With the cost of energy today, we as consumers are desperate to reduce the growing expense of electricity. If you walk around your home and look at everything that is plugged in, you would probably be surprised. Short of living our lives in the dark with nothing plugged in (which would definitely not work) how can we reduce these costs? One of the best ways would be to go off the grid and generate your own electricity with solar panels.
What is a solar panel? This is a device that changes sunlight into electricity that can be used to power everything in our homes, big and small. The more powerful and concentrated the sunlight, the more energy the panel can produce. How can a solar panel help you save money? If the heat generated in your home is oil or gas, you have that expense monthly to keep your home heated. But it you are using a solar panel to power your home and have an electric-based heating system, you will not have any monthly expenses with regards to keeping your home warm. With the price of oil and gas constantly going up in today's market, that would put a lot of money back into your pocket each and every month. The United States and some other countries are even providing tax incentives to help people offset the costs to create their own electricity. Also with the growing awareness of "going green" in today's world, solar power is a great source of clean energy and does not harm the environment.
Now that you are ready to buy solar panels, what do you need to consider? You need to estimate how much electricity you actually use in your home. Make a list of the electric appliances you would want to power. Some of the most common heating units, air conditioning units and the water heater. These typically use a considerable amount of electricity. Write down the wattage ratings and add these numbers up. This will show you approximately how much electricity you are using monthly with these devices. There are different wattage ratings for solar panels, so estimating your personal wattage needs is a very important step. You will want to find panels with a slightly higher wattage rating than you actually need to be sure the power output will be sufficient. Another consideration is that solar panels can last up to 15 years. You will need to figure out how much you are currently spending on the devices you want to power each month, then multiply that by 12 to get the annual energy consumption for those appliances. Then multiply that by the number of years the manufacturer has "guaranteed service life" for the particular brand you are considering. By doing this, you will find if the savings will offset the price to make sure it is a good investment. Unfortunately, solar panels do not last forever and you need to make sure that the price will be offset by the savings.
Now that you have gotten your solar panels, where should they be placed? This depends very much on the type and size you have. Maximum exposure to sunlight through the day is very important. They should directly face the sun from the hours of 9 am to 3 pm, which is when the sun's rays are the strongest. Depending on how much you want to spend with regards to your entire solar panel package, there are things you can add on, such as a solar tracker, to make sure you are getting maximum light collection and lessen how much power is actually used. Because of what seems to be a high cost for solar panels, many people are hesitant to buy them, even though there are long-term benefits to our homes and also the environment. Make sure you do your homework so you can choose what will work for you long-term.