When it comes to solar projects for the home, the more that homeowners can invest up front, the greater their savings will be. Solar projects pay for themselves through savings on monthly energy bills. Solar products that save a substantial amount of energy over a lengthy time period provide the greatest payback. While some projects require a significant upfront investment, there are several small-scale projects that most homeowners can afford.
Residential Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
At the top of the home solar project list is a residential solar energy system, an array of solar panels that are mounted on the roof to provide electricity for the home. Advancements in solar technology are making them more affordable, and rebates and tax incentives offered by government programs offer additional savings. Many homeowners opt to lease a system from solar providers. The provider installs, insures and maintains the system and homeowners pay for the electricity that the system generates, saving around 10 to 15 percent on monthly electricity bills.
Home PV systems typically pay for themselves in around ten years. After the payback period, the electricity that the systems generate is virtually free. Since home PV systems can last as long as thirty years, that’s a substantial savings. Professional contractors install most residential solar energy systems, although DIY systems are becoming more available and user-friendlier. As home PV systems are modular, homeowners have the option to start small and add more panels to the system over time.
Solar Water Heating Systems
With a solar hot water system, flat-plate collectors absorb heat from the sun and transfer that heat to a liquid. The heated liquid travels to an insulated tank where it heats water for domestic use or for swimming pools. These systems can cut costs for hot water by more than 50 percent. Government incentive programs offer substantial savings on installation costs. The systems typically pay for themselves in less than five years.
Solar Cabin Kits
Several manufacturers offer battery-operated solar panel kits that let homeowners provide electricity to a garden shed or cabin. A single solar panel collects energy from the sun and stores it in a battery. While these kits typically only generate enough electricity to power one or two light bulbs, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Government incentive programs make them even more affordable.
Solar Outdoor Lighting
One of the most inexpensive home solar projects is a solar outdoor lighting product. They require no wiring and are easy to install. Most come with sensors that turn the lights on at dusk and turn them off again in the morning. Some have motion detectors, adding a measure of security to the home. Solar lights are available in a range of decorative styles as well.
From an extensive array of solar panels that generates all the electricity that a home consumes to a solar recharger that in four hours produces enough energy to recharge a mobile phone, tablet or MP3 player, solar products for the home help preserve the planet’s resources and offer opportunities for people to save money too.