Residential solar power systems were extremely rare even 10 years ago, but improving residential solar technology (as well as a slew of financial incentives) have allowed residential popularity to grow immensely. If you’re considering solar energy for your home, here are the fast facts you’ll want to know before getting started:
- What: Residential solar technology generally consists of panels containing photovoltaic cells. They’re tied into your home’s electric system, and your home remains connected to the grid so that you’ll still be able to draw power when there isn’t enough sunshine to meet your needs.
- Why: There are two main benefits of solar energy. The first is that it’s a green way of generating power — meaning you can continue to use the same luxuries with less guilt. But the other is that having a home solar energy system can save you quite a bit of money on your utility bills. The average monthly savings for homeowners who install solar is $84, but of course you could save even more if you live in an area with high electricity rates.
- How: Residential solar technology is complex, but here’s a much-simplified explanation of how solar panels work. Photovoltaic cells are like special batteries that collect sunlight, transform it into energy and then send it to an inverter that converts that energy to electricity. That electricity can then be used just like the electricity you get from the power company.
- Where: Solar panels are generally installed on roofs. There are various mounting systems (some that are fixed, some that can be adjusted manually and some that automatically track the sun’s movement) that aim to capture the maximum amount of sunlight.
- Who: The company you choose to install your solar energy system matters. You should look for a company that really cares about you and the environment, and not just making money on a cool new trend. You should also check out the company’s reputation, and ensure that past customers are satisfied. A residential solar system can be a significant upfront investment (though it does pay off over time), so make sure it’s a wise one.
- When: Especially now that spring is on its way and it’s becoming easier to work outside, there’s no time like the present to explore your solar options. One advantage of acting quickly is that there are currently many rebate and tax relief programs in place for homeowners who install solar power systems.
What other questions do you have about residential solar power? Ask or share your own thoughts in the comments.