Solar Power: The Future Is Here Now

Solar Power: The Future Is Here Now
  • Opening Intro -

    Before the turn of the century, solar-powered homes were considered a utopian fantasy.

    Now, in the 21st century, all this has changed because of an increased worry about the climate change.

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In response, the government has offered tax incentives for those interested in installing residential solar panels. What was once thought of a futuristic idea is now considered a practical one.

How do solar panels ameliorate the effects of climate change? These panels help combat climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of your home by 35,180 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. It would take 88 trees to offset this huge volume of carbon dioxide.

While there are many reasons why you should consider installing solar panels, one compelling reason is that it will slash your electric bill by about $84 a month. Solar panels are special batteries that convert the energy of the sun into energy that can power a home. Photovoltaic cell harnesses the energy of the sun by sending it into an inverter that transforms it into electricity.

Hire a Professional

While you may love DIY projects, installing a solar panel requires some expertise. Professional installers have been trained to figure out where to place the panels and how to hook up the necessary wiring.

When looking for a solar panel professional installer, find one who offers a reliable warranty. What is a strong warranty? It’s one that covers the inverter for 10 years and the panels for at least 20 years. Find a US based manufacturer who is licensed and bonded, has a clean record with the Better Business Bureau, and has a minimum of 2 references from customers.

Huge Price Drop

Although solar panels used to be expensive, in 2011 the price dropped by 60 percent. It will cost you about $17,000 to have solar panels installed, factoring in subsidies and federal and local tax credits. Residential and commercial property owners can receive a 30 percent tax credit. The federal tax incentive is called the ITC, or Investment Tax Credit, and it is offered to those willing to install solar panels before 2017. Meanwhile, state and municipality vary in local tax incentives. Naturally, you will want to look into the many ways you can get subsidies, rebates, and other financial incentives.

Lease, Finance, or Buy?

If you lease solar panels, you are essentially just borrowing them. Besides the promise of defraying the cost, leasing companies sweeten the deal by offering to cover repair and maintenance costs. Financing may also look tempting, especially since interest rates are at a historic low. If you have good credit, you might even get a deal on the money you borrow. However, this plan will not save you money if your electric bill is higher than your loan payment.

Get more information about solar power and other energy efficient ideas. Give this article a quick comment/share and then skip over to our home energy savings center for more energy saving ideas.

The best idea is to just go ahead and buy solar panels. Not only do you get a variety of tax incentives but you also increase the value of your home. You home will also be easier to sell than others in your neighborhood who don’t have solar panels—because the new buyer will be able to save energy without having to install solar panels. Be aware that your homeowner’s insurance will go up by a few dollars a month.

Solar Panel Installation

While the actual project itself, the installation and wiring only takes a few days, it can take weeks before the installer can begin. One reason for the delay is that a permit is necessary, and this increases the lead time. Usually, the installer takes care of the application process. 

Work is usually done between 10 am and 2 pm because it has to be done at the time your roof gets direct sun. Working within this time frame allows everything to be set up properly so that the system will work well. 

The main reason you should use a professional installer, even if you have a lot of technical skills, is because they understand how best to position the solar panels. Chimneys, other buildings, or trees can all affect decisions about placement. In addition, different types of panels react to shades in different ways, with some reducing output and others shutting down. The installer works to expose the panels to the sun for many hours to maximize the efficiency with which they can generate power. Another thing to keep in mind is where you live. A home in Nevada can be more efficient than one in Illinois. This is due to the amount of solar radiation to reach the ground, which is referred to as insolation.

Figuring out how many solar panels you will need depends on certain calculations. You have to figure out how many hours of peak sunlight your home receives. You also have to figure out the number of kilowatts of energy you consume per day and multiply this by .25. The information about kilowatt usage can be found in your electric bill.

An Eco-Friendly Solution

Solar energy is not a passing fad, but a trend that will continue to gain momentum in the future. Our current way of powering homes is not sustainable and the promise of solar energy is the best solution to get high quality energy at the lowest price.

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