Solar energy hasn’t always been available to homeowners, but in the past few years more and more people have looked into the option of replacing the traditional energy sources. Since solar power provides cleaner and more sustainable energy, it lessens the impact that each individual living in the home will have on the environment. It can also provide significant cost savings over the life of the panels.
How to Start
You may know people at work or in your neighborhood who have installed solar panels on their homes to help save energy and cut costs. The process does require an initial investment; you have to pay to have the panels installed on your roof. You can learn more about the pros and cons of solar energy, as well as gain information about how many panels you might need on your home, by asking an expert or doing some research. Some homeowners choose to install solar panels themselves, but this can be a dangerous undertaking since you will have to be on the roof.
Is It Really Possible?
Image via Flickr by Tim Fuller
Some people use solar power to provide small amounts of energy to specific parts of the home, such as a solar-powered heater for a swimming pool or spa. It hasn’t always been available to provide power to an entire house, but improvements in the technology have made this feasible. Homeowners who want to go solar will have to switch out their incandescent light bulbs to low-watt fluorescents or LED lighting to reduce the amount of energy that each light uses. You might also need to look at other options to reduce energy usage, but after making these small changes, you can power your home completely with solar energy.
Things to Consider
If you live in an area of the country where sunshine isn’t very common, solar panels may not be the best option for you. Foggy and overcast climates won’t allow the panels to produce enough energy, which means it will take a lot longer to make the investment worthwhile. On the other hand, if your area does get a lot of sunlight and you choose solar power for your home, laws may require that the utility company pay you for the excess electricity produced by your solar-powered system.
When discussing options for solar panel installation, be sure to talk about warranties and other issues up front.
Other Benefits of Solar Panels
Aside from saving money and reducing the amount of energy you use to power your home, adding solar panels also offers another key benefit: drastically increasing the value of your property. Real estate agents throughout the country are looking for homes that already have solar panels so they can provide this as a selling point to customers. Federal tax credits and other rebates can also help offset the cost of the initial investment you made to get the solar panels. The estimated point at which a homeowner breaks even on the cost is about 3.6 years after installation.
Facts and Figures about Solar power
According to recent studies, the installation and usage of solar panels on your home can decrease your family’s carbon usage by over 35,000 pounds per year. You would have to plant nearly 90 trees every year to offset that much carbon dioxide. You may also be able to save a monthly average of $84 for electricity costs, although the number varies based on size and energy usage of your home. The price of solar panels has also decreased by about 60 percent in the last four years, making it more affordable to choose solar energy.
While there is an initial cost associated with solar panel installation, it is undoubtedly worth the investment if your climate is sunny throughout most of the year. Not only will you save money each month, but you can also feel good about using energy that is completely sustainable and produces no carbon footprint. With the advancements in solar technology, it is now easier than ever to find an experienced professional in your area who can help you determine the best course of action for converting your home to rely on solar energy.
So, my question is, can you solely rely on solar power as the main source of energy in your home? Tell us why.