Solar power for home use is becoming a more popular and affordable option for people all across the United States. There are a few different ways of using solar power for a home: being off grid, grid tied or grid tied with battery backup. Being entirely off grid means that the system is not connected to power lines from the utility company. It stores electricity in a bank of batteries. A grid tied system is still connected to the lines. Rather than storing energy in batteries, the grid fulfills that function. This means that in the occurrence of a power outage, the house may be affected too. This setup also allows for extra energy to be sold back to the utility company. A grid tied system can also have a battery back up to protect against blackouts or brownouts.
Asking the correct questions beforehand can help determine which size system is appropriate to provide solar power for home use. Each house is different in its needs and requirements. Calculating how much money can be saved using this technology is an inexact endeavor. Consulting meteorological data can provide information on average monthly sunlight in an area, as well as, humidity, rainfall, overcast days and altitude. All of these factors impact the effectiveness of a PV cell. The efficiency of the home solar panels is also an important factor, and there are a variety of panels available for purchase. Generally, with higher silicon comes more expense, however, this type of panel is also more effective.
Converting solar energy into usable electricity opens up the possibility of entirely eliminating electric bills. Just because that is possible, however, does not mean it is likely. There are a variety of situations that can prevent a home from being run entirely on solar power. This does not mean, however, that installing photovoltaic panels would not be a huge, money saving benefit. Sometimes issues such as shady or limited roof space or extravagant energy use can prevent solar power for a home system from being effectual enough to entirely offset electricity costs. However, savings can still be achieved and the portion of the bill that is offset is protected against the rising costs of utilities. For example: A 5kW system (which is 5,000 watts) can produce roughly 600 kilowatt hours in a month. The average home in the United States uses approximately 1,200 kilowatt hours monthly, so a typical 5kW system could cut a monthly utility bill in half.
If the cost of the energy system for the entire house proves too expensive, the consumer can start with a small system and upgrade as needed. Focusing on offsetting one portion of energy usage can still result in savings. The monthly savings and payback period rely on a certain key factors such as local energy costs, size of the system, location, number of people in a house and energy lifestyle.
It should also be kept in mind that energy needs do not stay static throughout the year. As the seasons change, so does the frequency of use of certain electronics. While it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact savings to be gained from installing solar power for home use, it is not hard to see that it’s an investment that pays for itself over time.