What You Need To Know Before Deciding Whether It Is Time To Utilize Solar Energy
There is a lot of good that is done for the environment when people decide to live a greener life. This can come in many different forms and one of the most popular is putting the energy from the sun to use to heat, cool and energize homes. However, just like any new technology there are both advantages and disadvantages to making the switch. Before making the final decision there are a number of things that you should know.
Advantages of Solar Energy
For starters, solar energy can be converted to power with just about anything that uses electricity to run. This includes water heaters, washers, dryers, dishwashers, lights and anything else in your home that is wired to your electrical system. The conversion occurs outside your home and is wired through your meter so that the energy can calculate what you are providing on your own and what they are supplementing.
This can work in your benefit if you are able to produce more energy than you use. If that is the case you can actually receive a check from your local energy company for the energy that you are putting onto the grid. Even if you do not create a surplus you will save hundreds or even thousands a year on energy costs as long as you have enough panels and the weather needed to produce a good amount of energy.
In addition to the money saved and the relative ease of utilizing the energy, you can feel good about the fact that you are lowering your carbon footprint. Every little bit of energy that is produced from the sun is essentially clean and reduces the amount of carbon and other gases put into the air in the production of energy using coal or other means.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
With that said, there are definitely some downsides of this energy that must be considered. One of the biggest of these is whether or not the region in which you live can feasibly support a solar energy system. Clearly, solar energy requires sunlight to produced the desired energy output. If you live in a region that has a lengthy, cloudy winter season, then this likely is not an ideal choice for you. Another region that is not ideal is one that rains a great deal throughout the year. The ideal environment has cloudless days more years than not. In the United States the regions that benefit from solar energy the most are throughout the South, but primarily the Southwest.
Another downside is that it can be rather expensive to install and purchase a solar energy system. This can be in the range of tens of thousands of dollars depending on the one chosen. Of course, over time it can pay for itself, but the calculations of the expected energy produced versus the cost most certainly should be done. Additionally, maintenance can be very expensive as well. General upkeep, weather damage and other factors should be considered.
Finally, as of now solar energy is not a completely renewable resource. There is a good amount of pollution produced in order to make the panels and the system, and of course over time parts must be replaced. There is not yet a completely renewable resource, but there are others that are less harmful to the environment.
Be sure to consider all of these facts before you make your decision about whether or not you want to go that route. It is a great source of energy as long as certain conditions exist, just be sure that those conditions work in your favor.