Deciding on purchasing and subsequently installing a home solar energy system is a big decision not to be taken lightly. The enormous benefits of adding a unit like this to any property has consumers considering it to be a viable option. Before making that final purchase it is vital to ensure everything has been taken into consideration first.
What are some things to consider before making a purchase?
For a system to function properly it needs exposure to the sun for up to 8 hours a day. A PV array in Alaska is probably not the most likely place to maximize potential for a home solar energy system simply because the amount of sunlight differs so greatly from season to season, with prolonged periods of darkness. However, Florida receives a great deal of sunlight, and all of the rest of the United States are able to use this type of system as well, even as far north as New York.
Now take a look at the roof. Most commonly mounting takes place on a residential or structural roof. The structure should be facing south or as close to the position as possible to comply with solar latitude standards. Of course, the ground can be used for mounting purposes as well. However, there needs to be an ample supply of space, regardless of the mount location. Does the property have shade trees? The PV array needs unobstructed access to the sun for at least 7 hours per day. Shade trees, bushes, and other structures may obstruct the capabilities of the unit.
Price is another important factor. Home solar energy units are more affordable today than in the past. However, a small unit can still cost around $10,000. Often, the purchaser forgets to take into consideration that there is a need for some upkeep and maintenance. Most homeowners choose to hire someone to complete these regularly scheduled tasks. These units normally come with a number of rebates and incentives, but the consumer should contact the appropriate authorities to ensure local incentives are understood thoroughly.
Another thing the consumer should ask is how long it will take for the unit to pay for itself. A quick look at a recent utility bill will assist with this little experiment. If the average utility bill for the last year is $100 a month, and a system costs $16,000, it will take 160 months or over 13 years for the unit to start saving the property owner money. If the average utility bill is more like $175, and a system costs $16,000, it will take 91 months or about 7 years for that home solar energy system to start saving the consumer cash.
Does the property owner simply want self-sufficiency and freedom from the utility company? Is the consumer trying to go green? Trying to stay up with the neighbors? There are many reasons why people choose to purchase a PV array, but the purchaser should ensure all of the bases have been covered by asking the right questions and understanding what ownership truly means.
Is a home solar energy unit the right choice? Today more property owners are making the switch that provides an alternative source of power. The price has never been lower, and the incentives have never been higher. But remember, an educated shopper is a smart consumer.