Most people just think of lower electricity bills as the only benefit of installing a residential solar system. It certainly is a driving factor but it also enables other applications and benefits. I will cover what comes to my mind when I consider solar and would love to hear what other consider as well.
There are a few benefits that come to mind as I consider installing a residential solar systems. These benefits include:
- Cheaper electricity
- Emergency power backup
- No cost charging of an electric vehicle
- Green Energy
- Tax credits
The price of electricity, compared to other countries, is not terribly high at this time but times are changing. The recent run up in crude oil prices and other commodities can and will impact electricity prices going forward.
The current administration is also pushing green energy and putting financial and regulatory pressure on electricity generate from non-green sources such as nuclear, gas and coal.
The cost of installing residential solar systems have come down as technology improves while electricity prices might be on the incline. I will cover the financial cost model and payback in coming posts.
Most power companies have a buy back program to pay you for electricity you don’t need and upload onto their grid. The probably don’t pay top dollar but it is better than nothing when you have more power than you can use.
Emergency Power Backup
It seems our national electrical grid is aging and subject to outages due to acks of God or terrorists. I lived in Florida during hurricane Wilma and we were without electricity for 12 days. Portable standby generators are noisy, fuel inefficient, and produce only a portion of the electricity you need each day. During the hurricane we had coffee, a fan and a refrigerator operating a few hours each day. We had cold showers in the dark and no air conditioning.
The cost to install and operate an emergency backup generator is not cheap. You can spend between 10,000 and 25,000 to install and 100’s in gas each year to operate. I am looking for a residential solar system solution that includes a battery system that would eliminate the need to install a emergency backup generator. A battery would also allow me to use my power during times when solar is not enough. I will factor this into my cost benefit analysis in a future post.
No Cost Charging Of An Electric Vehicle
I currently do not own an electric vehicle (EV) but for the first time I am beginning to consider it. The cost benefit analysis of going electric versus gas factors in the price of electricity from your power company. If I can generate my electricity at little cost it will make the benefit of an EV more compelling.
There are some reasonable tax credits if you buy the right EV and I would expect additional incentives from our current administration. I will have a future post on EV reviews and the current incentives.
I am not a fanatical green energy proponent but will gladly adopt green energy solutions if they make financial and operational sense.
Like EV’s there are some federal and state incentives to going solar bringing your cost of installation down. I will go into more detail on these incentives in a future post.
So you can see there are many things you can factor in when considering a residential solar system. I believe it is good to know what you are considering as benefits, your requirements, before you start getting quotes. Solar system sales people are going push their solution and it might not provide you all the benefits today and in the future.
I would love to hear from you what your considerations are. Please post a comment.