Installing solar power in your home can reduce both your electricity bill and your carbon footprint. The renewable energy source can add to the overall value of your house, with portions of the costs supplemented by grants in both Canada and the United States. But installing solar panels comes with expensive upfront fees. Continual maintenance can also add additional costs that homeowners will need to account for. All of this begs the question: is now the right time to invest in solar for your home?
At ecobee we're always looking for opportunities to save energy and cut costs. With an ecobee smart thermostat, you can save up to 26%* off your heating and cooling bills. As the technology advances, let us walk you through how solar panels work, the advantages and disadvantages of having them, and what you need to consider if you want to supplement your energy costs - or even fully convert - to solar energy.
How does solar energy work?
Standard solar panels generate an electric current by catching photons. The photons free up electrons in the solar panels’ cells which produces an electric current. The current is transferred to an inverter through wires. The inverter then converts the energy into power for your home.
If that process seems complicated, you don't need to worry. On a basic level, we can just say solar power converts energy from the sun into energy to power your home. If you'd like to store the power from your solar panels for use at another time, or during a power outage, you’ll also need a battery. The Generac PWRcell solar + battery storage system is a fully integrated solar plus battery storage system that offers big power and a large storage capacity, so you don’t have to sacrifice convenience and comfort. It also means your solar energy is available to you even when the sun isn't shining.
When PWRcell is paired with the PWRcell™ Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) and Smart Management Modules (SMMs), the system will automatically send power to the appliances that need it most during an outage, allowing you to power more than just the essentials. Using the excess energy stored from solar panels or the electric grid to power your home during peak demand times, PWRcell helps save money on your electric bill, too.
What are the advantages of solar power?
Installing a solar system on your home or business comes with many benefits. The biggest advantage comes from reducing - or in extreme cases even eliminating - energy bills. Utilizing a renewable energy source can help alleviate the burdens of rising energy costs, and solar power with a battery storage system means that your home will no longer be entirely dependent on energy from the grid. That can be useful in the event of power outages or extreme weather situations. As previously mentioned, solar power also helps reduce your overall carbon footprint. That's something you as an individual can do to help fight climate change.
The biggest advantage comes from reducing or in extreme cases even eliminating energy bills.
What are the disadvantages of solar power?
Solar power comes with a heavy investment of thousands of dollars when starting out. In most cases, solar energy for your house means fitting your roof with panels. That can take up a huge amount of space to see the best returns. While solar panels still work on cloudy days, generating energy is dependent on sunlight. That can be an issue depending on your geographic location and the time of year.
Should I invest in solar for my home?
The short answer on whether you should invest in solar for your home right now depends on whether you're willing to handle the upfront costs and how personally important it is that your home has a clean energy source independent of the power grid that can save you money on power bills long-term. Solar panels can run between $15,000 to $25,000 for installation, plus more for a storage solution like the PWRcell. Over the long term, it's estimated that solar can save homeowners $17,700, depending on your setup. That means over time your investment can potentially pay for itself. Plus, with back-up solar power, you don't have to worry about running out of energy during an outage, or rising energy prices. Solar can provide you with a clean, independent energy source that will save money over time, but making that kind of commitment depends on each household's priorities.
Thinking about renewable energy sources and more efficient ways to use energy is an important factor in our continued battle against climate change. Whether or not solar is right for you at the moment, it’s helpful to be informed. In the future, the costs may decrease and the efficiency of the technology will increase. If you’re thinking of other ways you can save money on energy costs, ecobee can help. Check out our website for a number of intelligent solutions for your home.
*Compared to a hold of 72°F/22°C.
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