Costly Solar Mistakes And How to Avoid Them - I
Posted on June 01 2019
With the ever-increasing fame for Solar Energy, there are many new-bees attracted to this technology for several different reasons. However, some enthusiasts dive right into product purchasing, panel design on their roof and cost calculations before even getting to know the basics of solar energy, and thus end up making some costly and silly solar mistakes.
A solar energy system on a residential plot. via intermtnwindsolar
Apart from the convential roof-top solar panels, you can also consider about portable solar panels that you can take along with you anywhere you go and generate energy for your mobile devices, laptops, portable fridge, in-car appliances, and so much more. In this article, we are going to address some of the most common solar mistakes and explain them in details to you.
1. Off-Grid and On-Grid (Grid-tied) Solar Systems
For a layman, a solar power system is the ultimate electrical grid. Many people think of it as, when installed once, it will then keep providing electricity free of cost for a lifetime; in the short term, people think with a solar system they are going Off-The-Grid. However, this is not true at all and it is a major solar mistake people tend to assume before doing any research.
Solar energy system working principle. via equatorenergycorportation
However, in reality, most solar panel systems are grid-tired. Let me explain what is the difference. Solar panels generate electricity when the sun is up, no matter if you use all the energy generated or not, your system is still generating energy based on its capacity. And of course no energy is generated during the night time, so what would you do to fulfill your electricity demands when the sun is down?
Solar energy Grid-tied system. vua PVbuzz
There are two solutions to this, firstly connect your system to the national/local grid. In this way, any extra energy that you system generates during the daytime is supplied to the grid with calculations stored on the meter, and when you need electric power during the night then you can just draw energy from the grid; most of the time the meter would run even with the outflow and inflow of electricity given that your system is in accordance with the utilities in your house. The other solution is to buy your own battery banks for storing the excess energy and using it in times of need when the sun is not shining.
Do you like what you see? Like us on Facebook to see more exciting content
Although the battery system is more reliable and independent, as even if the grid fails you batteries do not get affected, but the grid-tied system is a much more economical option as batteries are one of the major cost factors in the system. Furthermore, a system without battery works just as a system with battery, treating the grid as the sink for extra energy.
2. Solar is expensive! Wrong, it is not.
Okay, yes the upfront cost of a solar system might end you up with a couple of thousand dollars, but the matter of fact is that you have to consider the longtime effects of a solar panel system. Furthermore, with ever increasing prices of crude oil and natural gas, electricity from your grid supplier isn't any cheaper if you consider operational costs for about 25 years (the life-span of a solar panel).
A quick summary of the cost of solar panel system would be that they pay off for their cost in a few years and then for up to 25 years it is just giving you pure profit in terms of no electrical bills.
Consider the following example for understanding the basic return on investment on a solar panel system. A conventional 7-kilowatt-hour (kWh) system would cost you about 10,000 USD (considering this figure for easy math); then you get a 30% tax credit on the cost of the solar system. That means you get 3,000 USD in tax credits and you only pay 7,000 USD for a 7-kWh system.
Considering an avg of 4.5 hours a day of peak-sun hours, then you get about 900 kW of energy per month (7kWh*4.5(h/day)*30days = 945kW approx 900kW with energy losses). This means that with an avg. price of 12 cents per kW (in the USA) you can save up to 108 USD on your bill per month. Add this up to for a year you get about 1300 USD a year ($0.12 *900kW*12months = Per year savings) which is basically giving you an ROI of about 5.4 years ($7,000/$1300 = ROI). And with an average lifetime of 25 years, after 5.4 years your solar panels are basically generating a profit of about 23,000 USD (considering 80 avg efficiency of the PV cell)
All in all, with a solar panel system of $10,000, you save up to $3,000 in tax credits and pay only $7,000 for a 7 kWh system, that will have a pay-back time of 5.4 years, and generate up to $23,000 in bill saving for until it lasts for life (25 years).
Solar energy system cost. via energysage
Furthermore, If you consider installation by professionals, and not do it as a DIY project, then it would cost you around a fee of $1 per kW. In addition lets consider no tax-credits, then same system would cost you about $17,000 which can pay-off for its price in about 13 years, which is still leaving you with half of the lifetime of the solar panels for profit of up to 16,200 USD.
Therefore, after considering these calculations, I am sure you are also in agreement with the fact that not only solar panel systems are great for the environment, but they are also cheap and have a great ROI.
For more solar mistakes please continue reading here. Trust me, the other solar mistakes do not have such complicated maths :D