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Solar energy is fast becoming one of the more promising renewable technologies in the energy industry. With a growth rate of 2% per year, solar energy systems are likely to soon become the preferred source of energy worldwide.
In our previous article, we discussed the benefits of renewable energy solutions. One of the best natural sources of energy is the sun, and solar energy solutions are one of the best green energy technologies to power your off-grid home.
One of the primary advantages of solar energy is that the sun is able to provide over 10,000 times more than the energy that our planet is able to produce, so the solar energy business is booming worldwide.
But don’t take my word for it. Check these solar energy figures and statistics and see for yourself if whether solar energy is indeed everything that it’s being made out to be.
Are Solar Energy Solutions Financially Viable?
One of the main factors that you would consider when choosing renewable energy solutions is whether it is financially viable or not. Like most renewable energy systems, solar energy has its advantages and disadvantages.
While your solar power system costs and installation costs can be quite significant initially, getting a solar energy system for your home or workplace would actually help you save money on your utility bills annually.
In fact, installing solar thermal systems would allow you to recover the total cost within 5 years of installation, with 15 years for photovoltaic panels, after which, you can enjoy the benefits of reduced costs for your energy consumption.
How Does Solar Energy Reduce The Cost Of Energy Consumption?
Studies have shown that using certain solar energy systems do reduce the total cost of energy consumption that your home or workplace might incur.
If done right, you can actually lower your annual utility bill by as much as 80%, which is very significant, especially if you are trying to find ways to save some money.
Also, some programs allow users of solar energy systems to sell back energy or electricity that they were not able to consume, to the utility provider giving you even more ways to save money.
Do Sunny Areas Have More Solar Energy Systems?
Although the ideal location to place solar energy power plants to harness sunlight would be in locations that have a hot and sunny climate, some places that don’t have a hot climate are known to have more solar panels.
Denmark, Holland and most of northern Europe claim they have more solar panels than the UK, so you don’t necessarily need a hot climate in order to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.
Solar Energy Advantages & Disadvantages
The advantages of solar energy continue to grow but there are disadvantages for those who do not understand how to use solar energy in their home.
It is important to weigh the potential of having your own solar equipment. You should consider the devices you need to power, your location, and budget.
Here are 5 questions you need to ask if you’re planning on installing a solar power system or figuring out which solar panels to install.
1. How Much Solar Energy Do You Get?
The good thing about solar energy is that it can be used anytime or as long as the sun is shining. You can get the power you need day-in and day-out.
But you do have to consider your current location. Are there a lot of clouds or does it rain or snow frequently? How much sunlight do you get per day?
Places that get at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day do well with a solar energy system. So if you live in a tropical area or desert regions you should be able to rely on solar panels.
Of course, you need to determine the angle of the sun to know which spots are most ideal for installation. Solar power is a renewable resource which means you don’t have to pay any bills or keep replacing parts to get the results you need.
The disadvantage, in terms of availability, is that you cannot harvest solar energy if there’s no sunlight, nor can you rely on solar power at night or in places that tend to be overcast or have very little sunlight for several months.
Some locations are ideal for installing solar cell panels, while those that experience very long winter months may not get the best results from solar energy and may have to consider using other types of alternative energy or renewable energy solutions.
If you live in such a location, you may have to invest in a Hybrid Wind Solar Power DIY Off-Grid Kit or you may do better with an electrical or battery source such as a Tesla Powerwall Home Energy Storage Battery to ensure 24/7 power availability.
2. How Much Area Does Your Solar Power Plant Need?
Most, if not all, solar power plants require a certain amount of land area in order to house all the solar panels, solar generator and a solar battery that these power plants need in order to properly harness and collect sunlight and solar energy.
Depending on the solar panel size, the space you require for your solar-powered generator and the solar energy output needed, each solar power plant’s land area would vary.
3. What Devices Do You Need To Power?
Today, solar energy can power anything from homes, offices and cars to small light fixtures, toys and calculators. You can rely on the sun to help you minimize utility and electric bills.
You can even see a number of vehicles now solely powered by the sun. The disadvantage is that the power may tend to fluctuate depending on the sunlight available.
Some devices may not work as well if the acquired energy from the sun is insufficient. In some cases, power may totally fail if solar energy is limited or unavailable.
If solar power is not consistent in your location, you can invest in a Tesla Powerwall Home Energy Storage Battery to ensure 24/7 power availability.
4. Can You Get Solar Panels Installed?
Even though solar panels are readily available in most hardware stores and the internet, not everyone is still capable of installing these solar photovoltaic systems properly.
Installation depends on several factors and needs careful study, such as the angle of the sun, the position and area where you need to place the solar panels and the number of hours to complete the project.
