Solar panels are quite easy to come by – from major hardware stores to online suppliers and specialized businesses, upgrading to a solar life is generally within quick reach. Some companies specialize only in supplying solar panels, while others can assist with both the supply and installation.
Thanks to the upfront installation cost of solar panels being unpleasantly high, many companies are now also assisting customers with financing options for their solar panels, to assist in affording the initial outlay. Generally, this form of finance will require a monthly repayment until the amount of the cost has been recovered. The good news, depending on where you live, is that solar installations are often eligible for tax rebates and other incentives that make the installation worthwhile.
Grid-tied or off-grid – the considerations
When you are planning your home solar panel installation, you will need to decide whether you will be going fully off-grid, or whether you will still remain partially tied into the grid. Each option comes with its own set of benefits.
Grid-tie systems link with your existing infrastructure and are a great money saver on your electric bill. It greatly reduces the price of buying power from the utility company, and if you reconnected to the power grid, this option comes highly recommended!
When you go with off-grid solar, it is assumed that you live in a remote area where conventional access to power is not always possible. Off-grid setups tend to cost more, since battery packs need to be included to store the generated power for night-time use. While expensive, it is invaluable for getting power to remote areas. If you live in a remote area, start your search by looking for “solar companies near me”.
You can also get a s hybrid of the two types, which has batteries, but also connects to the grid. You may have heard the term “battery backup” – this is what it refers to. These systems are great in areas that are prone to outages, or even to sell the generated energy back to the provider, for rebates or other benefits.
How long do solar panels last?
The standard lifespan is thought to be anything between 20 and 30 years. These systems are more or less maintenance free, which is a great money saver when it comes to the upkeep of your home systems. The most work that they require is to be kept clean and clear of dirt and other natural obstructions to light, like snow or fallen leaves. Most of them also come with warranties, in the case of mechanical malfunction.
The panels tend to produce less energy as time goes by. This is referred to as their useful life period, and it is a natural side effect of time-related wear and tear on the components. About 25 years after installation, you should start to see a significant reduction in the amount of power that is generated. But weighed up against the large period of active power generation time, and the benefits that come with it, this drawback is negligible, and is greatly outweighed by the savings benefits that precede this.