How is a Home Solar Energy System Actually Saving You Money?
When you note the price of solar panels you may ask how is a home solar energy system actually saving you money. The cost of produce power using solar energy panels is not the cheapest power source.
At about $0.55 per kilowatt hour of energy produced, solar energy is more expensive than wind energy that cost $0.05 for a kWh of power.
However, a solar home energy system is actually saving you money over the cost of paying the power company for electricity. Rate increases have averaged about 5-10% per year as the cost of oil and coal production has soared.
Home heating and cooling costs have risen as a result and the power can be a real drain on a homeowner's budget in the middle of winter or the hottest summer months.
Two Sides of Money Saving
When you consider the savings of a home solar energy system there are two ways to look at your savings. One is to consider the cost of producing energy compared to the cost of installing solar panels and other parts of a home solar energy system. The other side is the savings realized in money you no longer have to pay your commercial power company.
If you are able to install a home solar energy system that produces more power than you need to run your home, many power companies are anxious to purchase the extra power from you. Homeowners across the country are realizing real benefits in the form of checks from a power company that used to send bills instead.
Your need for solar power varies throughout the day but also throughout the year. In the bitter winter cold you may use all of the power your home solar energy system can produce and may need to pull from your power company as well. During the Spring and Fall months you may need only a small amount of power at home.
Your home solar energy system is actually saving you money by capturing power from the sun every day. During mild weather you can sell enough power back to the commercial electric company to subsidize the additional cost of power needed in more extreme weather conditions.
The cost of installing solar panels is one reason so many homeowners try to be environmentally conscious in other areas. A home solar energy system is more expensive to install than standard HVAC systems. One solar panel will cost $275-$600 depending on size and each will produce from 50-200 watts of power each day.
The power produced will vary depending on several factors such as rain and cloud cover. For that reason, homes built with home solar energy systems also need a standard HVAC system for backup power except in reliably mild climates.
You can add a home solar energy system that is affordable by using solar power to supplement your home's use of commercially provided electricity. This may be done by adding a solar powered water heater, for example.
Reducing the Costs
When you install a standard electric or gas furnace and air conditioning system you need only know the size of your home. This will determine the volume of air to be "conditioned" and dictate the size of the HVAC system you need.
It has become common to use two HVAC systems in a home when there are two floors involved. This allows savings for a homeowner who must closely regulate the temperature in living areas on the first floor of his home but may have more flexibility for the upper level where bedrooms are used only at night.
When you install a solar energy system for your home there are more computations and formulas necessary to determine your needs. The first step is to ask your local power company or just a local certified electrician to perform an energy audit of your home. This will tell you how much energy your home consumes every day and considers the full scope of power use of your family.
An energy audit will take into consideration the appliances and highlight which appliances are power hungry and which are more efficient to operate.
If you have EnergyStar appliances throughout your home your energy audit will show a decidedly lower power use than if your refrigerator, washer and dryer are older and lack the energy saving technology.
The energy audit will also highlight areas in which your home is wasting electricity. Poorly insulated rooms or old single pane window are commonly pointed out through a home energy audit. Something as simple as uninsulated light switches and electrical outlets will show a distinct power loss in the audit.
Once you know how much power is used to operate your home in a twenty-hour period you will be able to decide how many solar energy panels would be needed to provide the watts of power you need. This is how you estimate the cost of adding a solar energy system to determine if it is actually saving you money.