Read these 2 Solar Power Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Energy Saving tips and hundreds of other topics.
With all the economic stimulus-induced hype about Green Energy, solar electric panels have become a hot topic again. Not since the mid 1970's have we seen such a surge in solar installations. Interest in this technology rises and falls in step with oil prices, and waxes and wanes as tax credits are legislated, then expire. Nevertheless, home solar power systems should be seen as long-term investments, not a passing fad.
The choice to go solar is driven by a mix of logic and emotion. On the side of emotion, pride in reducing your carbon footprint, fear of spiraling energy costs, and the desire to live "off the grid" all fuel the fervor for solar installations. On the side of logic, installing solar electric panels on your home is an investment that will immediately begin paying dividends in the form of energy savings. This investment will eventually more than repay itself once you've survived the payoff period.
Unfortunately, any payoff period calculation for solar panels is bound to be way off. Because this calculation is extreme sensitivity to input factors such as the long run cost of grid power and the interest rate you'll be paying to finance the purchase, positive emotions must trump financial logic as the stronger drivers to install solar electric panels.
We do know that the federal government is offering a 30% federal tax credit (up to $1000/installed kilowatt maximum) for your primary residence, expiring in 2016. Many states are offering similar credits.
Even considering federal and state tax credits, sober calculations of the number of years it will take to break even on a US-based solar installation can easily range from 20 - 60 years. If we can offer one bit of advice, it would be to challenge any solar installation company's sales pitch about long-term savings if their calculations ignore the cost of borrowing by assuming a zero interest rate!
Is yours one of the many households whose energy bills, and, in particular, electricity bills, seem to be skyrocketing from one month to the next, and wondering if it's ever going to end? Well, it can end, and the beginning of the end could be provided by a sound investment in solar energy.
Residential solar power systems in the USA and many other countries are now as affordable as they've ever been thanks to government incentives and rebates that help to reduce the initial cost of installing one of the many residential solar power systems available on the market.
One of the best things you can do before running out to buy solar panels is look at your current electricity usage and see where you can make reductions. The reason for this is to reduce the cost of the solar power system you'll need, because one of the major factors in determining the size of the system to be installed is your electricity usage. Since, even with rebates, solar panels are expensive, when you buy solar panels as part of your system, the fewer you need, the cheaper the overall cost of the system.
Following this tip can save you thousands of dollars on the cost of a solar energy.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|