Considering Home Solar Systems?
Home solar systems are growing in popularity and use as costs go down and efficiency increases, making this alternative form of energy more sustainable for a home consumer. In the past solar was a questionable proposition, with high expense and low expected returns on your investment, but with recent technological advances it’s become much more reasonable and is gaining ground among home-owners looking to save on energy bills and gain some much needed independence from the grid.
Let’s talk about home solar systems a little more in depth.
- Why solar?
- Financial considerations
- Moving forward
What are the benefits of residential solar systems? Solar is a completely clean source of energy, with zero emissions associated with solar electricity production, making you part of the environmental solution, reducing your carbon footprint and removing some dependence on fossil fuels.
Savings is often another compelling reason to go with home solar systems. The sun is a completely free source of energy (excluding the cost of installing and maintaining the system, of course) and will be available for the foreseeable future as such. Those who have switched over to solar, or simply augmented their energy intake with solar save significant money on their energy bill each year.
Speaking of cost, how much will it cost to install and maintain home solar systems? The average up-front cost of new home solar power systems is about $20,000-$40,000 or about the price of a new car. The price of solar panels has dropped 60% since the start of 2011 and government incentives, subsidies, and tax credits lower the cost even further, making now an excellent time to buy-in to home solar systems. A permanent installation, usually, comes with tax advantages and will increase the value of your home, but permanent isn’t the only option. It is also possible to lease a system, and a leasing company will often cover repairs and maintenance.
Interest rates for solar loans are lower than ever, so financing may be a viable option if you have decent credit. Make sure your loan payment is less than your electricity bill before choosing this option, otherwise you’ll be losing money, which is counter-productive.
A properly installed system will not require much in the way of maintenance. Every 6-12 years the PV batteries will need to be replaced, and the occasional breakage in the system will require attention, but these are few and far between and low in cost.
Home solar systems can be complex, so it is likely the best option to hire a professional contractor to at the very least do the initial installation. It is possible to maintain your own system, it’s even possible to install your own system, but not recommended.
If you’re considering home solar systems, having a pro come out and look at your house to assess its eligibility for solar, give suggestions on what panels, how many, and where may be an excellent first step in moving forward. To really take advantage of solar you will want a site with minimum shade, and a rooftop with maximum direct sunlight throughout the day to make full use of the panels.
The contractor will help you size your system, buy the best panels and wire them according to local regulations. When hiring a professional make sure they have all the necessary permits and licenses to install home solar systems. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make sure you understand what you’re getting and why, this is your new solar energy system after all.