Environmentalists have been talking about alternative energy sources for years now. However, for the majority of the population, these things still seem like the private realm of a select few elite green industries (and perhaps individuals) who have the luxury of being able to make gigantic initial investments in sources that will pay for themselves only slowly, after many years. Most people don’t think they have the money or the skill required to move in this direction.
Does this have to be the case? Not necessarily. Let’s take a closer look at what the process of getting and using solar panels is like. You may be surprised at how common they are becoming.
Why go solar in the first place?
We’ve all heard that using alternative energy will help save the planet. In fact, many of us have heard it so often that it basically just goes in one ear and out the other. Nonetheless, there are, in fact, countless benefits that the use of solar brings to people, and these benefits are worth considering.
First of all, most people’s immediate concerns are not the state of the planet but rather the state of their bank accounts. Well, it is estimated that people who use solar energy systems save about $1500 a year on energy bills (and actually as much as several times that amount, depending on the size of one’s home). And yes, there is a fair sized initial investment that needs to be made. But even this is incentivized by the government in such a way that makes the prospect of buying them even more attractive.
If getting panels for your home costs $20,000, the government is willing to give a 30% tax credit for them, thus reducing the cost by several thousand dollars. Given these numbers, the panels will pay for themselves within just a few years, and after that your real savings will start to become evident.
In fact, it is now possible to lease panels. Rather than making initial payments, leasing allows you to make monthly payments, as you would on leasing a car. Panels can be leased foe up to 25 years.
In addition, you won’t have to worry about sudden price hikes as a result of global energy wars, sudden outages because of a pipeline problem, or any of the things that concern people attached to region-wide systems. It may be hard to envision all of this if you are really entrenched in a routine. But habits can be changed!
Aside from all of this, the fact is that solar, like everything else that had an actual beginning at some point in time, is rapidly gaining in popularity. And of course it is this popularity that will eventually bring down the price significantly as more companies will enter the market, systems will be made more efficient and on a mass scale, and the idea will no longer belong to the realm of the elite green fanatics that it once did.
Are there drawbacks to the use of solar?
There are some potential complications you’ll need to think about. The most obvious one is the unpredictable availability of sunlight. Of course, this is how panels get charged and without it, they will eventually stop working.
Sunlight is not consistent across the country, as you know. Therefore, depending on your location it may be easier or more difficult for you to capture and store it. Naturally, this also implies that capturing the energy is dependent on the weather. So even if you are living in an area that is usually quite sunny, going through a rainy spell can mean you might run out of energy for a period.
The way that you can handle this is to pay attention to the forecast and adjust your behavior accordingly. If you’re planning to do a lot of things around the house and see that you’re not going to be getting much sun in the near future, think about putting off some of those energy-consuming tasks for a bit until you’re able to supply yourself with everything you need.
There are also other considerations such as the size of your house, available land, etc. Having a preliminary consultation with an expert will help you figure out exactly what your capacity is.
Think about the long term
Just like buying a home or making any other serious investment, the decision to switch to solar is a serious one and something not to be entered into lightly. However, if you do make the decision to go with it, you’ll find that the rewards start to build up quickly. Getting into a new routine can seem laborious at first, but you’ll find that it won’t take long to get the hang of. Not having to worry about fluctuating energy bills, price wars, or other usual concerns typically associated with traditional energy use can be a major relief.
And yes, you’ll be helping to save the planet. Once you’ve made the decision to go solar, you might want to think about taking other green measures, as well. Like getting an electric car, for example. But, one step at a time!