The solar power movement has seen a lot of advancement in the recent years. In Australia, there is more than 2,412 MW of installed photovoltaic power. Approximately 1,000 MW of that came about in 2012 alone. These massive changes occurred even though the masses aren’t yet convinced by the benefits. Regardless, implementing solar power and other alternative energies is a step in the right direction – a step toward a greener future.
Why Go Solar?
Like the costs of practically every other goods and service throughout history, the cost of electricity has risen steadily over the years. Pricing electric power depends on the costs of generation, transmission and distribution. Many consumers are currently unhappy with how much they pay for electricity and in a constant battle to try and save money. One way to shrink the electric bill is to go solar, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solar power benefits.
1. Lower Cost
Solar energy will cut your electricity costs. In Australia and America, solar power use is reported to be half the cost of grid electricity use. That easily comes out to a lifetime savings of thousands of dollars. Those looking to buy solar panels will also save money today because prices have dropped about 30% within the last two years alone. That means you get better and more advanced technology at a lower price.
2. Less Pollution
The burning of fossil fuels is notorious for releasing harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Solar power creates a greener footprint because its creation does not produce greenhouse gases or other toxic chemicals.
3. Decrease Reliance on Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are the world’s primary source of energy, but supplies are depleting at alarming rates. Not only will the cost of these resources continue to rise over time, the demand for them also creates pollution and political uneasiness. With an alternative energy like solar, nations can generate their own power without any unwanted complexities.
4. Unlimited Supply
Sunlight is free and infinite in supply. There is no risk of wasting the resource or need to fight over it. It is accessible to all people in one quantity or another, given that they have the technology to utilise it.
1. High Initial Cost
The worst part about switching to solar is the initial costs of buying solar panels and installing them. Complete systems range from $10,000 to $35,000 and take up to 20 years to pay for themselves. But, everyone that has made the switch has agreed it was worth it with consumers seeing obvious changes in the first 3-6months.
2. Intermittent Supply
Sunlight might be infinite and free, but it isn’t always present. When night-time rolls around, solar panels are next to useless. Solar panels aren’t great investments for people who live in areas that don’t get much sun.
3. Quality vs. Quantity
When it comes to buying solar panels, always go with quality over quantity: more solar panels won’t necessarily produce more power. What’s more important is the quality of the solar panels. Fewer panels that create more electricity consistently are a better deal than a large number of panels that don’t produce much electricity. Quality panels can last up to 30 years with minimal maintenance, so it’s smarter to pay a bit more initially. Going with a “bargain” brand might save you up-front costs, but you’re almost guaranteed to pay more in maintenance costs down the road.
Quality doesn’t only apply to the solar panels but also to the location as well. To put it simply, solar panels installed in locations that consistently get more sunlight will almost always produce more electricity than those that aren’t. Take a home in Perth and one in Melbourne, for instance. The city of Perth gets the most sunlight in all of Australia with 3,200 hours every year, while Melbourne gets only 2,200 in comparison. Consequently, households in Perth are sure to get more use out of their solar panels than those Melbourne.
Another thing to think about is the positioning of the solar panels on the property. Panel orientation can have a dramatic effect on how much energy is produced. If the panels are facing away from the sun for most of the day, they’re not installed in the optimal location. Most of the time, providers will know where to install panels for the greatest effect.
Why now is the Time to Make the Switch
Solar energy has been on the market for a long time now. If you weren’t impressed when it first became available, why should you even consider it years later? Well, here are some interesting facts that could make you change your mind. First, Chinese manufacturing of solar panels has increased exponentially in the last couple of years. This means that there are now a lot of inexpensive options out there. After all, most people didn’t want to jump onto the solar power bandwagon because equipment and installation costs were so high back then. Secondly, many national governments are currently offering discounts and tax reductions for all solar panel installation costs meaning more savings for those who were interested in the concept but not the cost.
Finally, there has been a recent boom in the number of third-party solar energy providers. Many of these companies will design a unique system for your home, install the solar panels free of charge, and maintain the system for a certain number of years. All you would have to do as the consumer is pay a monthly fee for the quantity of electricity created for that month. Even so, buying solar-generated electricity from these companies would likely be 15% cheaper than what you are currently paying now. As you can see, getting into solar power now sounds like a very good idea.
The Future of Solar
Solar energy’s future looks to be very bright. By 2020, solar power will count for 12% of all energy needs in Europe. It will surely become a mainstream source of energy in the next few decades as the world’s nations are shying away from dependence on fossil fuels. Solar power technology is also constantly evolving to become more efficient and affordable which will make the decision to switch even easier for consumers.