Solar Energy Advantages – practical advice

Solar Energy Advantages are often discussed in the news, the biggest advantage may be that this is an option to achieve energy independence on an individual basis and at your own speed.  You can add a solar powered attic fan or water heater or migrate a little faster with solar panels to supplement a portion of your electrical needs or get completely off the grid or somewhere in between.  You have the flexibility of transitioning to solar energy as your budget allows.

Taken for Granted  

Why transition to solar at all?  Relying on the electric company for our electricity has been convenient.  What we didn’t realize or didn’t want to know was what the energy companies needed to do in order to supply our growing needs.  Maybe we would have made different choices on how we used electricity, maybe we would have wasted less if we had known what it really cost us.  We took for granted that electricity would continue to be easy to acquire, relatively cheap to consume and reliable.

While it is still convenient, we know it is no longer easy to acquire or cheap to consume and in the past few years many of us have experienced rolling blackouts, power outages that lasted longer than a few days and these instances are happening multiple times and more regularly.  Taking into consideration the environmental disasters of oil spills in just Alaska and in the Gulf, it’s clear that oil companies have no backup plan in the case of mishap.   Now maybe the best time to really explore the advantages of solar energy and how to transition to this source of energy for our homes and businesses.

Advantages of Solar Energy, A Detailed Look

  • after initial investment, all  the electricity you produce is free
  • incentives and rebates from governments and utility companies offset the initial investment
  • new financing vehicles such as leasing and Pace offset the initial investment while preserving the incentives and rebates
  • net metering gives you the opportunity of selling your excess electricity or getting a credit from the utility company
  • reduce or completely eliminate your electric bill
  • cost of solar panels are decreasing while efficiency is increasing
  • numerous solar solutions are being developed that are less obtrusive and easier to install
  • clean, renewable energy source
  • no transmission costs, your energy is produced where it is consumed
  • all or some of your electric needs can be supplied by solar energy, it’s up to you and your budget
  • you can be totally independent of the electric company by using batteries to store your excess energy or you can remain tied to the grid and use net metering
  • solar systems are long lasting systems with warranties that are 20-30 years
  • virtually no maintenance and no recurring costs
  • ideal for remote locations that cannot be tied to the grid
  • no noise or smells, solar operates totally silent
  • reduce dependence on foreign oil
  • do-it-yourself options in the forms of kits are available and installation is easy

Solar Energy Disadvantages

  • high initial cost to purchase solar panel system
  • a relatively large area is required to install a solar system
  • the highest efficiency is dependent on full sun exposure
  • no electricity can be produced at night, and reduced production on cloudy/rainy days

Is Now The Right Time to Switch?

A valid question is, why entertain a solar energy system when the economy is in a slump and finances are tight?  If you are concerned about the ever increasing and unpredictable energy bills, the effect of unanticipated blackouts power outages and future energy shortages, now is a great time to explore and plan your strategy to transition to solar energy.  Moving to an energy solution is a multi-stepped process and will take some time and careful planning.  This includes decreasing your consumption, a home energy audit, and choosing an installer.

Now may be the perfect time to to begin exploring your own solar energy advantages.