The rising cost of electricity from traditional sources makes solar installation seem like a no-brainer for many homeowners.

But the true cost of solar panels, and whether they’ll help you save money, depends on a few key factors. On average, installation and the system together can run between $15,000 and $25,000, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy.

Location largely affects electricity rates. The national average is about 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to year-to-date 2021 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Before you make the leap, learn how your electric bill, location and incentives can impact your wallet over time. Here are six steps to take to determine whether you’ll save more than you spend on solar panels.

1. Review your electric bill
Solar panels generate their own power and can therefore greatly offset your monthly electricity bill, if not eliminate it. The higher your bill, the more likely you’ll benefit from switching. But you should note that electricity rates and usage — the main charges on your statement — are volatile.