Switching to solar power as a source of energy seems to be the trend right now with many homeowners and the solar industry is better than ever but, unlike some trends, there’s a good reason why. Solar offers many benefits and can change your life. It’s not only good for the individual switching as it can dramatically cut electricity rates, but it also offers benefits for society as a whole by helping reduce our carbon footprint.
How does solar power work?
Solar energy is dependent on a solar panel. From the largest solar power system to the smallest, there will be a panel of some kind in place that soaks up the energy from the sun. These panels change sunlight into energy that powers whatever you need to be powered—lights, appliances, heating, etc.
In household solar power systems, solar panels would be placed on the roof of a home and all throughout the daylight will hit the panel. The panel converts the sun’s particles into electrons which flow from the panel into an inverter which converts it to AC power. AC power is what powers appliances, TVs, computers, and more in your home.
It should be noted the things that are being powered still work the same. Let’s say you want to run a toaster on solar energy in your home. You simply plug the toaster into the outlet in your kitchen and use it as you would with other forms of energy. The solar energy is converted into the form of energy you are used to using throughout your home.
Though it might seem confusing or overwhelming to think about switching your home to solar energy, once the transition is complete you’ll barely notice you’re using a different type of energy. However, you will enjoy a number of benefits.
What Are the Advantages of Solar Power for Homeowners?
The benefits of solar power are obvious. First of all, solar energy is sustainable and renewable. You never need to worry about “running out” of solar energy sources as long as the sun continues to burn. If you live in an area with rolling brownouts or blackouts, solar can be a lifesaver. While everyone else is conserving energy you can just go about your regular day without concern. Solar energy comes from a natural power source that is in infinite quantity and can significantly reduce energy costs. As “clean energy,” it also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide and, the more that people go solar, the more it would ultimately help to slow down the process of global warming.
Off-Grid Power Source
Solar power serves as a source of power that allows you to be “off the grid.” This means you aren’t relying on a third-party source to supply your power saving on costs (energy bills). You can do as you please, as long as your system is funneling energy into your home. In some cases, people utilize off-the-grid solar power to travel to remote areas or to even live full-time in remote areas. One of the primary advantages of solar power is it gives you the freedom to live away from and not rely on third-party power suppliers to give you energy.
Easy to Maintain
Installing solar panels to generate electricity takes a bit of investment and time to set up but, once it’s in place, there is very little that needs to be done to maintain it. Once the panels are in place and brought to maximum efficiency, all you need to do is make sure they stay clean and continue to absorb the sun’s energy.
Quiet and Clean
Solar power is produced with no pollution of any kind, sound or otherwise. You can use solar energy without hearing a sound. You’re also able to enjoy how clean solar power is because nothing is burning. Solar energy produces zero emissions and has no adverse effect on the environment.
Solar panels are unobtrusive and barely noticeable. Most people don’t give this much thought until they are thinking about upgrading to solar energy, but all that’s needed on the exterior of a building for solar energy to work is a panel or several panels. It has little to no effect on the architectural integrity of a building.
In many areas, you’ll receive generous tax rebates for upgrading to solar energy. You can get a significant portion of your initial investment back right after upgrading by including the upgrade on your tax return. The government understands how upgrading to solar power benefits the community as a whole and it rewards those who choose to invest in this upgrade.
Selling Back Solar Energy
Another way solar power is a great financial upgrade is because it allows you to sell back solar credits you won’t be using. If your system produces more energy than you need, you can allow the energy company to tap into your supply and essentially sell the energy your system is producing.
Saving Money Long-term
One of the biggest benefits of upgrading to solar power is the financial savings you’ll enjoy. Even if your system is a combination of solar energy and traditional energy from third-party sources, you’ll be paying less overall. The initial cost of upgrading to solar can be pricey, but it pays for itself over time and eventually allows you to pay less for the energy you use.
What You Should Know Before Upgrading to Solar Power
Despite all the advantages of solar power, it’s not the right option for everyone.
Before upgrading, you need to make sure your location is right for solar. You need the sun to be able to access your panels without any obstruction and the best option is for your roof to be situated in the right manner. According to the Department of Energy, this means the panels should be south-facing or east-west facing at an angle of no more than 45 degrees.
You should still be able to access the grid if need be, even if you upgrade to solar. Some people want to jump completely into solar, but it’s important to have a backup energy source if there is ever a time solar cannot meet your needs. This also allows you to take advantage of selling credits back to the power company.
Finally, you need to look at your energy usage and determine at what point solar is a good investment. Essentially, there’s a “tipping” point at which solar becomes a wise upgrade, but this varies from situation to situation. Knowing what you use and how that looks if you switch to solar makes a huge difference when you upgrade.