Are Solar Panels the Right Choice for Your Home?
Solar panels can take advantage of one of nature’s most powerful, free resources: the energy produced by the sun.
Solar panels use semiconductor technology to convert the energy from sunlight into electricity. With enough panels, you can power your entire house. But are they the right solution for your home? That depends on several key variables.
Here’s a quick pro and con breakdown:
Positives of Solar Panels
- Pollution-free energy production. No greenhouse gasses are emitted after installation.
- Reduced need for fossil fuels and foreign oil.
- Saving Money. You start having lower electricity bills right away.
- Resilience: You could gain the ability to live grid free.
- Durability. Some solar panels actually have more hail resistance than certain metal roofs. Look for tempered glass.
- Cooler roof. In hot climates PV panels add an extra layer between you and the sun’s heat.
Negatives of Solar Panels
- Expensive material and installation costs.
- No solar power at night.
- Cloudy days don't create as much energy.
- Cooler roof. In cold climates, you may not get as much solar heat gain in winter as you would without solar panels.
The Costs of Solar Panels
The average costs to be able to have a solar-paneled house with about 5kW of capacity would be around $16,000, although tax credits often knock that price down to about $10,000. Monocrystalline panels are somewhat more affordable, about a third cheaper, and thin film solar panels cost about the same price as monocrystalline solar panels. Polycrystalline panels cost less still, averaging about $5,400 to $6,000 for the same overall wattage. This would be the more affordable option.
How Many Solar Panels are Needed to Power an Average Home?
If your home is around 1,500 square feet, then you might need 15-18 solar panels. For a 2,000-square-foot home, you would need 12-18 solar panels. It is possible to run your home solely on these solar panels for electricity, typically with a battery backup (which could double the cost of the installation), but you will need to make other adjustments first. You can learn more methods to calculate how many solar panels here.
For example, you will want to reduce electricity demand by specifying Energy Star appliances, switching to heat pump HVAC, adding insulation and fixing leaks in your home envelope. If you take a smart approach, and set the right priorities (such as those outlined in this free Homeowner’s Handbook) with today’s current high-efficiency solar panels, you really can power your entire home with solar panels.
Some people are still deciding for themselves if solar panels are the right investment or the right product to purchase at this time. It may be because of costs or their belief that it doesn’t work as well as solar companies suggest. The truth is in the details. If you do your homework, and set your house up to maximize energy savings first, solar delivers.
For more information on the best solar panels to buy for your home and other sustainable living tips visit greenbuildermedia.com.
Publisher’s Note: This content is made possible by our Today’s Homeowner Campaign Sponsors: Whirlpool, Vivint, myQ, Sonos and Jinko Solar . These companies take sustainability seriously, in both their products and their operations. Learn more about building and buying homes that are more affordable and less resource intensive.