Developments to the home to make it more energy efficient, more ‘green’ always sound like fantastic ideas and solar power is right up there amongst them. But is it all it is cracked up to be? Is it suitable for everyone, or more specifically is it right for you?
Researching solar power before making the leap is very important. It is like taking up pool: you need to learn how to rack pool balls and play basic shots before you start learning fancy techniques. With solar power, you need to see if your home is compatible with the systems available and if it is going to be cost effective.
The main benefit of solar power is the obvious one: it helps stop global warming by not using fossil fuels or producing harmful chemical by-products. It makes use of the most natural of resources in the sun’s rays and can be harvested even on dull days as it the power in the light, not the brightness that is collected.
The other main benefit is that a solar power system can save you money. Depending on where you live, it can be serious money as well with some examples being given as:
- 20 year saving for family in New York, California or Florida estimated at £30,000
- 20 year saving for family in Hawaii estimated at $65,000
Now these examples are in the sunniest places where the most hours and days of high-level sunlight is received but the idea is clear. Not only that but also some states and areas have schemes in place to help with the initial costs involved with fitting the system.
Two other phrases used in connection with solar power are energy reliability and energy security. Basic this refers to the fact that the sun is guaranteed to rise and set every day (well for the next few million years at least) so there is no danger in the source of power running out. And while there are always variations in the sunlight from day to day and season to season, we have a reasonably good idea of a general mean figure. Similarly, energy security refers to the fact that some huge company can’t come along and buy up the sun and own the light from it then charge for you it.
The main disadvantage of solar power is that the sun doesn’t shine all day long. Of course, on the turn of this, it is at its brightest when we need the power the most so this is not a massive disadvantage. Added to that is the fact that during the day electricity is at its most expensive so the time when you can make the most solar power is the time you are paying the most for power from other sources.
No one is saying that solar power is the solution to all of the planet’s power problems but on a personal level, for you and your family, it can be a great way to save some money, go independent from the grid and do your little bit for the environment as well.