Homeowners weigh in: are solar panels worth it?

ORCHARD PARK N.Y. (WIVB) – The Eagan’s are powering their home with solar energy. They decided to go green because it helps the environment and saves them money.

“Over 25 years we’re anticipated to make about 14 percent on our dollar, I looked at that… (said) that’s better than what my 401K makes most of the time. So I thought you know what this is worthwhile” said Terry Eagan of Orchard Park.

Their solar panels were installed in January, but the family didn’t start seeing the effects of the energy production until March.

Their electric bill before installing the panels was $95 a month. Now it’s $16.93 a month for just taxes and surcharges.

“We have actually have been outputting greater than what NYSEG has been billing us for”.

SunMany question whether there’s enough sunlight in Western New York for solar panels to even be effective. The News 4 Weather Team looked at the average amount of sunlight Buffalo gets in a year. The month of July is when we get the most. The average amount of sunshine that month is 67 percent.

When you compare Buffalo to other cities, we don’t have as much sunshine annually as Yuma, Arizona, but we beat out Pittsburgh.

Mike Amico, a Solar Consultant for Astrum Solar explained that solar panels work whether it’s sunny, rainy or cloudy.

“You’ll produce more on a sunny day. But the reality is that even on a cloudy day you’ll produce about 25 percent of what you would on a full sunny day” said Amico.

He added that if it’s snowing, the snow melts off the solar panels and can still produce electricity.

Another thing many people worry about is the cost of installing the panels. The Eagan’s purchased 25 solar panels for $27,300. After they factored in a NYSERDA grant and federal and state tax credits, their out of pocket cost was $8,482.50. The Eagan’s say this is one of the best decisions they’ve made so far.

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