You’ve probably been driving around in your area a few times, noticing that the neighbors all around have succumbed to the new trend that is solar paneling. You see all those shiny flat panels on their roofs, and you’re probably wondering to yourself – Is it really worth it? Are they really being as smart as they think they are being? What’s this whole movement about anyway? Well, it goes without saying that solar paneling has become almost as big as conventional electricity, if not bigger.
There is a certain feeling that comes with knowing you’re not spending a dime on utilities – you’re just sitting there on the porch, watching the sun work its magic on the beautiful panels you had installed; it’s pretty fantastic. But what exactly is the difference between the two? What are the costs regarding getting your home hooked up with solar power, and where do you go to have it done correctly? Down below are all the facts you need to know before investing in this alternative source of energy, as well as the statistics, costs, and just about any question you can have regarding the matter.
How exactly does solar energy work?
The sun produces somewhat 175 000 terawatts of energy each moment – that’s almost 10 000 times what the earth’s entire population uses per day. Solar panels are made up of solar cells that absorb the sun’s UV rays. Inside the rays are what they call photons. When absorbed, these photons travel through canals inside the solar panels, then simply disperse when they’ve done their job. That said, the sun actually has the capacity to power the entire world with clean, efficient energy – so what’s stopping us? Firstly, some parts of the world are sunnier than others, which means they would have to find ways to store and send solar energy to cloudier regions. About 50% of the sun’s UV rays also ricochet off the solar panels that have been invented. The most efficient panels that have been created absorb only about 45% of the available photons.
In contrast, most commercial solar panels absorb between 15-25 percent. Although, the possibility to power the entire world with only solar energy still exists. The earth also has the space required to store all the solar panels needed. For example, the Sahara Desert is over 3 million square miles. They would need about four hundred thousand square miles of sunny surfaces to power the earth with.
What are the costs regarding solar paneling installations?
Firstly, you’ll need to evaluate your electricity usage. The more you spend on electricity every month, the more your savings will be after installing solar panels. Also, look at your house’s orientation, the amount of sun your home gets per day, the amount of shade, and the type of roof you have. Your roof can have an impact on how much solar energy you’ll be able to produce. It’s also important to make sure your roof is sturdy enough in its current condition to ensure it can hold the solar panel. It’s essential to contact a roofing company to conduct relevant inspections on the roof, especially if you haven’t examined it yourself in recent years. Adverse weather could cause damage that you are not able to see, and a solar panel may cause additional problems, so it is crucial to address this first. You can calculate how much solar energy your area will be able to generate with a solar estimate calculator.
Pro’s and Con’s of installing solar panels
The most important thing to remember is that solar panels will either drastically reduce your utility bill or eradicate it completely. Other than that, it is an excellent investment that will also increase your home’s resale value. If you’re someone who would like to give back a little bit and lighten your carbon footprint on the world, installing solar panels is a great way to achieve just that. Having this clean energy will also reduce the stress of rising electricity costs, seeing as you’re getting your power from a very generous source – the sun. This investment will also make you less dependent on the grid and allow you to claim money back from the installations. The downside is that solar panels don’t work for all the different roof types, and it can be a pretty expensive project to embark on. Suppose your home’s electricity usage is relatively low. In that case, you will also need to think if it would be worth spending money on solar panels, seeing as your savings wouldn’t be as much either. Also, be very sure that you’re going to be staying in that house for quite a while, seeing as it would be a big hassle to remove and move it should you be thinking about moving. The point is that solar panels may not be the way to go for everyone. Still, they should be considered as an investment, because even though the initial costs are very high, in the long run, you’ll be saving much more than you spent. At the end of the day, in a world where everyone is transitioning to renewable energy, solar is also the cheapest option.
What are the statistics around solar paneling?
According to statistics, around the beginning of 2019, the United States had installed about 64 GW of solar panels, enough to power 12 million citizens. All over the world, over 29% of the population’s energy is sourced from renewable energy, where solar energy was the third most used renewable energy source in 2018. Asia has the most extensive composition of solar energy installations, running at around 275GW.
All of the above are just some examples of how far the world has progressed in the last few years regarding energy production and the footprint we are leaving on our planet. Installing solar panels for your house to run on may feel like a mediocre contribution. Still, you are the next step, the next 0.1% in our path to reaching a society wholly dependent on clean and renewable energy.
How does the maintenance on solar panels work?
This is one of the plus points for solar panels – they hardly need any maintenance. All you need to do is clean them three to four times per year with a leaf blower or even a hose, and they’ll be ready for action and in mint condition. Their lifespan is around 25 years or more, depending on how much the natural elements wore and tore on the panels. If something were to happen that was out of your control, your solar panels would have very extended warranties on them, ensuring you coverage and peace of mind. Suppose you would like to have your solar panels cleaned professionally. In that case, some companies can help you out with that – they charge between $5 and $10 per panel. They also inspect the solar panels before they clean them, which cost an additional $150. If you would rather clean them yourself, just give your local solar installation company a call – they will be able to best advise on what soap you may use and how to clean them properly. After that, a routine inspection once a year should be more than adequate to keep your solar panel system up to date. Most of the designs come with automatic monitoring as well, so it will alert you anyway should something be wrong.
After all, is said and one, the choice to install solar panels for your home is one only you can make. The pros and cons are relatively straightforward, and all of them point to one thing – self-evaluation. Before you even think about investing in these panels, do the calculations needed to know if they would be worth all the time, effort, and money. Suppose you have a large family and an even larger house that consumes electricity like there’s no tomorrow, then yes. In that case, you should definitely consider it AFTER you’ve done the math. But, if you’re single, or if you’re a small family of 3 who’s electricity bill always stays on the low side, it might not be worth the trouble as your savings would be minimal. Solar energy is still the future of our world. How far we’ve come in the last 10 years in terms of converting from harmful and polluting fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy is nothing short of inspiring. Producing enough solar energy to power the whole world should definitely be our first priority, seeing as one hour of sunlight is enough to power the entire planet for a whole year – that’s a lot of energy just waiting for us to utilize it. To top it all off, virtually zero harmful toxins are released when solar energy is converted to electricity. If that isn’t enough of a reason to transform your house into a solar-powered home, then what is?