Residential Solar Panels
Residential solar panels
Residential solar panels are becoming more and more popular as our search for alternative energy sources expands. The bulk of our power supply is produced with the aid of coal, which is a finite resource. Eventually it is going to run out. In the meantime the price of coal will continue to rise because of the dwindling supply. This cost will be passed on to power users in the form of higher utility bills. That means that a $100 power bill today could be twice or three times that in the span of ten short years.
This is one reason residential solar systems are such an attractive option for homeowners. They don't rely on coal, or indeed on any outside fuel source to produce power. The only cost of operating solar panels is the purchase an installation price. Best of all they don't even feature moving parts, so the maintenance on panels is limitless. The price you pay for a solar panel today will cover that panel's electricity generation for the lifetime of a panel. Since they are engineered to last upwards of twenty years; that is a substantial power output!
For reference, a 200 W panel is capable of producing around 200 watt/hours of electricity. That means 10 hours of sunlight it can produce around 2 Kw a day. Each year that equates to 730 Kw, or a hefty 14.6 megawatts of electricity over 20 years. At current US average rates that works out to a whopping $1635 worth of electricity. So a single solar panel stands to provide that much monetary value even if electricity rates were frozen over the life of the panel. If you factor in rising rates, panels are easily going to provide $2-3000 worth of electricity over their life, and yet they cost a fraction of that.
As technology for photovoltaic panels improves the price of panels will fall further, but even today there are subsidies to help make panels more affordable. The federal government offers incentives, as do many state governments, local agencies, and utility companies. Some states have even passed legislation regarding a feed-in tariff designed to encourage more people to invest in their own solar power generation array and sell the excess back to the power company. This is a particularly attractive option, as you can maintain the safety net of the power grid while taking advantage of the benefits of solar power. Best of all, Instead of sending you a bill, your electric company would send you a check every month instead!
Another great thing about residential solar panels is the fact that so many homes can use them easily -- While homes in the sunny southern regions of the United States can most benefit from solar power, even houses in the northern reaches of the country stand to benefit from panels. Even if you live in Maine or Washington, solar power is a cost-effective option for you, in fact panels operate more efficiently at more moderate temperatures than they do in the intense heat of the south. If the majority of UT homes actually used residential solar panels, we would reap an enormous amount of cost savings, as well as creating a cleaner nation.