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Use of Solar Energy Soars

Houses powered by solar panels are not the thing of futuristic novels and wealthy homeowners anymore. With the reduction in cost of solar panels, many newer homes, and some older ones, are seeing their roofs covered in the high-tech panels which will see their owners saving an average of $2,400 a year in electricity costs. In the past, solar panels were a thing for extreme environmentalists and wealthy do-gooders who could justify the outrageously high cost of the construction and installation of a solar panel system to power their homes. Solar energy for homeowners didn’t make much financial sense as the cost of the system was often higher than any realized savings by the owner, if they saved any money at all.

Solar PanelImage by Marufish

There have been numerous companies popping up on the market that target small business owners and homeowners who wish to be environmentally correct while saving money at the same time. The more companies that exist that provide solar energy solutions, the lower the prices the consumer will see as competition will drive the prices down. As technology progresses and manufacturing processes become more efficient, the cost of solar technology, as with any technology, will only decrease making it more available to the masses.

Companies like Sun Bug Solar out of Massachusetts consult with home and business owners to create a solar solution that fulfills their energy needs while also predicting potential savings. The savings in a solar energy system will be different for every homeowner simply because of how much sun falls on your property. Those looking to install a solar energy system will need someone to map out exactly how much sun falls on their property in order to accurately estimate the potential savings.

In 2008, solar energy was quoted at three dollars and forty cents a watt, in 2013, a watt was quoted at a significantly reduced eighty cents. This trend has enabled more homeowners the financial ability to install solar panels. In California, the average cost of a solar system installation is $10,000 which means that the average homeowner will see a profit in roughly 5 years if they save $2,400 a year in energy costs. On the other side of the spectrum is the Sunshine state which ironically costs homeowners in that state an average of $25,000 to install a solar system and a potential realization of profit after eleven years.

Furthermore, as the solar energy systems rise in popularity, homes with solar panel systems already installed will see an increase in their market worth. Numerous studies have reflected a significant increase in a home’s value when it has cost reducing utility measures already installed in the home. In the case of solar energy, a dollar saved in utility cost is twenty dollars increase in the home’s value, so the average homeowner who realizes a $2,400 reduction in electricity costs should hypothetically see a $48,000 increase in their home’s value on the market.

In addition to the energy-cost savings, there are numerous Federal programs that provide incentives through grants for home and business owners who opt to go the route of solar energy. These exist simply to encourage a reduction in an individual’s carbon foot-print, often going as far as subsidizing the cost of the system creation and installation.

California is the state with the largest increase in solar energy for homeowners. Many might think this is because of the generally liberal political landscape in California which creates generous solar energy policies, but just as equal a driving force for solar energy is the fact that California, on average, receives more sunlight than other areas in the country. This translates to an even larger increase in savings for homeowners who install solar panels. While other areas in the country can still realize significant savings and increased home values, it’s hard to find a reason not to have a solar panel system if you live in an area where sunlight is prevalent.

Another major benefit to the use of a solar system is the idea that your home or business is totally independent. There is no reliance upon a utility company who could increase the cost of the energy they provide or be struck by some natural disaster that would inhibit their ability to provide energy to your structure. Solar energy is derived from the sun so as long as the sun is shining, and even if it isn’t, the homeowner can power their home.

One of the major breakthroughs in solar energy that made it a feasible alternative energy source was the development of a way to store the solar energy. Researchers have essentially discovered that excess solar energy can be stored in what is essentially a thermos with salt inside of it that can store heat. When the extra energy is needed throughout the night or a cloudy day, the salt is reprocessed and the heat is converted into electrical energy. This process was a necessary development for the solar energy industry in that it enabled solar cells to work during times of no sunlight, which was one of the biggest obstacles faced by proponents of solar energy.

As it stands, no massively available storage solution exists for homeowners who use solar energy so they are still coupled with a conventional energy supply such as a power plant. However, when a commercial solution does eventually make its way to the market, the growth of solar energy usage is expected to rise even more as the potential energy savings will increase exponentially with the ability to store excess solar energy.

In the past, solar energy was scoffed at because of the numerous problems that came with utilizing such a system and the costs involved. Those problems are slowly being stricken off the list as technology develops and researchers come up with innovative ideas to address existing issues that plague the use of solar power and the logistical and financial challenges that accompany this blossoming form of alternate energy.

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