While homeowners have long been aware of the benefits of renewable energy sources such as solar power, the cost of solar systems has been on a steady rise. At the same time, the price of traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels and nuclear power, has declined. This has caused many homeowners to question whether or not it is still worthwhile to install a solar energy system on their roof.
Fortunately, the days of high up-front costs for a solar system are over. Thanks to advancements in solar technology and a boom in innovative financing options, homeowners can now gain the benefits of renewable energy without spending a fortune. To that end, the Sierra Club has published “Solar Energy Guide for Homeowners,” a comprehensive guide that helps homeowners understand the feasibility of a solar energy system aboard their home.
What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is the conversion of sunlight into usable electrical energy. The sun’s energy is free, renewable, and infinite, which makes it a perfect alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil. The most basic form of solar energy is photovoltaic power, also known as solar photovoltaic or just PV for short. Photovoltaic cells are the building blocks of solar cells. When sunlight hits a photovoltaic cell, it creates an electric field which then produces an electrical current. This is also how photovoltaic power harvests energy from the sun. Other forms of solar energy include solar thermal energy and solar hot water heating. While photovoltaic and solar thermal energy are more common, solar hot water heating has some unique advantages.
The Rise In Solar Power Use
The use of solar power has grown substantially over the past few years, thanks in part to government subsidies. Residential solar power use increased by 87% from 2011 to 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The group forecasts that residential solar power will increase by a further 44% in 2017. The United States particularly has benefited from these cost-friendly policies. In 2015, the country’s residential solar power capacity was 75 GW, which is the equivalent of about 80,000 average American homes. That is up from about 52 GW in 2014, and 41 GW in 2012. These trends are similarly prevalent around the world. China, for example, has set a goal of having 100 GW of solar power by next year. If they achieve it, it will mark a 35% increase from this year’s capacity of 67 GW. If these trends continue, we may eventually see residential solar power account for a significant proportion of global energy needs.
How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar?
In general, the cost of solar energy depends on several factors, such as the size of the system and the location of the installation. However, these factors mainly determine the price of the equipment and not the overall cost of the system. The price of photovoltaic equipment, such as solar panels and wiring, can range from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the type of system and where it is being installed. The size of the system also plays a role in determining the price of a solar project. Bigger is generally more expensive. When it comes to installation, the costs vary widely as well. It ranges from $20,000 for a small system located on the roof to over $100,000 for a large one on the ground. In general, the cost of installing solar power is estimated to be between $25,000 and $50,000.
Wondering If Solar Is Still A Worth While Investment?
Just because the cost of solar power has declined does not mean it is still a poor investment. On the contrary, it is quite the opposite. The costs of fossil fuels and nuclear power have increased substantially in recent years, while the price of solar power has decreased. This is why many people are interested in installing solar power systems on their homes.
Even now, with the cost declining and the benefits increasing, it is still unclear whether or not solar power is the financially prudent choice. This is mainly because the price of solar can fluctuate and is not guaranteed. If you are looking for a long-term stable investment, then it may be a better idea to invest in traditional forms of energy. This is because the price of solar is highly dependent on the sun’s energy, which is difficult to predict. On the other hand, the price of oil and gas tends to rise and fall in line with the price of gold and other commodity prices. This makes traditional energy a safer and more stable investment.
The fact is, there is no clear indication as to whether or not solar power is a wise choice. This is why it is important to fully understand all the pros and the cons before making a decision. Fortunately, the information in “Solar Energy Guide for Homeowners”, compiled by the Sierra Club, makes it much easier for prospective homeowners to do just that.