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Are solar panels worth the money?

Posted at 7:52 AM, May 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-09 10:53:18-04

As the Las Vegas valley heats up, 13 Action News is looking for ways to help you save money on energy costs.

For example, solar panels could potentially help you save money, but are they affordable for your average Joe?

If you're thinking about solar panels, you have to think about it as an investment. Experts warn not to do it if there are financial uncertainties in your future or if you won't live in the house for very long.

There's a lot of flexibility when it comes to buying solar panels. Depending on your situation, you could buy a smaller, more affordable system that would offset your power bill. It might be more reachable than you think.

"It's like we're living in a gold field and not nearly enough people are mining," said Louise Helton, the owner of 1 Sun Solar Electric.

Let's look at one example from 1 Sun Solar Electric: say you have a 1,950 square foot home. It could be covered by 16 solar panels as long as you've got 320 square feet of roof space. That's a medium-sized system and would cost about $15,000. Once you take into account the 30% tax credit and rebate from NV Energy ratepayers, the cost is more like $9,700. 

If everything works out, your panels could make enough energy to take off $1,037 from your power bill each year. That means it would take almost ten years to recoup your losses. 

This is just one example. The cost of the system completely depends on the size, so you could start small and work your way toward something bigger.