The sun is more than a light source. The sun fuels our planet. Solar energy is an essential resource. And it’s one you should know more about. As we move into the future, we have to recognize what solar energy can do for us. Even if it is on a small scale, we want to go over the pros and cons of using solar energy this month. If you have been toying with the idea of solar panels or just would like more information – this blog is for you.
What’s Solar Energy Anyways?
To begin, let’s talk about how we get energy from the sun. Indeed, you have seen solar panels before. Maybe, it was on a farm as you were driving by. Or, perhaps you know someone who uses them in their home. But have you ever wondered how it all works?
Generally, homeowners use a PV system. With this type of setup, panels convert sunlight into energy. From there, you have a few routes. You can use the electricity right away. Or, you can store it in a solar battery.
Solar panels are pretty neat. To illustrate, we will break down how it works. The sun’s rays strike down on a semiconductor. Generally, the panels are made of silicon. In turn, electrons loosen and set in motion. This process creates a DC. With the use of a solar inverter, it converts to AC. (This is a vital step.) Most home appliances run on an AC, not a DC.
In conclusion, the sun’s rays bounce off a solar panel. From there, a current is created and converted. Meanwhile, a wire captures the energy. Now, you have solar energy to use or store.
Pro: You Can Start Small
If you aren’t ready to dive right in, start small. Ideally, you will need to install a specific amount for it to be useful. However, you can add more as needed. Please test it out first. If it’s right for you, you can expand in the future. As you add more, you will maximize your advantage. In short, you can start saving on your heating and cooling bill without getting in over your head. Find out what works for you first.
Keep in mind; you will need the help of a professional. We do not suggest trying to source out materials on your own. A solar expert will help you decide what you need to get started. As with all the HVAC in your home, it’s best to seek assistance from an expert.
Con: You Need a Specific HVAC System
If you are looking to save a few dollars on your hydro bill, solar energy might not be the best decision. Generally speaking, it’s a pricey investment. Nevertheless, it is one that works out in the end. But, unless you prepare for upfront costs, you might want to think otherwise.
Firstly, you must purchase solar panels. Yet, if you plan to run your heating/cooling with solar energy, you also need compatible HVAC. As you know, that’s not cheap. So, depending on your budget, you might need to do some rethinking. It’s vital to consider all your costs. That way, you can weigh out the true value.
With that being said, there are ways you can get your hydro bill down. Our first suggestion – check your current HVAC. Older appliances use up more electricity than you think. As time goes on, efficiency goes down. So, if solar energy isn’t in the wheelhouse, give us a call. We would be happy to make some suggestions. Furthermore, we assess your home to help you save money.
Check out our blog Energy Efficiency For Your Home for more information. You’re sure to find some useful tips. It’s worth a read!
Pro: Solar Energy Works in Most Climates
You might think you need to live in a hot climate for solar power to be worth it. Yet, that’s not true. As long as there is daylight, then solar energy is possible. As a matter of fact, solar panels work more efficiently when they are not exposed to high heat. With that being said, a cooler climate is perfect for the use of solar panels as well.
It’s important to remember that while it works in most climates, it doesn’t work on every property. Sometimes, the roof will not work. In that case, you would have to think about mounting on the ground. That is if you have space. The roof is the optimal place.
Con: It Doesn’t Work at Night
Another key point when discussing solar energy – it doesn’t work at night. Well, not technically. The idea of living off the grid might be enticing. Unfortunately, it is usually a combined effort. Most of the solar energy created during the day is used during the day. Then, at night the home relies on power grids. It’s a work in progress.
Solar energy has many benefits. There are no doubts there. Although, will it be worth it in the end? If you have low hydro bills, you will have low solar savings. So, for a family home, it might be better to upgrade your current HVAC. There are a lot of great options out there. Options that are made to help you save on your hydro bill. Not to mention, you won’t get stuck in the dark during a cold winter’s night. Our suggestion is to try out other methods to save money on your bills this year, such as a new smart thermostat.
Who knows, the future is always changing. Soon, we could be pursuing more ways to harness solar energy. In the meantime, remember a few key points to help you save money this year:
- Make sure your appliances are running efficiently. Or, give us a call if you’re looking for something new. We are always looking for new ways to help your home run more efficiently.
- Keep your HVAC in tip-top shape. That means regular service. Do you know how to spot an HVAC emergency?
- Remember, if you take care of your home – it will take care of you.
On that note, we would love to answer any further questions you have. For all your HVAC needs, let ATN Mechanical help you!