Being more sustainable in an ever-increasingly wasteful world is important to many homeowners. One way to leave less of a carbon footprint is to incorporate solar panels on your roof to make your home more sustainable and eco-friendly. Harnessing the power of the sun to power the devices you need for daily living not only decreases or eliminates your energy bills outright, but it also makes a positive impact on the environment.
A Financial Win
Up until very recently, installing solar panels on the average home was out of reach financially for many people. Sure, businesses, municipalities, and corporations have been getting in on the game for several years now. However, solar panels for small-scale private use just weren’t cost-effective — until now. In driving through your neighborhood, perhaps you’ve noticed more and more homes with solar panels on the roof. That’s because solar system companies are offering tremendous deals to homeowners that are at least half the price of what they were just a few years ago. According to Guardian Roof Systems (www.guardianroofsystems.com), some companies offer the panels and installation for free in exchange for the use of your solar-powered energy which they sell to local energy companies. Homeowners also have the option of buying their own solar panel kits and installing them on their own.
The motivation for many homeowners is to save money and reduce environmental impact. According to SolarEnergy.net, the average American homeowner pays about $200 per month in energy bills, with the average house emitting more than 16,000 pounds of CO2 each year. By the way, 24 trees are needed to offset that number. If just five percent of households going solar, we as a country would take 7,700,000 cars off the road, remove nearly 90,000,000 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere, and offset the total number of all autos sold in the United States. According to the World Wildlife Federation, the prices for solar panels have decreased a whopping 80 percent since 2008.
How Solar Panels Work
It’s quite simple really. Solar panels contain light particles called photons, which knock electrons free from atoms to generate a flow of electricity, according to LiveScience. Comprised of many small units of photovoltaic cells, all of these combine to make up one solar panel. Each cell contains silicon or some other similar semiconducting material to create an electric field with positive and negative charges between the layers of silicon. Every time an electron comes free, it’s pushed out by the electric field. These electrons then become usable power that flows through wires like any other kind of electricity. The bottom line is that they use sunlight’s power to generate electricity, creating a sustainable resource that is just there for the taking. It’s this clean, abundant energy that is so appealing to more and more homeowners looking to take charge of their own energy consumption. In addition, many homeowners like the idea of separating themselves from the big electricity companies that dominate their area with high prices.
Going forward, more opportunities are cropping up for homeowners to take advantage of solar panel savings, such as lease options featuring zero upfront costs and huge monthly energy savings. Choosing a more sustainable future for the next generation is easier than you may think, and it all starts at home.