Making your home more energy efficient by using solar power can involve the use of solar powered appliances including solar water heaters and solar powered yard lights, wall clocks and battery chargers or installing a complete solar powered system. A regular water heating system may account for up to a third of energy costs, therefore using solar energy is an effective way of reducing gas and electricity bills, especially now when solar energy for homes is becoming quite affordable worldwide.
The affordability of using solar power in homes has increased, as technology improves and governments worldwide attempt to minimize emissions. Initiatives which minimise investment costs include grants towards installation costs and gross and net feed-in tariffs which provide added income for the energy produced by your solar panels.
Gross systems pay for each kilowatt of energy produced, allowing you to earn more, while in the net system you are paid only for the excess energy entering the grid, thus reducing bills generally, but not necessarily creating further income.
In Australia, for example, Federal Government assistance for solar system installations can reduce costs to as little as $3000 for the smallest system. The gross feed-in tariff is available in the Australian Capital Territory, thus a system with a peak performance lifespan of 25 years, will pay for itself within seven years, and continue earning income for an additional 18 years. Depending on the size of the system this could be used to reduce electricity bills or to generate extra income.
The suitability of installing solar power in your home depends on several factors. These include your average daily or yearly ratio of sunshine and the typical amount of shading on your roof which will determine the effectiveness of your system; the tilt of your roof will determine whether to use brackets while installing the system (to acquire the best angle). The physical condition of your roof is also important since the solar system has such a long lifespan.
It is essential to have a home energy or power audit done, or to do one yourself to know how much energy you consume, and how to reduce this consumption. This will enable you assess the minimum number of solar panels you will need to sufficiently power your home, so the power from additional panels will be fed into the grid to generate income.
It takes small steps to begin reducing your carbon footprint, so get your energy audit and your solar power quote and you’ll be on your way.