Solar Energy Pros and Cons for Las Vegas Homeowners

In a town where the sun shines an average of 300 days per year, why not use it to pay some air conditioning bills instead of just causing them. Solar panels will cut the average home’s power bill down to size and then some.

The City of Las Vegas recently celebrated the inauguration of 15,000 new solar panels coming on line to generate power for a waste management facility. Having weighed the solar energy pros and cons, the city found ample reason to invest in solar power. Mayor Carolyn Goodman declared the project just one of many large-scale plans for sustainability, renewable energy, and recycling/waste management in Las Vegas.

If the City of Las Vegas believes in solar power despite the cons, does that make it favorable for Las Vegas homeowners?

In a town where the sun shines an average of 300 days per year, why not use it to pay some air conditioning bills instead of just causing them. Solar panels will cut the average home’s power bill down to size and then some. If your system is tied to the grid, excess power produced by solar equipment actually causes your power meter to spin backwards! This adds up to energy credits on your account.

Although some folks have concerns about the aesthetics of solar panels, manufacturers have addressed these by introducing sleek styles that blend in with existing roofing. If you’re in the market for a new roof or are building a new home, why not consider solar shingles as your roofing material of choice?

For those worried about homeowners association (HOA) rules, consult NRS 278.0208, which prohibits a governing body from prohibiting or unreasonably restricting use of a system for obtaining solar energy.

If you’re wondering about maintenance – don’t! Solar panels require no moving parts, so it’s unlikely that much can go wrong, and it’s almost impossible to overload the system. Just an occasional cleaning will take care of the panels.

Most systems also come with 25-30 year warranties, but the systems can be expected to last 30 years, if not longer. You can expect to lose approximately 0.5 percent in conversion efficiency annually.

If you’ve been counting the solar energy pros and cons so far, we have four in the plus column and nothing negative, unless you consider the low level of drop off in efficiency over time. Another advantage of solar power for Las Vegas homes is the added value at resale. Renewable energy installations typically increase home values by $3000-$5000.

The single biggest drawback to going solar for most homeowners is the price tag. Upfront costs are sizable at as much as $50,000. However, after factoring in the overall rate of return in energy cost savings and tax credits and incentives, the initial outlay is offset by savings after 3-5 years. Over a 25-year period, savings can total as much as $100,000.

When examining the solar energy pros and cons for a home in Las Vegas, the real question is not can you afford it? It is: Can you afford not to make this investment in a sustainable, cost-effective future for your home?

Learn more about the Las Vegas real estate market.

  • Ollie Murphy

    Good article. Vegas is definitely one of the best places in the country for going solar.

    I’d like to add that although new systems can be very pricy, the 30% off federal tax credit helps ease the pain a lot. That tax credit is available until 2016, but there are others in Nevada too. This link here does a good job of explaining them: http://gsesolarlasvegas.com/solar-tax-credits-incentives-and-rebates-available-in-las-vegas/

  • Airraces51

    I don’t know who came up with a 50K cost for solar panels…that may have been true 20 years ago but not today. You can buy some of the latest solar panels for under 10K and for another 5K or so you can have an electrician install it for you. Way to many people claim to be experts on solar power and 98% of them do not know what they are talking about and for some reason or another they seem to believe that the general public are not educated in this field. Do your do diligence and I guarantee you that you can have zero electric bill for many years to come. My first solar energy that I have done on my home in Southern California 25 years ago cost me 18K out of pocket. Be smart and don’t fall for the sales people that are trying to sell you plans that you do not need. Be aware.

  • http://reelmediacoach.com ReelMediaCoach

    Great article! What better place to produce or purchase solar energy than in Las Vegas?

    I live in Southern California and I just began the process of having solar panels installed on my home. Solar City is America’s #1 full-service solar provider and Las Vegas is one of their best markets. You can have Solar Panels installed on your home or business in Las Vegas, or in one of the 15 other states that they cover, for FREE. They install the system for you with no money down or out of pocket and you buy power from them at a fraction of what you are currently paying. Here is a video that explains more about Solar City and their services: http://goo.gl/ScFpxy

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  • JKW3

    I understand I am commenting on this message much later than discussion began. Las Vegas ranks 5th in the Country for most sunlight so definitely a hot market for solar. I know Solar City has a special $0 down offer with low payments but that’s the lease program. The solar lease is not a good deal because I believe you pay a little more each year for 20 years, can’t take advantage of 30% tax credit, and then you don’t even own the system. If you sell your home, someone has to assume a lease and if they agree they will never own their solar power. I purchased my solar system and financed a low interest loan, taking advantage of a 30% tax credit, and will own my system in about 4 years. My electric bill is zero and when I sell my home it will be worth more because I bought instead of leased the system. The company to work with in Las Vegas is Renewable Energy Electric, experienced certified electricians for years and honest people who will recommend what’s best for you.

    • Matt Ray

      For the most part buying is a good deal but having a financial discussion most folks need to ask themselves is this going to cost me in the long run or will I get my ROI. If you plan on being in the home for 20yrs, yes, buy the system but to say you will make back your investment 10 yrs down the road is pretty assumptive. I have heard people loosing money on the systems they own because when they move the new home owners don’t see the upgrade the same way the owners do, plus the systems depreciate over time decreasing the value of what it’s worth. Also a homeowner need to look at their savings, If they don’t spent boat load of money on energy their saving will be less then if they spent a lot. These programs like Solar City are great because the owners will save immediately without putting a dime into it, if you think it’s gonna be an issue to sale your home just look at the data how many home owners are actually participating in the program.