One of the best investments you can make in your home is the addition of solar panels. The sun is a powerful star, and many sunny locations receive up to 5.5 hours of strong light per day. The sun is free, so why not take advantage of those rays and turn them into energy? Heck, even solar panels in cloudy or winter environments will draw energy so there isn’t much downside to using panels to your advantage.

Another plus with solar panels is many local governments and federal initiatives provide tax rebates and credits for those households with panels. Depending on where you live the combination of the two (local and federal) are quite attractive and will get you years closer to offsetting the initial installation costs. And finally, the environmental argument for solar panel use could not be clearer. Fossil fuels emit harmful gasses and are finite resources. The outright replacement of fossil fuel energy with renewable energies like solar is still a long way away, but doing your part at a household level, multiplied by millions, would have a massive effect.  

How Many Solar Panels Should You Get?

How many solar panels should you get for your home?

Deciding to go solar is exhilarating. You can finally post about it on Facebook as well as join solar talk groups. Careful to not become the guy or gal that then does nothing but preach the value of going solar to family and friends. There’s always one, and what’s said behind his or her back when they go to the bathroom isn’t pretty. But in all seriousness, deciding to go solar is one thing, but the next step is focusing on how many panels you should get.

A typical home is roughly 1,500 square feet. Electrical costs vary, but on average a home this size is paying in the ballpark of $100 per month. To completely cover all electrical needs at this price point, between 15 and 17 panels should do. One major item that impacts this decision, however, is which direction your home is situated.

For example, a home situated north/south as compared to east/west will have an effect on the amount of sunlight received. Another major factor is shade. If you have large, overwhelming trees in terms of branches and covering, that shade will negatively impact the light penetration to the panels.

In terms of the investment with 16 panels, for example, it will take up to 8 years to pay back the costs of the panel installation. Depending on where you reside, your power company might permit you to sell your excess power back to the grid, and this of course is additional compensation. Most panels will last 25 to 30 years, so do keep this in mind. Some folks might think 8 years is a long time to recoup an initial investment, but from there on you might have those panels for another 22 years. 

Do Solar Panels Increase Home Value?

Do solar panels increase home value?

Solar energy and solar technology have been around for decades. Capturing sunlight and turning it into energy is a natural, re-occurring process that we’d be remiss in not capitalizing on. While the eventual uptake of solar technology at a more massive scale is still a ways away, there is no doubt that a home with solar panels is worth more than the same home without.

Like pools, folks are generally into solar. They’re even more into solar if they didn’t have to put down the initial investment to panel the home. Just two years ago, the Solar Energy Industries Association revealed that the amount of investment in solar power in the US alone was enough to power 12.3 million homes. That’s a lot of homes, but it still begs the question as to whether we have any hard data that home values do increase when solar panels are evident? Well, if we trust Zillow and their analysis of the market, then the answer is a resounding yes.

A Zillow study from last year found that across the US home values rose by 4.1% when solar panels were evident. To put this more practically – a home valued at $226,300 with solar panels fetched $9,274 extra dollars on the sale compared to a similar home without panels. The study controlled for a host of variables (square footage, location, age, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc). That value-added ranged from a high of 5.4% in New York to 4.6% in Orlando, and 4.,4% in San Francisco. And while the value obviously varied, it’s worth noting that Zillow did not discover one metropolitan area where a home value with solar panels was less than a comparable home without panels. has more information about how solar panels can increase your home’s value.

The Best Solar Panels for Home

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel

Portable 100W Solar Panel for camping or home emergencies by Jackery.

Jackery got its start eight years ago specializing in outdoor green power solutions. As the title suggests, this panel is portable, and many folks use it for camping. But the SolarSaga is also a great power source to have on hand for any home in the event of an emergency. The panel is equipped with both a USB-C (5V, 3A) and a USB-A (5V, 2.4A) output port, and the ideal operating temperature range is 10 degrees (Celcius) to 65 degrees.

Take note that this panel is not waterproof, and Jackery recommends cleaning it with a damp cloth. One reviewer commented that it was sturdier than what she had imagined, and even in high winds, nothing was moving the SolarSaga.

Like it? Click here to buy now.

Newpowa 180W RV Solar Panel

200W portable solar panel by Newpowa.

Another highly mobile panel, this model from Newpowa can be installed anywhere, but folks in the hydroponics and aquaponics arenas appear to gravitate to this model. Mounted flat, the panel’s performance in high sun angles is above average, and if you combine up to ten, for example, it’s possible to generate 1,000 – 1,300 watts consistently.

Newpowa offered a similar version two years ago, and this updated version reports improved light converting rates and higher cell efficiency. The panel comes equipped with a 25-year transferable power output warranty, and the good folks at Newpowa are consistently rated well in terms of customer service. 

To read reviews, click here.

Suner Power Adjustable Solar Panel Mount Racks

Adjustable solar panel mount racks by Suner Power.

Founded by a tight-knit group of solar technicians, Suner Power aims to provide solar technology and products at an affordable price. The latter is novel in the solar sphere, especially as cost has kept a lot of folks on the sidelines. These adjustable mount racks can be placed anywhere around your home (roof, ground, bracketed to walls) and subsequently affixed to that surface. They can then be moved and rotated in a 0 to 60-degree fashion.

Assembly is quick and each panel comes with 2 sets of panel mount brackets, 2 sets of ground mount brackets, as well as wing and anchor screws. If you have a motorhome or RV, these are perfect panels for the roof. You can also set them up after docking on and around your RV, and power your basic needs with Suner Power. 

To see pricing, click here.

