In the age where gas and electricity bills continue to skyrocket, solar-powered sources are all the rage for many homeowners. It has become a trend ever since Home Depot started stocking power systems and selling solar panels for residential homes in San Diego, California, in 2001. This new market demand led to increased awareness of using solar panels as a great way to reduce energy costs and reduce environmental impact.
Sadly, solar power companies have been having a tough time making solar systems a mainstream product in the real estate market. Many view it as a costly technology since solar power requires advanced components to convert sunlight into electricity successfully. But despite this fact, buying a solar-powered home is more cost-efficient in the long-term instead of wasting thousands of dollars on energy bills.
Solar power systems host plenty of benefits to businesses and residences, contributing to efficient energy independence. But if you are still torn if you want to go solar, this article offers a brief discussion regarding the basics of solar-powered homes. By the end, you will understand what it really means to go solar.
What are solar-powered homes?
Traditionally, a solar-powered home is a residential building with installed ground mount panels or photovoltaic (PV) technology, producing usable electricity from sunlight. More often, solar-powered homes have solar batteries attached to PV arrays for storing energy produced by the solar panels.
But not all homes using solar panels are fully solar-powered. In fact, homeowners confuse the term “solar home” on any household using a solar-powered electricity source. But in reality, it can also refer to hybrid solar systems and grid connection.
Using solar power doesn’t mean you are automatically off the grid when you still depend on utility companies for electricity supply. Many solar homeowners turn to public utilities since their solar system doesn’t generate sufficient electricity to power all home appliances.
Having a solar-powered home means a property produces the right amount of electricity for household needs and stores the solar power effectively to maintain minimal reliance on utility companies. Basically, going entirely off the grid means having sufficient energy dependence at home.
Solar home solutions
There are plenty of confusing terms associated with solar power and solar homes. But apart from the traditional solar panels, solar-based technologies vary greatly, from solar panels, solar water systems, integrated PV, and passive solar. But how do they differ? Here are different types of solar home solutions:
A common way of using solar energy at home is installing solar panels on the roof or ground-mounted system. Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity through a physical and chemical process called the “photovoltaic effect.”
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV)
BIPV is a solar power process that incorporates solar technologies into the structure or material of a building. Solar panels turn into building-attached photovoltaic (BAPV) by becoming a subsequent component of homes and buildings.
Passive solar technology
This solar power setup depends on the heat coming from sunlight. As the sun passes in the south-facing windows, the passive solar technology collects the heat and retains it in the form of thermal mass or any material capable of storing heat, such as tiles, stones, bricks, or concrete. Unlike other solar-powered systems, this technology doesn’t deliver electrical energy to a home, but it can minimize the use of heating and cooling systems.
Solar hot water
Like PV systems, hot water installations use solar panels to collect energy from sunlight. But this setup doesn’t use the PV effect when producing electricity; rather, the panels gather solar thermal power and use the energy to heat water sources at your home.
Why should I go solar?
Whatever solar power technology you choose, having a solar-powered home provides a significant amount of environmental and financial advantages. Here are the top benefits:
- Eliminate or reduce high electricity bills. If you live in sunny states with a significant amount of sunlight, solar power technologies are enough to provide power to a small family.
- Earn rebates and tax credits. Did you know you get 30% of total system expenses back from installation and equipment in the form of the income tax credit? You can save at least $7,500 for solar power worth $25,000.
- Reduce reliance on fossil fuel. Since traditional energy comes from fossil fuels, depending on utility companies for electricity power contributes to global climate change. Installing solar power technologies at home reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
Buying a solar-powered home may seem expensive, but it can yield plenty of benefits than simply relying on traditional sources of energy. Not only will you save on skyrocketing bills, but you are also saving the environment.