If you landed on this post, then you probably have some interest in going solar. Maybe you have already installed a solar panel system and want to get a picture of what your new life will look like. Whatever the reason is, making the decision to be a part of the solar movement is always the right choice.
Whether it is for long-term financial reasons or because you want to mitigate your environmental impact, the biggest question on your mind is likely, “What will my life look like once I go solar?” This post will help give you a better picture of that and will allow you to prepare for what is to come.
Your Monthly Electricity Bill with Solar
The most noticeable and immediate change in your life when you go solar will be the cost of electricity for your home. Most of the solar panel systems that are installed on residential properties are connected directly into the existing electrical grid. This provides some added value for the homeowner, such as being able to sell excess electricity back to the grid to make money, pull electricity from the grid when your own system isn't producing, and other benefits.
Your new monthly electric bill will depend on how much energy your solar panel array is producing, but it is usually recommended to install one that is large enough to cover 100% of your needs. If this is the way you go, you will now be paying your minimum electricity bill payment, which can be anywhere from $5 to $20 dollars, depending on your utility. Right off the bat, you can be saving hundreds of dollars each month.
Be Mindful of Your Electricity Consumption
When you go solar at your home, your monthly expenses for electricity will go down significantly, but another change that may be less noticeable will be in your electricity consumption habits. In general, when something is cheaper, people tend to use and buy more of it. This is exactly the case with gasoline, so it would make sense if it was also true with electricity. Just because you are now generating your own electricity does not mean you should leave all your lights on, have 3 TVs going at the same time, and install 2 extra refrigerators. Alternatively, this doesn’t mean you cannot use more electricity — it is all about balance.
If you see that you could actually benefit from adding some utilities or other features to your home that require added electricity, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. As long as you are mindful of your behavior, going solar should be something that affords you extra amenities.
Energy Tracking And Performance
Keeping track of your monthly energy production and consumption is highly valuable for when you are trying to analyze your ROI. When you go solar, you do not get to just sit back a reap the benefits. You must still put in time and effort to maximize the value of your system. If you are truly trying to save as much money as possible, having data to help back your energy consumption decisions is imperative. There are many different tools and services that can help you along the way, including the online monitoring that will be provided by the manufacturer of your solar inverter.
Minimizing your energy consumption while having a solar panel system can make a big difference in how long it takes to recoup your investment. Couple this with net metering credits, and the payback time for your system can be lower than 5 years.
The Necessities for Maintaining Your Solar System
There is no denying the value that a solar panel system can bring to a homeowner; less greenhouse gas emissions, cheaper electricity, increased home value, and ultimately free electricity once the system has paid itself off (outside of the minimum utility payment). These benefits are all clear.
What may be less clear are things like maintenance and repairs. This is typically covered by manufacturer and workmanship warranties on the system.
You may also need to very occasionally clean your panels from dust, snow, dirt, and other obstructions. These things can impact the energy production of your panels if you reside in a dusty area.
A Long-Term Investment
Although it may take several years to see the full returns from your solar system investment, if you plan to stay at your residence for longer than that, it is just a matter of time before you're reaping the full benefit of a solar array. The benefits are inevitable if you stick with it in the long-term. Be mindful of your new responsibilities, enjoy the immediate savings on your electricity bill, and don’t feel too guilty about blasting your AC this upcoming summer!