Many homeowners are making the switch to solar power. If have considered making the switch for your home, you may have a few questions about whether this choice is right for you and your family. The best place to start is by learning how solar power works, deciding whether to buy or lease and what the advantages are to going solar.
Harnessing the Sun’s EnergyEvery day, the sun produces an unlimited amount of sunlight. This sun’s energy can be harnessed using solar panels that are installed on your roof that collect it. This energy is then converted to usable energy via a power inverter and sent through the system for use in your home. There are different types of solar installations available for homeowners with the most common for homes being a grid-tied or a stand-alone grid-tied system. With a grid-tied system, your home uses the energy that is generated by the sun during the day. The excess energy is not used is sent back out to your electric supplier’s power grid and is usually credited on your bill. At night, your home will rely on power from the electric company. The stand-alone grid-tied system is the same, but it offers a battery backup system to keep your home powered during a storm or other problems that take down power from the electric company.
Buy or LeaseYou need to decide whether you want to purchase or lease your system. If you choose to lease, your upfront costs, if any, are minimal. The installation company will maintain your system and in return, they will receive the profit from the excess energy that is passed along to the electric company’s grid.
You may have the option to purchase your system outright. The initial cost to purchase outright is greater, but if you make the switch by December 31, 2016, you will be eligible to recoup 30 percent of your installation costs with a federal tax credit. You may also be eligible for additional rebates and credits from your state or local government and your utility company. Owning your system outright means you will not need to
Added Advantages of Solar PowerThere are many advantages to switching to solar power for your home:
- It’s good for the environment. Unlike fossil fuels that pollute the air and are in limited quantity, the solar energy does not pollute the air and is completely renewable.
- Solar equipment requires little maintenance. With very few moving parts, solar panels are virtually maintenance free and can last at least 25 years.
- Helps you avoid future price increases in energy. Fossil fuel prices are very volatile and this volatility usually is tied to political and economic policies with foreign countries.