No doubt you’ve heard plenty about solar energy but always thought it was too expensive, aside from minor uses in the now popular garden lighting systems. However, with fuel prices climbing and solar cells becoming more reasonable, solar energy and adding solar power to your home is a great, long term solution to high energy bills.
That isn’t to say solar energy is cheap. Before rebates, it typically takes 12 or more years for a homeowner to make their investment in photovoltaic cells or solar panels back. That’s much longer than the average person is willing to wait while making their own solar energy. However, many states now offer rebates for producing solar energy, so the final cost of the solar panels to the homeowner is much less than it use to be. Solar energy rebates vary from state to state, so it’s impossible to say how much of an impact they have overall. There may also be federal incentives for adding solar panels for your own solar energy.
Photovoltaic Cells and Solar Energy
Solar panels are also steadily becoming more efficient. Solar panels produce more solar energy than they used to. They require relatively little maintenance, many of which you may be able to do yourself. This helps to make Photovoltaic Cells very cost effective.
Solar energy isn’t just for making electricity. You can use it heat the water for your swimming pool or heat your home. There are many options available for those who are interesting in building an energy efficient home with solar energy without sacrificing comfort.
Solar power is much, much cheaper than it used to be, as prices have fallen by 90% since the 1970s. That doesn’t make it cheap – yet! – to install enough photovoltaic cells to power a house, but in some areas the incentives given to install solar cells cuts the overall cost to the homeowner about in half.
To decide if solar energy is right for you, take some basic figures into consideration.
- Check your energy consumption. You need to know how big a system you will need to power your home. Make sure you consider your highest consumption levels and the possibility that it will grow somewhat.
- Find out how much a photovoltaic system to meet your need will cost you. The size of the photovoltaic cells will depend both on your solar energy need and on the available sunlight (solar resource) in your area.
- Find out what rebates and incentives are available to you to help decrease your costs.
- Consider whether your system will be on the grid or off. On the grid has the advantage that you can sell when you have an excess and buy electricity when you don’t have enough, while with an off the grid system you have a battery to store your excess.
- Consider what the environmental benefits are worth to you. This is a personal factor rather than a direct economic one. It won’t save you money, but knowing that you’re contributing a little less to pollution with solar energy might change how you feel about the expense.