I just did a redesign of my site, tell me what you think in the comments. I kept the same header because I think it speaks to what I’m about. I tried to make it look a bìt cleaner and easier to read and navigate. I hope you like it! Today`s post is about whether we should consider going solar or not.
Being a homeowner I am always looking for ways to lower our bills, especially our utility bills. We`re big on turning off the lights when we`re not in a room and not leaving the TV on if we`re not watching it, but we`re looking for other ways to save.
I have been reading about solar power and although we`re not sure if it’s something we will consider in the future, it`s definitely worth looking into to see if it really is a cost saver. Every month we spend a chunk of our money on electricity, gas and other sources of energy. At the same time, we are directly or indirectly polluting the environment by burning fossil fuels or using energy produced by burning fossil fuels. One way to help solve this problem is to use renewable energy.
This is because it is the most widespread of all renewable energy sources, simply because sunlight is available almost everywhere on earth. But still, should we go solar? Can it generate enough power for our home? Can we afford it? And how cost-effective is it? These are just some of the questions I have before deciding if it is the right move or not. Here is what I learned.
What is a home solar power system?
A home solar power system consists of one or more solar panels, a set of batteries and an inverter. The solar panels are installed on the roof or any part of the house that gets direct sunlight at least a few hours every day. The panels are made of an array of silicon cells that generate electricity when exposed to sunlight. The electricity generated is stored in the battery which supplies DC electricity to the inverter which converts that to AC electricity and powers light bulbs and home appliances. You can power your TV, computer, DVD player, refrigerator and other appliances with solar electricity.
How clean is solar electricity?
Solar power is one of the cleanest sources of energy available today. The silicon cells are sealed inside airtight glass panels and they produce absolutely no contaminants. Solar batteries and inverters are also extremely safe and do not release any toxic substances into the atmosphere. The only time solar panels may not be clean is during the manufacturing process when chemicals are used to make silicon wafers. However, good manufacturers use highly controlled environments and processes to minimize the pollution. With solar system installed in our home, we won`t have to worry about any pollution in the environment.
How much does a solar system cost?
The initial cost of a solar system can be up to $30,000 here in Canada. But after that there are practically zero costs involved. Best of all, it produces electricity for about 35 years. We can lower the cost of installation by buying DIY solar panels, which cost less, but we wouldn`t take that route. The Canadian government also gives out grants for people that install solar systems, so that would be a way to get back some of the money spent.
Can you sell the excess electricity generated?
Besides using solar electricity to light up our home and power our electrical and electronic appliances, we can also use it to make an extra income. In Europe and Australia, it is a very common practice to sell excess electricity generated by home solar power systems to the national or regional grid through the feed-in tariff system. This is also available here in Canada. The practice is not yet so widespread in the USA, but if you live in California, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Rhode Island and Hawaii you can sell your excess electricity to the state grid. Several other states are gearing up to introduce this system so it will be available throughout the USA in the future.
Do you or would you get a solar power system?
Photo by Mike Ryan