investment?

You may be considering using solar energy to power your home, but installing solar panels isn’t always the same for everyone. Consider the immediate costs of installing solar panels before moving forward. You can also assess long-term gains. Weighing the immediate and long-term impacts will help you choose the best solar panels for your home. 

If you have any questions about Is A Solar Roof Worth The Investment? contact me today.