Homeowners who use solar energy don’t just do so for ideological reasons. There are very practical, concrete benefits to installing photovoltaic or cells or solar water heaters. A home powered by the sun has economic and quality-of-life advantages are becoming increasingly well known. Within decades, the advantages of solar power will probably become more the a luxury; it will become a necessity, as fuel prices continue to increase.
One must take the long view to fully appreciate the benefits of solar power. The initially high upfront cost of solar energy systems becomes amortized over time. The best way to look at energy savings is to break down the price of a system into its equivalent in price per kilowatt hour to compare it to utility rates. For instance, an $8,000-10,000 system with a $1,000 installation cost will be the equivalent of 20 years of municipal power rates at $0.30/kwhr—which doesn’t even account for reimbursements from government assistance programs that are often available.
If your home more power than the residents consume, the surplus power can be sold back to your utility company for a credit though a system called net-metering. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council maintains a database with municipal, state and financial incentive programs throughout the United States, and well as information on net-metering projects managed by the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy program from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Convenience Advantages of Solar Energy
Many solar products, especially solar powered lighting systems, are easy to install, since they don’t require additional wiring work. One of the main advantages of solar energy is that it can work off the grid, making it ideal for ranches, cabins, farms, or other remote areas.
Beyond the off-grid benefits of solar energy, solar is clean technology, with no fuel to transport, and no emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, or other greenhouse gases. In addition to having no exhaust, solar systems have no moving parts, which greatly reduces the number of maintenance and repair issues that can possibly occur. Even wind power technology involved turbines that need lubrication and cleaning from time to time. And unlike wind turbines or more conventional energy solutions, solar systems are completely silent in their operation. A homeowner can essentially install a solar system once, then forget about it for the rest of its lifetime.
Naturally, the fact that solar energy is renewable is its most appealing aspect. Even homeowners aware of solar energy advantages and disadvantages are aware of the need for Americans, and everyone in affluent, industrialized countries, to reduce our dependence on rapidly depleting fossil fuel sources.