Benefits of Solar energy in homes
Benefits of Solar energy in homes
Solar power systems are an excellent option for homeowners who wish to cut down on their electric bill and decrease carbon footprints. It can also result in increased home value. The benefits are accompanied by substantial costs for maintenance and installation. The amount of gains can differ from one house to the next.
This article can assist homeowners in making the financial calculations needed to determine whether solar energy is feasible for their home.
Understanding Solar Power System
It is simple to figure out whether solar panels are installed and if it is financially feasible for your home. Calculate:
- Cost of the solar power plant
- It will generate a great deal of energy
- You’d spend more money than the energy you use.
- How long will it take for your upfront expenditure in savings on energy to pay off?
- How long will it take before the government can pay off its debts in five years?
If it does and you’re able to pay the money upfront, it’s likely a good idea. You should carefully consider whether you’ll need to save more or borrow funds to fund the project.
But, in reality, things don’t always go as smoothly. These elements can differ greatly that can lead to the advantages and expenses from solar panels on two houses to be drastically different.
There are some tools that can assist. The LA Solar Group provides a calculator that quickly provides you with representative costs when you set up solar power plants across every area of the U.S. This calculator is a good starting point if you’re new to solar energy or if you are looking to gain a better understanding of the cost-based model.
We’ll walk you through all the crucial factors to consider when making a decision on the potential savings and cost of solar energy for your home in the rest part of the article.
The Solar Power Costs for homeowners
Let’s first look at the initial cost of installing solar panel systems for your home. A residential solar panel system costs between $3,500 to $16,000 at the start.
The wide variety of costs is why? The primary reason is the price of a system will differ based on the size of the system and also what type of panel it has. Whichever method you select, installing solar panels can be costly. The major expense associated with owning a system is the upfront expense of buying the equipment. The biggest component of the overall expense will be your solar system.
There may be additional charges. An inverter to convert current source from the panel into alternating power utilized by home appliances and process to calculate (if necessary to measure how much generating power was created), different housing components wires, cables or equipment are required for installation. Many homeowners are considering battery storage. Battery storage has historically been expensive and unnecessary if the excess solar power is paid for by the utility. It is also crucial to take into account the cost of labor for installing batteries.
There are other costs with maintaining and operating the PV array. The inverter and the batteries if they exist should be replaced after a period of time.
While the aforementioned cost are relatively straightforward, and a solar solar company can usually provide a cost for the householder local or government electric assistance is more difficult. While solar incentives for installation vary frequently however, it is the US government has already approved tax credits for solar systems of up at 30% off the total cost of the system.
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency website has more details about incentive programs in the U.S., including programs within states. Similar information can be found on websites of solar advocacy or government in other nations. Check with your local utility company to find out whether they offer incentives to solar installation and what their policy is on grid interconnection, and selling surplus power to grid interconnection.
Calculating Your Energy Production
When you calculate your system another factor to take into consideration is the amount of energy your system can generate. For even the most knowledgeable, this is a complex calculation. Let’s look at the fundamentals.
The solar radiation levels in your home are an important factor to take into. It is all about how much sunlight you have. While it is recommended to have solar panels close to the equator, there are other aspects to take into consideration. It is worth mentioning the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which produces maps of areas in the U.S. that show solar radiation levels, and its website provides precise information on specific locations in the U.S.
Your home’s orientation is equally crucial. A south-facing roof with no trees or other obstructions to sunlight maximizes the energy of sunlight. Panels can also be mounted on support structures outside of the house and placed away from the house. This can incur additional charges for the cables and hardware.
The size of your system is also important. The theoretical power output of the solar panel is measured in the watts. A typical capacity of PV arrays, commonly referred to as the capacity ratio, is between 15 percent and 30%.6 A household with a 3 kWh house system that operates at a capacity of 15% factor would produce approximately 3 kWh, which is 15 times 24/7 = 3,942kWh/year. It is approximately one-third of average consumption of electricity in the U.S.
How much money can you save?
It is possible to estimate the amount of energy savings per year by knowing upfront how much the solar power plant will cost as well as the amount of energy it will generate.
This is a difficult figure because everything depends on how much you are charged for electricity. Residential customers are charged an annual fee for energy regardless of the time it is used. Solar energy systems are used to offset the electric cost that homeowners pay, rather than compensating for the heavy price of electricity generated at peak hours. This is than the typical cost of power generation.
