Solar electricity is one of the hottest technologies on the market today. With the new push by the United States government, it has become evident that solar energy is the energy source of the future. There is still debate on how efficient solar electric power is, but it has been proven to work well for residential home owners, particularly for those who live in cities.
Solar Electric In A Nut Shell
Solar electric (photovoltaic panels) collect UV rays from the sun and collect this energy in the form of DC electricity. Because all electricity supplied to the power grid is AC electricity, there needs to be a converter between the solar panels and the homes meter. The energy from the panels will supply power to the house up to it's wattage output limits. For example, 4 200 watt panels can only put out 800 watts. If the house needs more than that, it uses power from the utility grid.
Most utility companies have a program where they will pay a residential customer back on their energy bill for power they supplied to the grid. In other words, if you have solar panels and you use less than you are producing, the utility company uses the energy you have created and uses it to power other homes. Any energy you don't use, you simply don't have to pay for.
Can I Get a Photovoltaic System?
Anyone can buy a solar PV system. What you have to determine is whether it is worth the cost. Right now all sustainable energy projects qualify for a 30% federal tax credit. Solar PV is on this list of such projects. Depending on the state you live in, there may be rebates available also making this a very opportunistic time to go solar.
Basically, if you have a 1500-2000 square foot house with good Southwestern exposure, you could benefit quite a bit from solar electric panels. The cost of a basic system that provides 80% of your home's electricity is between $20,000 and $50,000. The average payback time is 7-10 years. If you are looking at selling your house in the next 5 years, a solar electric system would be a very poor investment.
What's the downside?
The downside is that photovoltaic are very inefficient, estimated to only use 12% of what they take in. There are new technologies being tested today that may change all of this very quickly, but until they do the panels will remain about the same.
If you are looking at building a home in the country and are trying to produce all your electricity with solar power, you will spend $50,000-$75,000 as an independent (off-the-grid) system is more complex and requires more equipment.
Doing the responsible thing for the environment always feels good. you just have to make sure your pocket book feels good as well. We are a reliable electric olympia company serving the area for years. If you want professional electrical repair services, call us today at (360) 301-8822 for free quote.