Does Conversion to Solar Power Make Sense Now, or Should We Wait?
Not sure if you should convert to Solar? If you think you missed the right time this year, and are waiting for more price reduction, Here are several solar concerns and responses for you to consider.
Cost. The majority of people who responded to a 2012 survey on global concerns and solar energy said they were worried about the planet, but converting to solar energy was just too expensive. The truth is that the costs of converting to solar power is front loaded, and that worries people. When the costs are unraveled, it becomes clear that over time, you will actually save money, as well as the planet.
Many homeowners look into home improvement refinance or a home equity line of credit to finance the conversion to solar energy, because the out of pocket upfront costs are more than what they have in savings. That is especially popular now while home values are high and mortgage interest rates are low. If you can use cash on hand, you can begin benefitting from the savings right away. There are energy incentives still in effect from the Paris Agreement, and there are state and local incentives available, which offset a portion of upfront costs.
The hard costs of solar conversion have been dropping for years, over 80 percent in the last decade alone, and that means the cost of conversion has gone down. You should check with your Renewable Solar Resources professional on today’s cost of conversion.
Concerns over seasonal variance and system efficiency. Another concern is whether solar panels can generate enough electricity during the winter. While it is true that California gets more sun year round than Wyoming or Minnesota, in the contiguous United States there is sufficient sun to power solar panels on your home. Panels do generate power better in the summer than in the winter, but as long as you keep the panels cleared off, they can continue to generate power year round. The extra generated power is then stored in battery cells for evening use.
Renewable Solar Resources does not use a hit or miss approach. Before any residential solar energy system is installed, measurements are taken to determine the best location for the solar panels, and whether those panels will get sufficient sunlight to power your home. Obstructions like buildings and trees that block sunlight are bigger issues than where your home is located in the United States.
Panels have become more efficient as technology is developed, but on average, most poly-crystalline solar panels are 18 to 22 percent efficient. With the abundance of the sun’s rays, that is still enough to power most homes. Your Renewable Solar Resources representative can review your individual situation with you to determine whether you will be able to cut electric bills all together before summer.
Weight on your roof. It is true that some residential roofs cannot support the additional weight of a solar panel array, though it is rarer than you would guess. There are ways to reinforce your roof to make if panel ready, or you may choose to place your solar panel array at ground level to make maintenance easier. Solar panel maintenance is already minimal, but to get the full benefit of your system right away, you’ll want to keep the panels clear of leaves and snow this fall and winter.
Power Grid Stabilization. Converting to solar power does not automatically mean going off the power grid. When your system over produces electricity, the overage can be resold to another power customer resulting in a credit on your statement. During peak power consumption days in July, the power grid experiences less stress, reducing black outs and other grid destabilization symptoms.
Economic Benefits. Though you had to finance or come up with the up-front conversion costs, there is little ongoing cost to solar electricity generation, other than minor upkeep. You also don’t get hit with electricity rate hikes like fossil fuel users do. In fact, you already paid for decades of electricity when your had your solar electricity generation system installed, so moving forward, you can enjoy the benefits of your investment while others deal with rising energy production costs.
The federal solar conversion incentives are significantly reduced after the end of this year, so now may be the perfect time to look into your home’s solar conversion.