Numerous U.S. utility companies have implemented pricing mechanisms that permit homeowners to pay various rates throughout the day in order to cover the costs of electricity production. This is why there are higher rates for the afternoon, but lower rates during the night. A location with this kind of variable rate might consider installing an array of solar panels that are PV. Solar energy could be able to offset the most expensive electric power.
It’s contingent upon the amount of rate changes that occur under the plan and the timing they occur. Similar pricing strategies are employed by utilities in particular locations. These rates can vary according to the seasonal fluctuations in demand. Solar power is more expensive when it has higher summer rates.
These plans can be utilized by some utilities to adjust the cost of electricity as the consumption grows. This strategy allows the benefits of a solar system to depend on how much electricity is used. In certain regions, prices increase dramatically as people consume more. Large houses with high energy requirements may be most likely to require solar panels to offset high-cost consumption.
It could be possible for some homeowners to sell solar power back to the grid in order to save cash. This is known as net metering within the United States. Residential customers utilize the power they generate through solar panels to offset their power usage elsewhere. Electric bills for the month are a measurement of net energy consumption. There are different policies and regulations regarding net metering that are applicable to each region. For more information, homeowners can go to the DSIRE database. It is also recommended to contact their local utilities.
Calculating Solar Power Costs
It is now possible to calculate the final value and evaluate solar power’s value for you.
You can utilize Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), to evaluate the overall costs and benefits of a solar system. The first outflows of the project would be the initial installation cost, not including subsidies. The inflows will come later, in the form of offset cost of electricity (both direct and via net meters).
Instead of using DCF Solar power’s viability is often determined by calculating its levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) and then comparing it to the electricity price charged by the local utility. The cost/kilowatt hour (or C//kWh) will be calculated to determine the cost of LCOE of solar panels for the home. This is the same format as electricity bills. The following equation could use to calculate the LCOE:
LCOE ($/kWh), = Net Present Value (NPV) of the Lifetime cost of ownership ($)/Lifetime Energy Output ($kWh).
A PV solar module’s useful life is typically 25-40 years.7 To determine the NPV, the module must also take into account maintenance costs. The LCOE can be compared with the price of electricity from an utility. Be aware that the price of electricity is the one that happens in the peak solar production.
Is Solar Power Worth It?
After you have completed all of these calculations and calculations, you’ll be left with one number: the number of years it will take for a solar system to pay for your energy costs. You might be able to find an array of systems that achieve this goal in 5 or 6 years if you reside in a sunny part of the country, with significant energy bills. Some may have to wait 10 to 20 years before reaching this level.
The bottom line is that homeowners will be able to see the benefits of a solar power system in the future. It might take years before they realize the benefit. It is often a matter of the necessity to invest in a system of this kind. The factors to consider are the length of time you intend to be at home, what subsidies are available, and whether you care about the environment.
The pros and cons to solar panel systems for homes
Like everything else is not without its benefits and disadvantages. But, you might find that some of the economic costs can be offset by the environmental benefits and lower carbon footprint. This is more crucial than a solely financial analysis.
Solar Energy Pros
- You can lower the carbon footprint of your home by using green energy
- You can also sell the excess energy that you’ve produced using net meters
- Certain tax credits from the federal government might be available to you
Solar Energy Cons
- Maintenance and installation costs are extremely high.
- Solar only works when there is sunlight
- Every couple of years, components of the system need to be replaced
- Some tax breaks could have been canceled or are set to expire
Can a home be run by solar power alone?
It’s rare to find it. Solar is only effective when there is light. If it is dark or cloudy, solar is not able to produce electricity. Although there are battery options which can power your home at these times, they can be very expensive. Grid power is still being used by most homes that have solar panels.
Are Solar Panels really worth it?
It is possible for the system to pay back its costs over time, depending on the location you reside in. Because you won’t have to pay for as much electricity from your utility it is feasible. There could be a decrease in your monthly bills when net metering is activated.
The cost of electricity has been steadily declining over the time. The power output of your array will determine your total cost. Consumer reports show that the cost for a solar panels system for an average-sized home within the U.S. ranges between $11,000 and $15,000.8