Considering how expensive they are to install, solar panels almost act as a status symbol that shows others you have money to spare. As power sources, though, they’re not really sufficient to replace energy that comes from plants just yet, and probably won’t be for a while to come.
Despite this, solar technology is definitely increasing in popularity and there are more and more people installing these panels on their homes and office buildings every year. Do these individuals know what they’re doing or are they simply victims of the latest fad?
The cost-effectiveness of solar panels
Let’s get one thing out of the way: if you’re installing solar panels, you’re probably willing to sacrifice a bit of your money to help the environment. Currently, one of the biggest selling points of solar panels is how ‘green’ they are – they don’t pollute the Earth, don’t put others in danger in order to get power and so forth. Because of these factors, governments around the world are making strides towards adopting green energy through solar technology and are slowly trying to replace old ways of generating energy. But how effective are they for consumers?
Aside from looking good on your home, solar panels are sure to give you a bit of free energy, especially over the long run. You heard that right – energy coming from the Sun is free and abundant, and you could say it goes to waste whenever it’s not being absorbed by something (humans, animals, vegetation or technology). There’s just one small problem (okay, not so small) – the means of converting solar energy to electricity aren’t nearly as efficient as we’d like them to be.
If you’re approaching things from a pragmatic standpoint, there’s a good chance that your solar panels aren’t going to pay themselves off anytime soon – setting that money aside for electricity bills, will probably turn out more profitable, especially in the short term. However, there’s another way of looking at things.
The future energy of the now
Solar panels are a great investment for the future, both on a global level and on a personal one. The positive effect on the planet is clear, however small it might be: you’ll contribute less to the expenditure of non-renewable energy sources like coal or uranium, the processing of which can be hazardous both to the environment and to humans.
On a personal level, solar panels will pay off more with each passing year. They are self-sustaining and don’t exactly have a habit of breaking down, meaning you could help several future generations of your family save some money on bills. If you own a family home you intend to pass along to your children and grandchildren, solar panels are no doubt a great addition to it. Not to mention, investing in solar panels is a great way to ensure you won’t end up spending the money on a trivial purchase in the near future.
Keep one thing in mind, though: even the best consumer-grade solar panels can only cover a fraction of your energy needs, and you’ll have to keep using standard electricity methods for the rest.