As more and more people are becoming aware of green initiatives, saving money using solar energy has become a popular topic. While some people choose to go solar for environmental reasons, there are other ‘financial’ benefits as well. Using natural energy is the logical choice for anyone, either looking for practical ways to save money, or environmentally conscious home and business owners trying to save nature.
The first thing to consider when deciding on solar energy is how the cost compares to comparable services. Solar panels are a fairly good investment up front (unless you install your own), but the cost is much lower in the long run.
As gas prices continue to rise, we are seeing an increase in the cost of everything – including our energy bills. Each year, we continue to see the prices inch up, making the electric bills a huge chunk of our expenses. Once solar energy panels are installed, the price is set; the sun doesn’t change rates, so electric bills become more manageable.
Solar panels are also a good long term investment. Once installed, the panels will not only pay for themselves in savings, but they will withstand the test of time. Most solar panels are estimated to last 30 years, easily making it through in all-weather conditions. Even in the harsh winters, solar panels can be a valuable asset in areas that don’t get continual sun. However the return on investment will not be as great in areas that get less sun.
Many programs are popping up offering tax credits as an incentive to install solar power in homes and businesses. While these programs are continually changing, the government is rewarding individuals who want to save on their power bills. Research your state and federal rebates before installing solar electricity, and find someone, who installs them, that is familiar with the latest programs. Qualified installers will be able to provide you with the proper paperwork for filing tax rebates on your solar panels.
Areas of the country that receive sunlight in abundance reap maximum benefits from installing solar panels. The more sun you receive the bigger the return on your investment. Homes that have solar panels installed and get plenty of sunlight can expect a surplus that can either be sold back to the power company, or stored for electrical outages. Imagine being able to actually sell back electricity to the electric company, or to have electricity stored during a storm or downed power lines. All these possibilities make solar energy a very tempting investment.
While it is true that surplus energy is a possibility, there are factors to take into consideration; it will be dependent on the weather conditions (an extended period of cloudy days) as well as the use in your home.
Save Even More Building Your Own Panels
Many people simply look at the rate of return on solar panels and decide that earning back the investment takes too long. These figures are generally calculated on professionally installed solar panels.
There are many plans available that make it easy to install your own panels at home. If you are a fairly competent ‘do-it-yourselfer’, then you can probably install your own solar panels using plans.
Plans are widely available for solar panels, as well as the necessary parts. You can order everything you need and install your own panels over a few weekends.
Installing Solar Panels
Whether you are installing your own panels, or having someone install them for you, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Location is important. You can use online guides to estimate savings for your zip code; certain areas will benefit more than others from the investment.
- Placement of solar panels on your property can affect their effectiveness. Panels need to be placed in an open area where they can receive full sunlight.
- The number of panels installed directly affects the output of electricity. The more solar panels you install, the less you can depend on the electric company. This also involves more space as well – can you spare the room in your yard or on the roof to become completely solar?
- Will your return on investment be worthwhile in your location? Some people are more concerned with installing panels for environmental reasons, but those concerned with cost need to weigh the cost/benefit for such a large investment.
- Solar panels can be a primary or a supplemental source of power. Some people try to rely completely on solar power, but there are drawbacks for lifestyle changes with this option as the power is not always reliable.
Solar panels are becoming the new ‘it’ thing for homes, particularly in areas of the country that receive an abundance of sunlight. As the green initiatives propel us into conservation, this isn’t the only reason to use solar panels. Not only are fuel prices rising, making it more and more difficult to afford standard electricity, fuel is also an exhaustible resource. Eventually it will be more difficult to get fuel, making it necessary to find other resources. The sun is a constant resource, and using it to help power our homes is a wise choice.
Whether for your pocketbook, or to be environmentally conscious, the choice of solar panels is ultimately intertwined. By helping the environment and going natural, you will save money. That is a win-win situation for you and our earth.
Written by Mirsad Hasic. Hasic writes for the Alternative Energy Geek where he shares his knowledge about the different types of alternative energy sources.