In March, my heating and cooling cost a gagging $467.81. Am I interested in an energy efficient home? You bet your bippy I am! Solar power generation is of intense interest around here because not only can we live off the power grid and save $467.81 (in fairness, it’s not always that high) but we might even have excess power. If so, we can sell it to the power companies and actually make money, rather than paying it out.
In addition, we are helping the planet if we create energy, rather than being a drain on the system, The solar power house is generating and using clean energy that puts out no dangerous or nasty byproducts.
Harnessing the power of the sun is indeed desirable – but is it possible?
The Downside Of Solar Power Generation
The downside is obvious – creation cost! Yes, we’ll save the ton of money that we now pay the power company but it costs quite a bit to set up a solar power house. Estimates range from 12-16 years to recover the cost of solar installation. The two major costs are:
1) The solar panels
2) Roof installation
Still, while it’s not for the total novice, it is possible for some determined Do It Yourselfers. Here’s what you need …
Solar Power Generation 101
First, of course, you need the solar panels. Costs vary and it’s important to shop around and talk to lots of stores before you purchase anything. What you need will depend on what you want to do with your solar panels? Do you just want a simple system that heats in the winter and keeps your water hot? Or do you want the whole enchilada: air condtioning all summer long, tons of appliance like a big screen TV and multiple computers, etc.?
Secondly, you must have a generator to store your power. If you are in the southern US during the summer, you will have power to spare. A northern winter is a different story, altogether.
And last, of course, is installation.The generator must be hooked up with the panels and the resulting system must be wired in to your solar power house’s electrical system. Electrical wiring is tricky and in many states, illegal for the amateur (for obvious reasons).
If you want to do the installation yourself, you will need to be cautious about working on your roof and always turn off the electricity so that you don’t electrocute yourself! The wiring is complicated and making holes in your roof is always iffy.
Personally, I will not attempt this project myself and I always recommend conferring with the experts. I don’t think it’s worthwhile if you’re planning on moving any time soon, since you will most likely not recoup your costs. Still, residential energy efficiency should be at the top of our priority lists. Saving money and helping our planet are high and worthy goals.