Home solar power systems convert sunlight into electricity through the use of solar panels. For an average home about ten watts per square foot of electrical energy will be gathered per day. This will vary depending on a number of factors including panel size and type, amount of sunlight, and length of time direct sunlight is available.
A home solar power system will cost considerably more as an initial investment, but will be very cost effective in the long run. There are two main reasons for considering home solar power. First, of course, is the saving on your electric utility bill and secondly is the fact that solar power is renewable and environmentally friendly. There are NO polluting side effects.
There are 5 main components of a home solar power system that is connected to the electric grid. If you choose to be totally off-grid, it will also be necessary to have a storage battery to store excess energy your system generates.
- Solar panels
- Power converter
- An electric panel
- A utility meter
- The utility grid
- A storage battery unit (for off grid)
Solar panels are normally placed on the roof of your house, but may also be placed in any area that receives direct sunlight. Either installation must be placed to receive as much direct sunlight as possible. The solar panels convert sunlight into DC power.
The power converter is necessary to change the DC power into AC power which is what you receive from an electric utility. AC or alternating current is what household lights and appliances use.
The electric panel brings the power from the power converter to the breaker box. It is then distributed to the lights and outlets in the house.
In an on-grid system the electric utility meter handles excess power from your system, causing your utility meter to run backwards when your system is supplying power TO the utility grid. Then when you must receive power from the electric utility you receive credit for the amount previously supplied. A very nice feature of being on-grid.
And the last component in an on-grid system, the utility grid, will supply you with electricity during the night, on cloudy days, and when you need more electricity than your home solar power system produces.
If you will not be connected to the grid system — whether by choice or because the location is remote and not supplied with electricity, you will also need a storage battery unit to store the excess power from your home solar power system for use at night.
Is a home solar power system right for you? Maybe. Even though the initial costs are higher, the payback may well be worth considering. If you are building, remodeling, or even refinancing your home, the cost of home solar power can be included in the mortgage. Also, keep in mind that both state and federal governments offer attractive tax incentives when you install a home solar power system.
And best of all – wouldn’t be GREAT to never pay another electric utility bill?
Why wouldn’t you do it if you have the opportunity?