It wasn’t always easy to install solar energy at home. Until two decades ago, companies that specialized in residential solar panels were essentially non-existent. Homeowners had to buy much more expensive unit designed for commercial properties. Now that there are dozens of home solar energy companies to choose from, new adopters are experiencing the benefits previously reserved for business customers.
The solar energy benefits that drive most sales are economic. A typical 200 watt solar panel can be purchased for well under $800. With several of these panels run together in series, an inverter to change the panels’ DC output into the house’s AC wiring, a 24 volt batteries to store addition power for evening and low-light conditions, and installation costs, owners can expect a full system to run cost between $5000 and $8000. Regions with an abundance of sunlight, like California, tend to yield a full return on investment within 10 years—even excluding incentives from the government.
Those incentives, however, are some of the best reasons for installing solar panels. In 2005, the Economic Policy Act provided up to a 30% tax credit for anyone who installed some type of renewable energy system in his or her household, whether it’s based on wind, geothermal or solar technology. Thanks to an extension from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, these tax credit remain in effect through 2016.
The Economic Policy Act also makes it mandatory for public utilities to offer net metering programs on customer request. If a homeowner with a grid-tie solar system generates surplus electricity, it can be routed back into the grid and sold to the utility for a credit, so that the customer is only charged for the net consumption of energy—the amount consumed less the amount produced.
Solar power is clean power. While domestic solar power companies are no different that commercial power plants when it comes to chemical emissions from the manufacturing process, each completed panel generates produces electricity with no byproducts for the rest of its lifetime, nor does it require additional consumption of nonrenewable resources. Solar power is the ideal way for homeowners to have complete control of their energy supply while dramatically reducing their carbon footprint.