October 31, 2014

Solar Energy – What is the most important consideration

 

While the prices of solar panels have dropped somewhat over the course of the last year they are nowhere near as low as many people would have hoped after nearly 2 years of active marketing. The efficiency of these same solar panels also have not gained much ground in providing more energy generation per square foot of solar cells although there are a handful of systems which have made recent improvements. Manufactures warranties on these same solar panel systems too have maintained the same 20 to 25 year lives which are inexorably tied to the longevity of the solar cells these solar modules are comprised of. It would seem that most people are merely looking at price rather than the more technical aspects of these systems when in fact it is these same technical aspects which will deliver much larger reductions in grid provided power as well as gains provided by power sold back to their electric utilities.

There are hundreds if not thousands of homeowners who sadly enough took the cheapest route to making the move to solar energy. While they smiled at the fact that they were now using solar energy this turned out to be short lived when they realized how poor their systems efficiency was. Not only did these systems not supply all their power needs as a result, but they were not able to generate enough power to sell back to their electric utility. Despite the fact that State and Federal incentives may or may not have covered a good percentage of the costs depending on how many corners were cut in trying to save a buck or two these folks are now simply stuck with an ineffectual system for the next 25 years.

As the saying goes, “If you buy a diamond ring for ten cents, then chances are it is only worth ten cents.” couldn’t be truer. One must take into consideration everything they actually want a solar panel system to deliver on and not just its costs which will be offset by government incentives. Knowing how much of your grid provided power you want to replace with solar generated power is crucial. Knowing what your options are for outdoor lighting, air conditioning or other peripheral electric systems that can be powered independently from everything else in your distribution is just as important. Any electrically powered system that can be removed and powered independently from your homes breaker panel will greatly increase the volume of power that can be sold back to your utility and thereby reducing the amount of time before you can realize the full return on your investment.

Given these facts, efficiency is the most important consideration as it directly impacts the volume of power produced for your home and results in a greater return in not only cost savings but also in power sold back to your utility. Solar panel systems should be considered as a long term investment and as such do you really want equipment that is inherently incapable of operating at its maximum capacity and generation efficiency? I would certainly think not. Solar energy systems are a very novel energy generation source but that is not to say they should be purchased from a novelty store outlet that specializes in cheap price points for very inefficient novelty systems. Ultimately, most people want to know either what they can power or how much power a given solar matrix will generate. This is fairly straight forward. When you get your monthly electric bill there are two numbers most are interested in seeing. First of course is your monthly cost quickly followed by your kWh or how much power you were charged for so with this in mind you should know that a 1kw solar panel system will generate approximately 3.63 kWh of usable electricity per day or 110 kWh per month.

With this knowledge you are now ready to move forward in slashing your electric bill by making the move to solar energy!

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