Most of us are interested in how to save energy, whether it’s to bring our bills down or because we are concerned about the impact our energy consumption has on our fragile planet. Of all the alternative clean energy options out there, solar energy is one of the most accessible, affordable and effective. The technology has been available for a while, and a great deal of effort has been put into making it effective. But the big question is not just how to save energy but also how to save money. So how cost effective is solar energy in the domestic residence?
First of all, working out what you can save by switching to solar depends on what type you are thinking of installing. Do you want solar panels that just heat your hot water? Are you only looking for solar power to heat your swimming pool? Or are you looking for panels that generate domestic electricity? These are two very different things. Obviously, generating electricity for the whole of your home will save you more, but it will also cost you more to set up.
The main demand for home solar power is for domestic water heating. Though the potential for savings is greater, in order to generate that extra power for your home you will require more panels and a larger initial cash outlay. On the plus side, you may be able to get subsidies in your area to help with installation of solar power and there may be both federal and state tax credits that will also help to offset the setup costs. Though these can be substantial, the technology is durable, and should last for decades.
An attractive feature of solar power for people seeking energy savings is that with solar panels that generate electricity there can be the option of selling the surplus power back to the grid. This is ideal for areas that are drenched in sunshine and where solar generates more than can be used. Solar energy generated in summer can then be used to subsidize bills in winter. This is how savings can be made all year round if you live in an area that does not receive substantial sun in winter.
A new option that may be worth considering is leasing the photovoltaic panels required to generate energy, instead of buying them outright. There are potential savings to be had both ways. Leasing may render you ineligible for certain subsidies and tax benefits, with the obvious budget implications. On the other hand, as solar technologies keep improving; leasing is a way to keep up with advances in efficiency.
The company quoting you for your solar power installation are the best people to give you an idea of how much you can save, after an expert assessment of your property. You can also cross-check or get an estimate of potential cost benefits by using one of the solar energy savings calculators available online for people wanting to know more about how to save energy. It’s almost certainly going to be worth it to switch.
Posted November 12, 2013
by Gabriel Posternak.