Published on May 14th, 2018 | by Sponsored Content
Efficiency: Solar Power’s First Round of Defense
The primary goal of installing a solar system is often to generate clean energy, and thus save on home utility expenditures. However, there are several reasons why solar power may NOT be the best option for homeowners.
Is Solar A Good Idea?
First and most obviously is that solar power is expensive (at least upfront) and most people don’t have the money to spend on a new system, even with the fancy solar financing that is now becoming widely available. Ultimately, people are beginning to ask themselves, “Should we invest in solar power that has a 10 year pay-back or should we invest in LED lightbulbs that have a 1-year pack-back?”
And thus, from a cost savings perspective – sometimes lower cost energy efficiency purchases are a much better choice because the up-front investment is smaller, and the pay-back period is quicker.
Secondly, not every home is a good candidate for solar power. You not only need adequate space on your roof or on the ground, but the system also needs to be clear of major shading and it needs to be facing south – not always possible.
In addition to this, some roofs are just not in the condition to handle solar because the shingles would need to be replaced before the panels do! This would create a massive headache and should be avoided at all costs.
Third, there are some negative impacts of solar power on the environment. No one likes to talk about this part – but mining, transportation, and distributing materials around the world has a considerable energy cost associated with it. So, if saving the planet is your primary goal, this may add an extra layer that you need to think about.
DIY Home Efficiency
Sometimes there are just smarter investments that you can make. Here are several things that you can do to save energy (and thus money) that are highlighted in DIY articles on this website:
- You can re-insulate your attic
- You can install a timed power bar to limit energy consumption on major appliances
- Or you can make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed
And these are just a few examples – check out the home energy usage page for more DIY articles. Energy efficiency techniques tend to be simple to administer, and relatively impactful on decreasing your home’s electricity consumption (and thus your power bill!).
Financials of Solar Power
So is there ever a place for solar power? Well, not without efficiency – because the financial metrics of solar power get better and better when your energy usage is small. Systems get cheaper. Less energy is used. Pay-back period shortens. Excess energy can be sold. And Internal rate of return and net present value of an investment in solar all rise.
And from a DIY perspective, smaller solar systems are easier to install yourself – decreasing costs even more (as opposed to hiring an installation company). For these reasons, we consider energy efficiency as your primary round of defense, necessary for a feasible solar power investment.