Do you want to go green and do more to help protect the environment? If so, you may be considering solar heat for your home.
Investing in solar energy is one way for you to become environmentally friendly. But before taking the plunge and switching over to solar heat, take time to weigh the pros and cons to ensure this is the right decision for your home.
Saving on heating costs is a big pro for many homeowners. Energy bills continue to rise, so installing solar panels can cut your monthly costs. You can also get a tax break if you decide to install solar panels as an energy source for your home.
Some estimates show a savings of $100 or more per month for homeowners using solar heat. While that may not sound like a lot, it can really add up over a year’s time.
The sun’s power is always there and infinitely renewable, unlike coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels that offer limited resources. There’s no need to worry about replenishing your energy source, making solar power much more reliable for years to come.
Installing solar panels adds no greenhouse gases or other toxic pollutants to the environment. While there is some pollution created during the manufacturing of these panels, there is no ongoing threat to the environment to use them. Other heat sources release carbon emissions into the environment, while solar panels do not.
Once installed, solar panels require very little maintenance. They do need to be inspected and cared for to ensure they are working properly, but the care requirements are easy and take very little time to complete. You’ll find they take less time to maintain than coal or natural gas heaters and furnaces.
Solar panels have no moving parts, and just sit and collect the sun’s energy, so they make no noise at all. If you’re looking for a super-quiet energy source, this is it. Even if you choose to install solar panels that rotate on an axis to follow the sun throughout the day, the minimal noise won’t be enough to disturb you. Other alternative energy sources, like wind turbines, have parts that make a lot of noise.
Installing solar panels is an investment, so you do need to have money up front to have them put in place before the savings kick in. The panels will eventually pay for themselves, but don’t expect it to happen overnight. However, many companies offer leasing options and other help to get you started with solar panels.
The sun shines everywhere, but this doesn’t mean solar power will work everywhere. Global solar radiation plays a role in how much energy you can expect to harvest through solar panels. Depending on where you live, you may get better results. Areas closer to the equator are ideal, but there are spots in the United States that have good potential for using solar energy.
Because solar panels rely on the sun to supply power, they are not a consistent source of power. Cloudy days and the sun going down at night make solar panels less reliable than other energy sources. This means a backup energy source must be used, so you’ll still rely on fossil fuels when the sun isn’t shining.
Unlike fossil fuels, sunlight is not easy to store. This means you won’t have extra power for emergencies when you may need larger energy consumption. You can store energy produced during daylight hours in batteries for later use, but cost varies and can be expensive depending on the size of battery you need. Researchers are working on creating lower cost options for storage.
You’ll need quite a bit of shade-free space to harvest enough energy from your solar panels to meet your needs. You’ll need a sunny area roughly 100 square feet in size to install the panels. When determining the best place to install the panels, you’ll also have to consider shadows caused by trees or other structures that may block the sun.
As you can see, there is a lot to take into consideration when deciding whether you should try solar heat for your home. Weighing the pros and cons and discussing it with others who have used solar heat can be a good way to make an informed decision.
Helping the environment is something we all want to do, and investing in alternative energy sources is one step we can take toward creating a cleaner, greener world.