Are you considering installing solar panels to heat your home? There is a wide range of information out there which may be a little overwhelming. How do you know if solar panels are right for you and your home? Below you will find information on the pros and cons of adding solar panels.
What are solar panels?
Solar panels capture the sun’s rays and transform them to power or heat. These panels are extremely durable when it comes to wearing and tearing or damage. Solar panels deteriorate at a snail’s pace. Over the course of a year, their efficacy drops by only one to two percent (at times, even less).
Solar panels are now utilized in a broad range of electrical devices, such as calculators, that function if sunshine is available.
How do solar panels work?
According to livescience.com a solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. Solar panels comprise many, smaller units called photovoltaic cells. (Photovoltaic simply means they convert sunlight into electricity.) Many cells linked together make up a solar panel.
Here are the rewards of solar panels:
Solar power systems use the sun’s energy to generate electricity. Solar panels help cut carbon emissions and our mutual dependence on oil. If you install solar panels, you are not only lowering your carbon footprint, but you are also helping to boost renewable energy output by exporting electricity from the panels to the grid.
Affordability – Reduce What You Pay for Electricity
Some of your energy demands will be met by the electricity generated by your solar power system. This will result in you paying less for the electricity you use. The amount you save will be influenced by the size of your solar system as well as your power use.
You may not only lower your electricity bills, but you can also get rewarded for any excess power you create by sending it to the grid. This is referred to as a ‘feed-in-tariff.’
Property Value Increase
Solar power systems help play a role in boosting the value of your property if you are planning to sell it. According to polls, most Canadians believe that solar panels increase the value of a home, and estimates imply that a 7500kW solar panel installation may add $40,000 to the value of a home.
Low Maintenance Costs
Solar power systems, overall, do not require a lot of upkeep. You need to maintain them by cleaning on a regular basis; polishing them a couple of times a year is enough.
After the original cost of the solar system is covered, you can expect to pay relatively little on maintenance and repairs. A yearly inspection with a certified inspector costs around $100 – $200 on average.
Solar energy can be put to a variety of uses. You can use photovoltaics to generate electricity or heat (solar thermal). Solar energy can be used to generate electricity in places where there is no connection to the grid, to distil water in areas where pure water is scarce, and to power spacecraft.
Solar energy can also be incorporated into building components. Sharp just released transparent solar energy windows.
Here are the cons when it comes to solar panels:
The cost to install & store energy
Solar power has the highest initial cost outlay than other sources of renewable energy. For an average 7500 KW system to be installed in Canada you will pay between $15,000-$30,000. This cost does not include the battery storage system. The battery is not necessary if you intend to connect to the local grid.
According to acovo.com For an $18,000 system, you are looking at 20 years before you make the money back from the savings created by solar power.
Storing energy is also expensive. If you wanted to store enough energy for the average home for one day you would need 3 Tesla batteries. They range around $7000. Per battery so you can see that storing energy would be expensive indeed!
Your location and average hours of sunlight
If you live close to the equator, then sunlight will not be a problem for you. However, the further away from the equator that you live the fewer hours of sunlight you can expect. Solar panels efficacy drops the further you get from the equator.
Depending on what season it is, solar efficacy alternates. The summer months, when we are closer to the sun, is an excellent time for solar panels, however when winter comes and we are furthest from the sun, it is likely that you will not be able to produce enough energy for your needs.
Time of day is a factor, as solar panels cannot produce energy at night. This means that to have power you will also need to be connected to the local energy grid meaning higher costs. Clouds and storms can limit the panels access to the sun as well.
Inefficient production of power
According to the Qualitative Reasoning Group with Northwestern University in the US, most solar panels on people’s houses convert only 14% of their available energy into power. Even today’s most efficient solar panels convert only 22% of their available energy into power.
Damage to your roof
If you decide to go ahead and have solar panels installed on your roof, make sure to do your research and check the reviews for the installers. If the panels are not installed properly, they could make holes in your roof leading to leaking and costly repairs.
The panels need additional support as they are heavy. It would be a good idea to have a professional check the integrity of your roof before you add the panels. The weight of the panels could damage your roof.
Solar energy, as a method to heat your home, is still very much in its infancy. It may be an inexhaustible renewable resource, but it still has a long way to go before they work the kinks out and it becomes affordable and efficient.