Is Solar Energy Right For Your Home?
Solar energy is slowly climbing the ranks of energy use in homes around the world. There are both sides to the argument for solar energy and the use of solar panels in residential homes. This is a pretty polarizing issue, but becoming educated about both the pros and cons of solar panels can help you decide whether solar panels are right for you.
Solar Energy Pros
The first and most obvious benefit of using solar energy is friendliness to the environment. Solar energy is renewable; by drawing power from the sun, we will never run out of that energy source. The sun will always be part of life on Earth and using its power has no adverse effect on the sun or our planet; there are no pollutants created as by-products of solar energy. This makes solar energy sustainable while energy from fossil fuels and coal will eventually run out. Once these fossil fuels are all used up and completely gone from the planet, future generations will be faced with a big problem: Where will they turn for their main source of energy?
The second benefit is the much lower cost of energy. Harnessing power from the sun creates most if not all of the energy necessary for normal life in a home. Any additional power can be drawn from the energy source you are currently using. The monthly energy bill through this provider will be significantly reduced. Any energy that your solar panels create in excess of the amount used can even be sold back to that secondary energy provider. You may end up with a $0 balance at the end of the month!
Thirdly, solar panels have virtually no maintenance costs. Other energy sources tend to have problems from time to time with outages and downed power lines. Solar panels do not tend to experience these problems. All that is required for yearly maintenance is a semi-annual cleaning. You can also defer any repair costs by purchasing appliance insurance; many policies now cover solar panels.
The up-front cost of having solar panels installed in a home is high enough to deter most people from switching to solar energy. This is becoming less and less of a problem with government incentive programs to reduce the cost, but the cost is still pretty huge. Government incentives usually work on rebates, so you are still left with the total upfront cost until you receive the rebate at a later date. Ultimately, the savings on energy is said to justify the initial cost of installation; this will probably continue to prove itself as energy costs continue to soar.
A lack of sunlight during bad weather and during the night means that solar energy is not available 24 hours a day. Places that famously experience bad weather year-round and long periods of darkness like Seattle and Alaska are not ideal places for complete reliance on solar energy. During these times, energy in the home switches back to your standard energy source. However, as previously stated, you can sell your solar energy back to the utility company to off-set any balance incurred during times of darkness. Technology is being developed to overcome this hurdle, but right now solar energy is not an option for everyone.
What This Means For You
Solar energy currently has many advantages for those it is available to. There are many people who even make money through the government by living green; one man even wrote a book about his low cost-of-living expenses. Government incentives can take you a long way toward installing solar panels. But the truth of it is that it’s not ideal for everyone at this stage. Consider the weather and access to sunlight where you live. Look into government programs to see if incentives are offered in your area.