Going Solar Make Sense For Your Home?
you need to ask yourself before going solar
Solar power is a great
way to save money and use completely green energy, but to be perfectly
honest, it's not right for everyone. Solar power equipment
and installation is costly. Certain areas and home situations
will not be ideal for generating power, and certain cities and states
don't provide the same incentives, making it a tougher
decision. To clear up some of the questions and confusion,
here are 5 questions to ask yourself to find out if solar power is
right for you and your home.
- Are You Going To Be In Your Home For A Long Time?
This is one of the first and most important questions to ask when
considering solar power. A solar power system can be quite
costly ($10,000-$40,000 depending on the size and wattage), so just
like when purchasing a home, you'll want to weigh your options
carefully. The average home will end up saving about
$100-$200/month depending on the incentives and programs you qualify
for, so you're looking at about 4 to as much as 30 years before the
system pays for itself. If you're unsure how long you'll be
in your home, leasing your solar equipment will probably be your best
- Does Your State/City Make It Worth Your While?
This is where you're going to have to do some research. Some
states (most notably California and Vermont) heavily incentivize the
purchase, installation and use of solar panels to the extent that
you'll not only save money, but you may actually generate income from
your surplus power and from the sale of SRECs. Other states
have no such programs or even a certification program for SREC
generation, making it much more costly for the same
equipment. Do your research, and make sure to find all of the
city, state and federal programs you qualify for.
- Is Your Home In An Ideal Location?
You can't make solar power without sunlight, so having a home with a
small roof (a narrow house) or a home that is shaded by trees, hills or
buildings will severely limit the amount of power you can
generate. You don't need a massive roof in direct sunlight
for solar to make sense, but the better your situation, the more money
you'll save over the life of the panels.
- Do You Have Large Energy Needs?
Calculating your energy requirements can be tricky. Most
people do not power their homes 100% off of solar energy, but you want
to get a good idea of how much you will need. A typical solar
power system will generate between 1000-2000 kWh per month.
To get a good idea of how much power this is, the best way would be to
look at your electricity bill and see how much you're currently
using. Alternately, you could go through your home and add up
the electrical appliances you actually need. For example, a
desktop computer will use around 300-500 watts, whereas a refrigerator
will use 500-1000 watts. How this converts to kWh is take
your total wattage usage (for this example, let’s say it's
just the computer and the fridge, so around 1200 watts) times the
amount of time it's being used (again, let’s assume that they
are both used 24 hours/day) and you get 28,800 watt hours (or 28.8
kWh). There are also devices you can get to monitor your
usage, or you can simply look at your meter and measure it from month
to month or day to day.
- Is Going Green Important To You?
Finally, how important is it that you "go green"? For some,
the cost, the hassle of applying for government programs and the
potential to save little to no money depending on your situation may
not matter when you take into consideration the positive impact you'll
be having on the environment. The green aspect of going solar
is an intangible value that you'll need to think about and decide for
yourself what its worth. Ultimately, there will be some cost
associated with either decision, so weigh all of the implications and
options carefully before making your final decision.
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