Alternative Energy Debate
Anyone who has kept up with current economic and political events has for sure heard both sides of the energy debate. It is a widely accepted fact that fossil fuels will one day run out. When they do, we will be left without the major source of energy to the world. Many in Washington and around the world are making a push towards ‘green energy.’ This refers to clean, environmentally friendly energy production and consumption. Renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind power, hydroelectric power, and biofuels fall into the ‘green energy’ category. Other components of the energy debate demand more drilling of fossil fuels. This would lower the cost of oil in the short term, but is not a permanent fix to the problem that will soon face everyone on the planet.
Alternative energy sources are being developed and advanced. Geothermal power plants are capturing energy from inside the earth. Nuclear power plants are capturing the energy released from radioactive decay. New developments are being made to increase the output and efficiency while decreasing the cost of that energy production. Wind and solar farms are springing up around the world. Soon, it might not be far-fetched to see solar panels on every home.
Advantages of Solar Energy
Solar energy is an attractive alternative energy source because it can be such a compact energy producer. Wind turbines and hydroelectric plants need special land requirements (large tracts of windy land in the case of wind power and a river in the case of hydroelectric power). A solar energy system is small enough to be installed on the roof of a house, and the only requirements are that the light from the sun reach the panels during the day.
There are many advantages to installing a solar energy system on your home. First of all, the source of energy is the sun. Sun light is free and will be forever (unless the government decides to somehow tax it). This means that after the installation of the system, there will be an endless supply of free solar energy for homes.
Solar energy has an unlimited source. Unlike fossil fuels running out, the sun isn’t going to burn out any time soon, so that isn’t a concern. You will only be limited to the amount of light you can capture in a day by how many panels you install. If you are a do-it-yourself type of person, diy solar power for homes is a way for you to cut the cost of the installation, allowing you to capture more sun light for the money.
Solar power allows you to live off the grid. Power outages don’t happen as often as they used to, but still occur. Having a solar energy system installed on your home allows you to continue to power your household needs even during a power outage. The more panels and deep cycle batteries you have in your array, the more independent you are from the power grid. Eventually, you may even be able to receive a credit from the power company for producing more energy than you consume. Talk about negating the solar energy for homes cost!
Solar energy for homes also produces a clean, pollution free energy. Unlike all the forms we utilize fossil fuels, which all eventually come down to burning, solar panels convert light energy into electricity via photovoltaic cells. This conversion produces zero emissions or harmful by-products. If the zero footprint concept is important to you, then installing a solar power system is a good choice.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
Solar energy for homes does have at least a few drawbacks. Solar panels are sometimes not looked upon favorable by HOAs and communities, because they might be considered an eyesore. These rules and regulations are quickly disappearing, but be sure to check local ordinances to make sure the installation of them isn’t going to get you in trouble.
Finding affordable solar energy for homes is not easy. It is very, and I mean very expensive to install a solar energy system. The return on investment might not be worth it to many at todays market prices, but if you are planning on staying in your home for 10-20 years, it might eventually pay for itself. Shop around to find cheap solar energy for homes prices, as there are more and more companies that offer installation and materials.
What You Will Need
Solar power is generated from photoelectric cells lined within a panel which convert light from the sun into electricity. That electricity is then fed into batteries for storage. The batteries can be connected into your home grid to power household appliances, as well as provide excess energy to the power company for a rebate. A few important items to consider when looking for affordable solar power for homes are:
The panels will capture the sunlight, and how much you would like to harvest is up to you. The more square footage you have, the more solar energy you will generate. But it will cost you. I’ve seen websites that charge $250 flat rate shipping for panels, and then around 3 dollars a watt. An 80-watt panel would then cost you almost $500 – just the panel remember. This would supplement your electricity intake, but wouldn’t make a huge dent in your bill. A larger investment would be necessary to completely offset your consumption.
Amazon sells nice solar panels for around $250 for a 100- or 110-watt panel, which is a pretty good deal (click here).
Solar output wires are used to link the panels with the batteries. A charge controller is needed, so as not to overcharge your batteries (click here to buy).
The batteries will be constantly recharging, so a long life battery is a must. Deep cycle batteries are the best option here, as they are built to be charged and depleted over and over (click here to buy).
The inverter is needed to convert sine wave DC to AC (click here to buy).
Placement of the panels is also important for a do it yourself solar power for homes project. Maximum sunlight is necessary to harvesting as much sunlight as possible. Therefore, placing panels on rooftops above natural or un-natural sunblocks is important. Face your panels south to achieve maximum exposure.
Be sure to have a certified electrician connect the system to your circuit box. Improper connection is a fire hazard and might even void your home warranty or hazard insurance policies.
Solar Energy For Homes
Because this energy source is renewable, solar energy for homes is a great option for long term energy production. The energy crisis is real. With dwindling supply and middle eastern unrest, fossil fuels become every day a more expensive energy solution. With the technological advances in alternative energy, we will likely see the costs come down, making them more available to more and more people accross the planet. Solar energy will likely be a large player in whatever energy solution we come up with.
Have you set up a solar power system on your home? If so, how much did it cost? How extensive is your system? How much power does it produce? What kind of maintenance is involved? Please leave your comments below. Thanks!