6 Things to Know about Solar Energy at Home
Solar energy is an increasingly popular topic and many people are considering using solar energy at home. Learning how to install and use solar energy systems at home can be confusing, so here are six things to know about it.
1. Saving and Making Money
Money is a big incentive for switching to renewable energies like solar power. Solar panels can significantly reduce your electricity bill in both the short-term and long-term. Installing and maintaining solar panels can be more cost effective than electricity generated by traditional power plants. The electricity they produce also tends to be more efficient, which means you need to use less of it to power your appliances, saving money.
Depending on where you live, you can get tax credits or subsidies for installing a home solar system. For example, the US federal government has a net metering subsidy as well as an investment tax credit for installing solar panels.
2. Installing Panels and Batteries
You should find a professional to install your home solar system to ensure it's set up properly. Solar panels are typically installed on rooftops, but can be installed elsewhere as long as they're angled correctly to capture as much sunlight as possible. Get an inverter, a device that converts the electricity your panels generate to usable energy, installed at the same time.
Most people have some idea of what solar panels look like and how they operate, but you also need to install a solar battery to complete your home solar system. A home solar battery will store any excess electricity your panels generate so you can use it later, like during a power outage. You should set the battery to be able to power the most vital circuits in your home, like HVAC and your refrigerator. Batteries can commonly power up to four circuits.
3. Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
One of the most well-known benefits of home solar energy systems is clean, efficient energy. Using renewable energy sources like solar power instead of fossil fuels helps reduce both greenhouse gasses and the use of fossil fuels, which are both harmful to the environment and a nonrenewable resource. Solar energy can help combat pollution, climate change, droughts and risks to public health.
4. Producing Your Own Energy
You can leverage grid independence and grid parity to your advantage. Grid independence means using the energy you produce and grid parity means it's cheaper to produce your own energy than buy it from the grid. Producing your own energy is beneficial during blackouts due to weather or supply and demand issues. As home solar systems become more common and cost-effective, energy independence is becoming a more viable option for homeowners.
5. Maintaining Solar Panels
It's common to hire professionals to maintain solar panels, which require different maintenance from the rest of the system and your regular appliances. Because they're exposed to the elements, panels need to be cleaned regularly. If you choose to clean them yourself, there are cleaning kits and automatic sprinklers available. Additionally, keep an eye on structures and trees in the vicinity of the panels. You don't want anything to cover the panels in shadow and block out the sunlight they need to generate electricity.
6. Pricing Installation
When you're thinking about installing a home solar system, you need to consider pricing. There are many ways to make solar panels cost effective in both the short-term and long-term, and installation should significantly cut your energy spending. While still relatively expensive to install, the technology in these systems has improved in recent years which helps you recoup costs relatively quickly. The size of the installation can affect the price too. Larger installations will generally cost more. To offset costs, get a battery installed along with the rest of your system and take steps to reduce energy waste.
Solar energy can help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Discuss your options with a professional if you're thinking about installing solar panels.