Sunday, June 28, 2009

Estimating Solar Cost For Your Home

By Joan T. Ritzborough

If you are thinking of going green, solar panels might give you an interesting solution. Quietly they will convert sunlight into electricity, giving you DC voltage as the final output. For your home devices this voltage should be inverted to AC.

To make it happen there are some solar kits that you need to purchase. These kits are determined by how would you want to have the system installed. There are three different set-ups you can choose. First is on-grid, meaning you have the solar electricity integrated with the utility grid. This is the most popular option because you need to spend less money compared to other systems.

Grid-tie is cheaper because we don't buy batteries to bank the solar electricity. The expensive part to purchase is solar inverter only. By eliminating the batteries from our system we have save some money. Solar batteries are different from vehicle batteries and they are expensive. This option however will not give you electricity during power outages.

The next choice you have the solar system integrated with utility grid similar to the first option but backed up with solar batteries. The advantage of this system is it gives you power redundancy, the battery bank will release the current to power your home during utility blackout. To have this system you will need to buy solar regulator, solar batteries and solar inverter which differs from the solar inverter we are talking about in the first option. Bringing in these parts to the system obviously increase your spending budget.

For people living in isolated places there is only option left. Due to no power lines available you can only get the off-grid system. This system is totally independent and use solar energy as its main energy source. Here you will need to buy solar regulator, batteries and solar inverter. In addition to the main parts you will need to buy small accessories as well such as terminal connectors, wiring, fuses, etc. This also applied to the other two options above. To back up your solar electricity you can add a gas generator or wind turbines to the system in case of cloudy days.

While the solar cost greatly varies it is quite safe to budget around $15,000 to $60,000 for your up front investment. This cost is actually depend on how big the wattage you need. A full substitution of the utility wattage is not recommended because it will jack up the cost.

The other factors that also contribute to the price are the quality of solar parts and installation cost. Solar inverters for example has a wide quality range and solar installation cost differs from one company to another.

If you are thinking of getting a lower price then US government has a good news for you. Having renewable energy source installed in your house will allow you to get 30% federal tax rebate followed by the local tax incentive. You also get credits from the net metering system by sending the solar electricity to the grid.

There is no need to fully go with 100% solar electricity, even starting with 15% substitution will make a difference. You can always expand your system later on.

Is it true that home solar system needs a one time investment only? The reality is some parts have shorter lifespan, i.e. batteries and solar inverters while other part such as solar panels can stand for 30 years. Most likely you will have to spend money for some parts so it would be better to have this possibility counted into your calculation.

Should you still have no idea about the cost planning there are solar companies available. Search them online and drop your query. They would be happy to help you.

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