Solar energy has been used as a power source for decades. NASA became interested in solar energy and actually constructed the first solar power aircraft, Solar Challenger in 1980. The aircraft had its first maiden flight on July 7, 1981. Since then, many advances have been made with regards to solar panels. With the recent move toward cleaner, greener energy, many homeowners have opted to install solar panels. We took the plunge and installed solar panels in 2012, here are some of the lessons we learned.
Consider the Cost
The cost of solar panel installation could be a possible game-changer if you don’t plan accordingly. Consider the fact that the cost can range between $18,000-$40,000. Depending on the size of your home, you could possibly spend upwards of $12,000 to purchase the solar panels. This does not include permitting, installation, power inverters and the actual mounting hardware. The cost of going green should be a consideration but not a deterrent. Consider combining both solar energy and regular grid based power. You can experience the benefits of clean energy at half the cost.
When it comes to solar energy, location is key. Solar generated power has a dependence on one thing, insolation. Insolation is a term used to measure the amount of solar radiation that hits any given area at any given time. Solar insolation determines how many panels you will require, how much energy you will need and if it is possible to use solar generated power. This could be a stark difference depending if you live in an area such as Arizona or California compared to an area such as Maine or Washington State, where it may rain more or receive less solar insolation.
Solar Panel Popularity
While many people are curious and even excited about your decision to go green with solar power, others may question your decision. Make sure that solar panels are not prohibited from your Home Owners Association. Also, it may be a good idea to speak with your closest neighbors. This will be a courteous decision that will help prevent any outlier issues. Be prepared for your home to be the most interesting home on the block. We had a Solar Panel Party and invited our neighbors to visit and ask questions. You never know who you may influence. In fact, we inspired two other neighbors to invest in solar panels.
There are many great incentives for going green and taking the initiative to use clean energy. The government also offers great incentives, up to 30 percent tax rebates for homeowners who choose energy efficient appliances and alternative energy sources. Make sure to keep receipts and paper work to ensure that you receive the proper incentives that are owed to you.