As you know, solar energy is the cleanest and most vast energy resource we have on the planet at the moment. Apparently, the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the earth is so ginormous that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the planet's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined!
So why shouldn't you join in on all the solar fun? Going solar saves costs and minimizes you and your family's carbon footprints.
But before you get to enjoy the benefits of living off the grid, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
- Amount of sun
In general, solar panels need some sun from 10am to 2pm each day. This doesn't mean you need bright sunshine. All you need to ensure is that the panels are openly accessible to sunlight – with no buildings or trees nearby to block them.
2. Roof Space Availability
If roof vents and skylights are taking up space on your roof, there might not be enough room for solar panels. Its important to keep this in mind before buying them.
3. Type of Shingles
Solar panels are mostly used on asphalt or composite shingles. Other types will mean increased costs.
4. Roof Replacement
If you have 15 to 30 years left on your roof, then it makes sense to install solar panels which easily have 20-30 years on them. If your roof needs major work in a few years, handle that before adding solar panels.
5. Amount of Energy
Use past bills to keep tabs of how much energy you use in a month or even a year. That way you'll be able to calculate how much you'll be saving with solar.
6. Energy needs over time
Consider how your energy needs will change over time. Got a baby on the way? Teenagers leaving the house soon? Old appliances in excess? All these can help you budget for future upgrades.
7. Type of house or building
Of course, if you live in your own house, solar planning is easy peasy. But if you are in an apartment or a rented house, then things could get a little complicated.
Check on permits and regulations concerning solar panels in advance to avoid unnecessary tear downs and unforeseen expenses.
Be sure to ask when the solar power will be fully functional so that you can plan ahead. It might take anything from a few days to a few months.
10. Total Costs
The average cost of installing solar panels is $17,000. A drop by roughly 60% between 2011 and 2014, according to Forbes. Plus there are solar rebates available in many states, which help offset the cost of the installation.
Here's something else worth remembering. Installing solar panels is equivalent to planting 88 trees. And certainly a great way to shield yourself from the terrors of blackouts and even worse crises to come.
If all this seems too much, you can simply get yourself one of those nifty live-in capsules and enjoy clean energy for a really long time.