Usually, your solar panel distributor will help you with installation, but if that’s not possible, consider investing in a Hybrid Wind Solar Power DIY Off-Grid Kit that you can install yourself.
5. Where Can You Buy Solar Panels?
You may find it very expensive to buy solar panels as a first-time buyer and may have to spend more initially to get off the grid. But the costs of using solar energy do decrease over time because the sun is readily available and free.
People living in remote areas may not have ready access to a solar panel distributor from whom you can buy solar panels and you may find that the best solar panels are available online.
The professionals needed to install and maintain the system may not also be available in remote areas, and the installation fees might be more expensive. So, weigh all your options before you decide to buy solar panels.
Are there any available hardware stores that offer the needed parts for your solar energy system setup? Will ordering online be easy and convenient?
Are there agencies or professionals who can offer reliable and quality services to install and maintain the solar cell panels. Are the materials affordable and of good quality?
These are some of the questions you need to consider to get the best deals on solar energy systems online. Ordering online will also depend on your location and the mode of transportation.
If you think that setting up and maintaining your solar energy system will be difficult, it might be better to wait until the technology is more readily available in your area.
How to Choose the Best Solar Energy System For Your Off-Grid Home
As solar energy has become more common and more viable, solar energy companies have begun to develop a number of solar energy systems to choose from, depending on your needs and limitations.
Choosing a solar energy system that would serve all your needs is not easy, so here are some tips to help you choose the best solar energy system for your home.
1. Know Your Solar Energy System
The very first thing you must do is make sure you know what different solar energy systems you can choose from.
Basically, there are two different types of solar energy systems – photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal systems.
Photovoltaic Cells Or Solar Panels
Photovoltaic cells are solar energy panels that convert solar energy into electricity that you can use to power up most of your appliances and household lighting, and should only be used for those specific uses.
Unfortunately, solar photovoltaic systems are one of the more expensive, if not the most expensive solar energy systems on the market today.
It is important to learn about different types of solar panels and how to choose the best solar panels to get the best solar panel output for your home.
For example, small solar panels like the 12V monocrystalline solar panel can power a boat, caravan, RV and any other off-grid applications.
But for converting your entire house to solar, the Renogy 300-Watt monocrystalline solar panel is one of the most efficient solar panels and is perfect for residential rooftop systems to decrease your electrical bill, or for a large off-grid system.
The monocrystalline panels will give you the most efficiency per space and have the ability to withstand extreme elements and severe weather.
Solar Thermal Systems
Solar thermal systems simply generate heat and are well-suited for boilers, furnaces, solar water heaters and solar pool heaters.
This type of solar energy system allows you to make heat using direct solar energy at a much lower cost as compared to conventional energy and electricity.
However, if you want to retrofit your home with one of these solar thermal systems, you’ll need to sacrifice a little bit of space in your home. The good thing about using solar thermal systems is that you’ll save up to 80% of your total energy cost per year.
2. Calculate Your Energy Costs
Once you have a better understanding and grasp of what solar energy systems are out there, and how they work, you simply need to learn how to calculate the cost of your energy consumption.
This will help you determine which type of solar energy system you should buy. Many people choose to save money by buying used solar panels instead of new ones.
When calculating the cost of your energy consumption, you need to create a list of all the devices and applications that might need energy and electricity.
Include appliances, lighting, water heating, space heating, space cooling and air conditioning. If you can, figure out ways to reduce your electricity and energy consumption too so you can reduce your overall energy requirements.
3. Maintaining Your Solar Energy System
A well-maintained solar energy system will last for 30 years if you take good care of it. You can choose to build your own solar panel or buy it from a solar panel manufacturer.
The longevity of your solar energy system will depend on the quality of the material, the use and applications. The price you pay for it does not immediately equate to quality or longevity.
Spend some time learning about the best solar companies and check if there are any differences with regards to features or benefits that will ultimately enhance the lifespan of your solar energy system. Ask for recommendations from friends or people on online forums who have used residential solar power systems.
But if spending tens of thousands of dollars on a standard solar panel system is not for you and if you want to be “energy independent” and have the fridge, oven and AC on for just a fraction of your usual monthly spend, check out this simple 3D solar array.
This disaster-proof, recession-proof, drought-proof “backyard power plant” is so simple that you don’t have to be an electrician to build it and it requires no maintenance.
Even better, it doesn’t take up a lot of space because its ingenious vertical design means that it needs only 5% of the surface used in conventional solar panel systems.
This device is the cheapest, easiest way to effortlessly make your own personal power plant and have a perpetual source of cheap green electricity for anything heading your way. And the best part: you won’t need to rely on the power grid anymore.
Do share your experience with choosing the best solar energy solutions for your off-grid home in the comments below.