Solar Energy

September 30, 2012

Questions About Solar Power For The Home

Tags: , , , , , ,

Home solar systems are no longer rocket science. Putting solar on the roof of a house is as easy as hiring a contractor. Those cells either heat water or convert light to electricity (photovoltaic). If it generates electricity the juice is either used, stored in batteries, or fed back into the power grid for storage. Unfortunately, instead of embracing the big pictures, most people feel they need to understand the details of the picture before they can make the move to solar.

While it has only been in the last few decades that solar electric has come into home use, the first photovoltaic cells were invented before 1900. That is more than a century to get it right. So, the technology is not now by any means.

The break down in that line of thinking is that most people on the street are no more likely capable of building an electric generator than they are a solar panel. It is not really about the technology. The work of a solar installer is no more mysterious than the work of an electrician of a computer repair technician. The lack of understanding of the specifics of a computer doesn’t seem to be an inhibition against owning one.

Putting those aside, the real issues remain. Consumers are mainly concerned with issues of cost and benefit. Also, They Want To Know How The experience of have solar will be different.

The typical home system costs between eighteen and forty thousand dollars. Although numerous local, state and federal programs offer tax incentives for going green with solar power. There are also a number of companies that offer creative financing for systems.

Upkeep can be a little more involved. Roof maintenance is certainly more difficult with all that solar equipment in the way. In cold climates, solar panels heating water can freeze, which necessitates the use of anti-freeze. Also, having a single solar panel go out can drop the production of the entire system by more than a quarter, so that needs to be monitored. If the system has a battery backup, those batteries need periodic checking for fluid level. Fortunately, most solar systems come with a twenty five year warranty.

The benefit of the system is free power, for photovoltaic, or free hot water. The value of that is directly related to the cost of electricity from the local utility grid. Since most utility company pricing is vulnerable to oil price considerations, it is unlikely, with diminishing fossil fuel reserves, that those prices will go any direction but up. Taking the projected power output of the system and multiplying that by the current cost from the grid and projecting a reasonable rate increase percentage, gives a good idea how quickly the system pays for itself. Then, after that, it’s free electricity.

Home solar require a large initial dollar investment. The few added maintenance tasks are less involved than maintaining a hot tub. The system will usually pay for itself around seven to ten years, and it is guaranteed to last at least twenty five. After that, who knows what mankind will be using for power.

For more info on Solar Energy, check out my Solar Power blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *