Are Solar Panels Worth It in 2021? The Answer Might Surprise You

When evaluating whether residential PV solar panels are worth the cost, there are 10 main factors you should consider as part of your cost-benefit analysis. Let’s dive right into it.

  1. Rapidly rising electricity costs
  2. Federal tax credits and local incentives
  3. Solar resource – global solar irradiance
  4. Ample solar exposure
  5. Net Metering rules
  6. You will need a new roof soon or you have a metal roof
  7. Home value appreciation
  8. High-efficiency solar panels vs. polycrystalline
  9. Energy storage for power access during blackouts
  10. Solar payback period

When Solar Panels May Not Be Worth the Cost:

  1. Limited sun exposure
  2. Middle-aged roof
  3. You might be moving soon
  4. Cannot afford a battery pack and no backup power generator in an area with frequent blackouts
  5. Stagnating or declining local real estate values

1. Rapidly rising electricity costs

Let’s face it, domestic electricity costs are rising rapidly across the nation, especially in Los Angeles, California where residential electricity rates have increased by over 10% from June 2020 to June 2021. Across California, prices have risen by 7% in the same time period.

There is no reason to expect that the rapid increase in electricity and home energy costs will be curtailed any time soon. In fact, with the rapid adoption of sustainability and ESG policies such as moving away from coal and fossil fuels, domestic energy costs are likely to continue to rise over the next decade, especially in states with limited natural resources.

A growing adoption of electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) vehicles also puts an increasing demand on the electric grid and existing infrastructure. Expanding and upgrading the existing infrastructure to support rapidly rising number of BEVs and PHEVs on the road will likely continue driving up electricity rates over the next 5-10 years. – These dynamics are projected to accelerate as states like Washington, Oregon, California, and others incentivize or mandate policies that foster adoption of electric vehicles by 2030 and/or beyond.

If you are concerned about the rising electricity rates in your home state, then investing in a PV solar power system will help offset the effects of rising energy rates while also reducing or even eliminating your current electric utility bills.

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Top 5 Roof and Attic Space Insulation Options in 2021: Costs, Pros & Cons

Why Bother Insulating Your Home’s Roof or Attic Space?

Insulating your roof and attic space will help retain energy in your home, often leading to cooling cost savings and overall home comfort improvement.

Properly insulating in and around your roof attic space can make your home healthier and more durable. It can also help prevent costly long-term damage from moisture build up or ice damming, which often results from poorly insulated/ventilated attics that allow warm air escape through the attic and reach the apex of the roof, thus heating up and melting the snow in winter).

Additionally, roof and attic insulation serve as a way to enhance sound proofing on the uppermost envelop of your house.

Attic space insulation and ventilation illustrated
New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Enter Your Zip Code

There are five primary types of insulation for roofs, with their own advantages and disadvantages. The key value is always the capacity of insulation to resist heat flow. — This is also known as thermal resistance and is often measured in terms of R-value. The higher that value, the better the insulating power.

Blown-in or Loose-Fill Insulation

This is one of the two most common types of insulation. Often installed into wall cavities as a way to retrofit walls lacking insulation, it can also be blown into unfinished attic spaces. Typically, fiberglass or cellulose are the most common material choices.

R-value for loose-fill insulation can range between R2 and R4, with higher R-value for fiberglass loose-fill.

Pros: relatively low expense, fairly easy to install (blown-in or poured in).

Cons: as the material settles over time, the R-value is (slightly) lessened, needs vapor barrier as the material is prone to moisture absorption.

Cost: Generally, homeowners seek R value between R30 and R50, and to achieve that for an area of 1,000 sq. ft., the total cost would be between $800 to $1,400, depending on the project specifics, ease of access, and property location.

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Pros & Cons of Owens Corning Shingles – Costs – Unbiased OC Roofing Reviews

Owens Corning makes a large selection of composition shingles ranging from affordable to high-end. The brand is often compared with GAF, Tamko and Atlas. It’s considered a tier below the best lines from CertainTeed and Malarkey.

 

OC Shingle Cost

Owens Corning shingles cost ranges from about $75-$99 per square for 3-tab, $95-$135 for the most popular TruDefinition Duration shingles, and $250-$300 for premium designer shingles. A square is 100 square feet of roofing coverage.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Enter Your Zip Code

Did you know? Owens Corning (OC), GAF and CertainTeed account for about 80% of all asphalt shingle sales in the US.

This Fortune 500 (#458) dominates the building materials market with about 50% of combined residential insulation and roofing material sales. 2020 revenue was over $7 billion.

Owens Corning used to make vinyl siding until 2007, when the division was sold to CertainTeed.

Are OC Shingles Right for Your Home?

This guide is designed to provide you with comprehensive research about the strong points and weaknesses of the Owens Corning shingles.

Note: Comparing residential asphalt shingle brands is easy with the guides we’ve prepared for GAF, CertainTeed, Atlas, Malarkey and an Owens Corning vs Tamko guide.

Did you know? OC was the focus of a class action lawsuit regarding defective Oakridge Shadow shingles installed before 2006.

The suit was rejected in 2018 because “plaintiffs’ theories were too broad to show that the class would be sufficiently cohesive under the predominance requirement for class certification.”

Note: CertainTeed, GAF, Atlas and Tamko are among shingle brands that have been hit with class action suits.

Positives:

Here are the key factors besides a huge marketing budget that put Owens Corning shingles in the second place behind GAF in total sales.

The Owens Corning Total Protection Roofing System

A roof is much more than shingles. Other components protect against wind-driven rain, ice buildup, heat in the attic and other risks brought by the elements. All the major brands make a similar collection of products.

Using products from one brand ensures they’re designed to work together. It also gives you access to the best warranties from Owens Corning.

Pro Tip: You can qualify for OC extended warranty protection if you use at least three main components of the roofing system from Owens Corning. Ask your contractor to apply for the extended warranty coverage on your behalf.

OC uses the moto “Seal, Defend, Breath” to represent the Total Protection roof.

Seal: Underlayment and Moisture Barrier

OC makes standard felt underlayment (basic), ProArmor synthetic (better) and Deck Defense high performance synthetic (best).

The Owens Corning WeatherLock ice and water barrier is made in three tiers, too. The premium Flex barrier protects valleys, eaves, rakes and areas around chimneys. It’s best suited for very cold climates with frequent freeze/thaw cycles.

Defend: Starter Shingles, Roof Shingles and Hip/Ridge Shingles

OC makes starter shingles in roll and strip form that provide extra coverage at roof eaves. Five hip and ridge shingle lines match OC’s range of shingle styles.

Breathe: Roof Ventilation

This is a range of products for the soffit, ridge, and roof. The vents allow fresh, dry air to flow into the attic and hot and/or humid air to escape. Proper ventilation optimizes airflow to get rid of excess heat and moisture, which can damage your attic and roof.

OC Certified Contractors

All major brands offer certified contractor programs. Roofers in the network are trained in the installation of OC products and are given other perks.

The homeowner benefits by knowing the contractor has the experience and training OC requires. Secondly, you have the option of better warranties, though at a cost.

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