It's no secret that solar energy is an environmentally conscious technology, but have you considered how it could help keep your wallet filled? Though traditional on-grid technology can allow you to be paid for your excess solar electricity, it can come with some unexpected costs and still relies upon the framework set in place by energy companies that continue to utilise finite resources. For the planet and your finances, will you join the green revolution?
Electricity costs are steadily rising and the threat of global warming is ever present. Solar energy, which makes use of renewable resources that aren't going anywhere, can help you save on your bills by generating power right in your backyard. Solar panels capture light particles to produce electricity - a process known as photoelectricity - which can be used immediately, stored by solar batteries, or sold back to the grid. When this electricity is stored by solar batteries for later use, this is referred to as off-grid solar.
Storing your solar electricity can be a very cost-effective way of keeping your home powered at all hours of the day. Your batteries will store excess electricity generated by your solar panels up to their maximum capacity, allowing you to draw on this energy during the evening or periods of low sunlight.
Alternatively, with an on-grid solar setup, excess energy is sold back to the grid, accumulating a credit on your energy account, which is then utilised by purchasing electricity back from your provider in periods of low sunlight.
Unfortunately, the sale and purchase price of excess/supplementary energy is not equal. Generally, you will be selling your excess energy back to your electricity provider at a much lower rate than what you will purchase supplementary electricity for. This means that, in theory, the hardware required to power your home through an on-grid system will have to be of a higher standard than an off-grid system in order to offset the price difference between sold/purchased solar energy.
There is a lot of talk about the need to transition away from fossil fuels, but what are all these other options? Solar power is one of many renewable energy technologies that are being further developed at this very moment. Solar electricity systems have come a long way in recent years, driven by technological developments and increasing public interest. Based on this, as time goes on, further developments will continue to make the technology more efficient and more accessible to the average consumer.
Conversely, as the planet's natural reserves of finite fuel sources continues to deplete, the cost of energy provided by electricity companies will continue to rise. As an on-grid solar user, this could further the divide between the cost of supplemental energy and excess energy sold back to the grid, meaning that the technology to be utilised by you, the consumer, will have to be more high-powered than ever before to account for this gap.
Despite the inherently "green" nature of solar energy as well as its promise to reduce your ongoing electricity bills, there can be significant differences in the impact of your solar technology choices both for the planet and your bank account.