Plugged Solar 1.5KW with 1500 Watt Crystalline

1500 Watt solar panels for home roof by Plugged Solar.

These panels from Plugged Solar are ideally fitted for nearly every roof known to humankind. Each piece contains six PCS panels at 240 watts each. For a total power of roughly 1.5 KW, over a given year you’re generating 2500 kWh of electricity with Plugged Solar panels. In terms of savings, that question you’re secretly waiting for equates to a savings of up to 30% off your energy bill. Sounds peachy, right?

An extremely satisfied customer commented online that he installed the panels as instructed, and they’ve been working like a charm since day one. He has 14, 100 watt panels generating 1000 watts for four to five hours per day. The best recommendations are user recommendations!

Love it? Click here to buy now.

Ousam LED Solar Lights Outdoor

LED outdoor solar light for home by Ousam.

Some panels are more delicate than others. Especially when it comes to the weather, solar panel manufacturers are certainly not all equal. Ousam is a well-respected company specializing in panels that are weatherproof and designed for the outdoors. Their panels are made of high-impact ABS plastic which according to online reviewers can withstand all sorts of madness Mother Nature can toss at them.

Highly flexible, these panels are perfect for ceiling porches, doorways, gazebos, the entrance to a garage or lined on a pathway leading up to the house. The panel works with a simple on/off button. Once it’s switched on, the panel stays on and does not need to be switched on and off day to day. These panels are worry and stress-free, the type of panels we all need in our lives.

To learn more, click here.

Dopwii Solar Lights, Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Color changing and motion sensor solar light for home by Dopwii.

Has anyone ever told you that you should let your hair down every once in a while? If you’re bald or have a close cut and no hair to let down, that saying wasn’t meant to be taken literally. It means relax, take a step back, and enjoy life in a more casual manner, at least for the time being. This was a long-winded way of saying these panels are the proverbial “hair being let down.” Their lights can be switched between 7 different colors, adding some twists and turns to your normally ho-hum Saturday night BBQs.

This unit can of course work with one color, but what’s the fun in that? If you’re in the market for a set of panels that will light up the night and do it in style, then this is the smart choice. You don’t need much hair either to enjoy it.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Solar Pool Supply Pool Heating Kit for Home

Solar heating kit for pools by Solar Pool Supply.

Even though these panels are designed to ultimately provide the requisite energy to heat your pool, you can use these panels to provide energy to just about anything in your home. If, however, you do have a pool you would like to heat, Solar Pool Supply should be on your short-list of providers.

For example, let’s assume your pool measures 600 square feet. For something this size, panels anywhere from 300 to 600 square feet are adequate. At 300 square feet (50% of the total pool size) you can get away with providing enough heat for the swimming season. If you’d like to keep swimming into the fall and winter, you’ll want to increase that to 70% or more.

To read the most recent reviews, click here.

Install Your Own Solar Panels by Joe Burdick

Install Your Own Solar Panels book by Joe Burdick.

This labor of love by Joseph Burdick deserves a mention. One of the premier guides in designing and installing a photovoltaic system in your home since 2017, Burdick has received rave reviews for his comprehensive explanation of the process and easy-to-read style of writing.

While it’s common knowledge that labor costs can eat up over half the price of solar installation, Burdick aims to slash that from your budget, helping homeowners save tens of thousands of dollars by installing the panels themselves. Burdick is a seasoned solar installer, and his partner, builder Philip Schmidt, take you on a do-it-yourself solar journey that has resulted in many happy customers. 

Like it? Click here to buy now.

DOKIO 150W Solar Panel Kit

150 watt solar panel kit by Dokio.

An online reviewer summed up this product best when describing his experience camping for 8 days on the Rubicon Trail in Northern California. For a little over a week this panel kept the fridge and a host of other electrical items working at tip-top shape, and he even had some juice left over to help out a couple buddies whose batteries had died out.

In terms of flexibility, this panel takes the cake. It’s manufactured to fold along equi-distant rectangles. Lightweight and extremely easy to store, it packs 150 watts of power while somehow managing to weigh just 4.1kg. Everyone from the previously mentioned camping example to boating or cycling enthusiasts swear by this model as a reliable source of energy while on the road or seas.

To learn more, click here.

HQST 175 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystallin Solar Panel

HQST solar panels for home.

When this company first jumped into the solar manufacturing game, their goal was simple – take over the residential, outdoors and adventure sectors. Most companies focus on one of these sectors, but HQST reckoned that their panels were top of the line no matter if you were installing them on your roof, the deck of a yacht, on top an RV, or next to your tent.

Waterproof, easy to install, highly versatile and durable, this 12-volt panel features advanced encapsulation material which enhances cell performance and provides a service life that is nearly unmatched. The aluminum frame is corrosion-resistant and there isn’t a sturdier panel under snowy conditions than the HQST. 

Ready to buy? Click here.

To Sum it Up

The initial cost of installing solar panels is what always provides that “but” moment for most folks. It’s understandable; they’re not the cheapest endeavor. But if you view this as an investment over the long-term, not only will you be saving money, you’ll also be positively contributing to lowering your carbon footprint and helping to wean our society off fossil fuels for good.

Solar panels come in a range of sizes, shapes, colors and functions. The nine products we reviewed, plus a handy do-it-yourself installation book, provide a good range of choices. You can jump into this with just a handful of panels, trying them out on a camping trip, or completely renovate your roof tomorrow. What we do know is home prices rise when solar panels are evident, and local and federal tax incentives also help in bringing down the cost.

This is the future, and likely 50 years from now solar panels will simply be integral parts of the construction process. Jump in early, you won’t regret it!

Looking for more DIY inspiration? Check out our article on Greenhouses next!