Solar energy can be a great energy alternative to power a home. Saving on your monthly power bill as a result of solar energy is the biggest cost benefit to these systems. Solar panel systems vary in cost and performance, with panels coming in different wattage levels. The initial costs of a solar panel system are primarily based on the panels and supporting parts of the system. These include the wiring components, racking and mounting hardware, inverter or microinverter, and installation costs. The long term paybacks of solar power tend to offset the initial investment costs since your home will be producing its own clean power. The cost of solar panel systems is calculated in cost per watt. With more solar panels in a system, the cost per watt typically decreases.
Regulating Energy Costs
The primary benefit of producing your own power with a solar panel system is that the cost of power is largely fixed. Power provided through the power company can fluctuate, with costs increasing all of the time. Solar panel systems largely protect you from these rate increases. Because of the more consistent pricing of solar panels, the value of these panels can go up when power rates increase. The payback period from solar panel systems varies, but for most residential systems, you can recoup your investment in around seven years. This will depend on the cost of power and whether the power company offers a solar rebate for installing the solar panels. Overall, though, installing solar panels can keep energy costs lower and reduce environmental impact. Many of these systems are warrantied for anywhere from 10 to 20 years–depending on the quality of the system. In general, solar panel systems have a lifespan of 40 to 50 years.
More Sustainable Power
Beyond the cost savings from transitioning to solar power, the energy produced is completely sustainable and clean when compared with energy derived from burning coal. The amount of solar energy hitting the surface of the earth in any year is twice as much as the energy obtained from every other non-renewable resource like coal, oil, and natural gas. This represents an enormous potential for transitioning to a highly efficient, sustainable form of energy. Solar power can also be used for a huge range of purposes–from agriculture and water treatment to transportation and HVAC. For residential purposes, solar energy can provide power to just about everything, from heating water to running appliances and heating or cooling the home. The efficiency and comparatively lower operational costs make solar energy one of the most consistently reliable and cost effective methods for powering everything from your refrigerator to your water heater.