Solar Panels – Are They Worth It?

If you are trying to save money on energy costs and want more energy efficiency, Solar Panels might be for you.

What Are Solar Panels?

A solar panel is a connected series of solar cells that are packaged together and generate electricity. These panels convert the sun’s energy into what is called direct current electricity. An inverter converts the direct current power into alternating current power. Alternating current (or AC) is the type of power used by the electrical grid and almost everything that you would plug into your home’s outlets. Partly due to the small amount of power that one panel can create and partly due to the amount of things that require power in an average home, multiple panels are required to generate enough power to be price-effective for your home.

The upfront costs for installation can be sizable, many companies offer a monthly payment over a predetermined period of time. In Southern California we have the sunlight which makes continual use of solar panels a good option

Pros and Cons Of Solar Panels

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons. Firstly you are harnessing free energy.  Solar energy has no impact on the global climate whereas power plant-generated energy creates carbon dioxide that can pose serious threats to the environment. Using solar power can reduce your utility costs because you are using less electrical power from your utility company. You also get tax credits from the US government for renewable energy systems; the biggest break is usually the Solar Federal Tax Credit of 30% of your system’s cost. Solar panels also increase your home’s value, and the equipment is extremely reliable.

On the con side, if you live in a location that consistently sees cloudy days and rainy weather, solar systems might not be for you. A solar system generates power from sunlight, so less energy will be produced if there is less sun, not a situation for those of us living in SoCal.

Setting up a solar panel system can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on how large of a system you want. Some house structures cannot support the weight of a system, and some electrical wiring systems cannot handle solar power. Both of these things should be looked into before getting a system installed.

If you decide solar panels are for you, start with an accredited contractor. Don’t go with a do-it-yourself system which could cause damage to your home. Remember, you get what you pay for and if the price seems very low there may be hidden costs. Check the warranty that should come with your system, make sure that it fits your expectations. Ask the company you go with if they have a buy-back guarantee should the system fail to work as was promised. before agreeing to sign.

Make sure that the appliances and electronics in your home are solar power-friendly. Some appliances, such as plasma televisions, consume a lot of power. Having these in your home while attempting to lower your energy bill is counterproductive to your end goal.

As with any change to your home my recommendation is to start by educating yourself on all the facts. That way you’ll know before you go and will end up with a system that you are happy with.

If you would like to discuss the difference solar panels will make to your home’s value please contact me and I’ll be happy to provide that info for you.

Mary Ann Edwards

Re/Max College Park

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