The cost of solar home panels is now very attractive. Using solar power can result in major savings on electric bills.
With the growing awareness of the fact the electricity costs will continue to increase and that thermal power is doing irreparable damage to the environment, the concept of solar power for the home is changing from one that is desirable to one that is almost essential. The main impediments to the widespread use of solar power for residential purposes are the way solar panels affect the look of a home and their cost. New advances in technology have changed the picture significantly and neither of these issues is any longer a major constraint.
Solar home panels work by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity. Obviously, the larger the panel, the more electricity it can collect. In the past that meant gigantic arrays that had to be mounted on the roof. This ruined the look of a home and also sometimes damaged the structure. Modern panels are more efficient and are smaller in size and weight. Manufacturers are also aware of the affect that the panels have on the appearance of a building and are designing them in such a way that, while they cannot be completely hidden, they no longer stick out like a sore thumb. Architect are now designing homes that integrate solar panels into the overall design. Incorporating solar power into a new construction or adding a solar power system to an existing building need no longer make it look like something from a science fiction movie.
As for the cost of solar home panels, these too have reduced. The average price for a standard size panel is about $900, which works out to $12 per watt. Installing panels to provide power to a small or very energy efficient home can cost around $20,000 or more. While this may sound like a very large amount, there are two factors that more than justify the expense. Firstly, many states are offering homeowners’ rebates and subsidies on residential solar power systems and these can, in states like NY and NJ go as high as 70% of the installation cost. When these subsidies are factored into the total cost of the solar home panels, the economics become much more attractive.
The long term savings in terms of ever escalating electric bills is the other major plus point. Once the system is installed, the electricity it produces if free. Even if a domestic solar power installation does not meet the home’s full power needs, the electricity it produces will reduce the consumption of commercially generated and costly power. This saving should not be evaluated only in terms of current power costs – the expected increases over the next few years must also be factored in. When this is done the benefits of solar power in the home become more apparent.
A competent home handyman who enjoys DIY projects will be able to achieve even more savings by building and installing his own panels. With the right information, guidance and materials, a standard size solar panel can be built for as little as $200 to $250. With appearance and cost no longer major hurdles, there is little reason not to invest in solar power for the home.