Going green is all the rage right now and for good reason. Reducing the environmental impact your home has can also be cost effective. For example, using energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs will cut your electricity bill as well as the frequency with which you have to purchase new bulbs.
Another increasingly popular means of going green is with the help of domestic photovoltaic systems, also known as solar panels. Typically, solar panels are installed to the roof of your home, where they harness solar energy that can then be converted into electricity.
It’s really amazing what wonders these can do in terms of reducing your home’s carbon footprint and your dependence on unsustainable resources, all while ultimately saving you money. If this idea has piqued your interest, but you aren’t so sure what’s involved in acquiring a domestic photovoltaic system, read on!
Perhaps you’ve seen solar panels on the roofs of some homes or garages. They may have made you a little curious, but how many people actually know how these things work?
Essentially, the panels pictured above are equipped with the technology to convert sunlight into electricity. More scientifically, the panels capture the light particles (also known as photons) radiating onto the earth’s surface. On a molecular level, when these particles hit the solar panels they release electrons. This creates a kind of electrical current that can then be converted into a more usable form.
For maximum effect, solar panels ought to be placed in sunny spots—hence why they are typically situated on the roof. This process is renewable, and better yet, it doesn’t create waste products that are harmful to the environment. Photovoltaic systems will help save you money by cutting your dependence on conventional sources of electricity.
You may be thinking this all seems a bit too good to be true. After all, solar panels are not only great for the environment, but they can significantly cut electricity bills. So what’s the catch? Well, they are not exactly cheap to purchase—the initial cost for a photovoltaic system can run to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Still, they make an excellent investment as they can literally cut the costs of your electricity bill in half. You will definitely wind up breaking even and then some. It is likely that solar panels will grow cheaper over time—remember, they are still a relatively new development. We're willing to bet that in the next decade their costs will be dramatically reduced.
If you’re wondering when it’s a good time to add solar panels to your roof, we don’t suggest waiting for years until the costs come down. This is such a wise investment and its benefits to the environment are so substantial that we think you should install solar panels as soon as you have the means. Unfortunately, the environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate. We must all do as much as we can to provide a brighter future for our children!
As mentioned above, installing solar panels on the roof is ideal because it has the most direct contact with sunlight. As we can see in this eco-friendly home by Licht-Design Skapetze GmBH & Co.KG, the photovoltaic system is quite thin. Though the look might take some getting used to, we actually find them quite trendy when placed well.
If you’re unsure about the best spot to situate your solar panels, you can always consult an installation professional as to where they might work best on your property.
If you’re going to make the investment, these panels ought to have some longevity. Because the panels are comprised of many individual photovoltaic cells, these vessels can get damaged over time, which can decrease the panels’ overall ability to harness and convert sunlight. Thus, the solar panels require continual maintenance and upkeep.
We suggest getting in touch with your trusty photovoltaic system technician. This person can check the panels periodically to make sure that they are fully functioning. Rest assured, however, that the panels should last for several decades.
While all of this might sound well and good, plenty of people today live in apartment buildings where installation might face unique issues and obstacles. Luckily, the panels themselves do not discriminate as long as they have access to direct sunlight.
Depending on your relationship with your landlord and neighbours, the installation of a large solar panel could be a collective expense that results in collective benefit. Alternatively, an individual can always install a solar panel on their private terrace—the panels are available in many sizes. With the help of a professional, the electric current can then be directed into your personal apartment for use.
Lastly, it’s important to understand the maintenance requirements for the photovoltaic system. Luckily, not that much is required on the part of the owner, save for the initiative to arrange a periodic inspection with a technician. Once you’ve made the investment, you can reap the benefits as long as the sun continues to shine. The electricity will be stored until you use it, so you can be sure the energy is not only being harnessed but that its use is maximised.
Of course, there are some noteworthy exceptions. Harsh weather conditions, for instance, can cause damage to the photovoltaic cells. This is one important reason to have the system routinely inspected.
If you found this guide useful and would like to learn more about how you can reduce your carbon footprint, check out these 6 easy steps to an eco-friendly home. Happy decorating!