If we consider a home in an undeveloped region with no access to the electricity grid, solar panels are worth of million smiles with a sense of development and upbringing. For developed regions, solar panels are a sign of positive climate action and sustainability.
But still! Are Solar Panels Worth It?
The demand for energy everywhere on the planet is rising from the time humans started using wood fuel as an energy source for many purposes. The 1973 oil crisis gave everyone an overview of the impact of energy crises on day-to-day life. As per Our World in Data, the primary energy consumption of the world in 1973 was 75.6 Petawatt hour and in the year 2019, it was 173.3 Petawatt hour.
In 46 years, energy consumption has risen about 100 Petawatt hours. Globalization and technological evolution have brought a massive rise in energy consumption all around the globe. Still, there are many places in different parts of the world, where there is no access to basic electricity.
Installation of solar panels for electricity generation where there is no electrical grid is a great deed, but are solar panels worth what they are projected? The worth of anything can be calculated with its potential to satisfy the need for which it is used. Like worth of your car is the amount of miles you travel in it and the time it saves you every day as compared to simply walking or taking public transport. In monetary terms, the value of your car will decrease with time but savings in time and money will be its worth.
To be clear on the worth of solar panels we need to understand some basics of power generation and investment in solar energy technology. If you answer these questions to yourself, you’ll find out, are solar panels worth it?
Do You Have Enough Sun Or You Need More Of It?
The worth of solar panels is defined by the irradiation level at the location where they are installed. The irradiation level also called the insolation level is defined as the amount of solar energy striking per unit area in a specific time period. Like irradiation level in New York, USA is around 4 kWh/m2/day which means 4 units of solar energy fall on one square meter in a day in New York on average. This irradiation level is different as per location and varies according to time of the year and change in seasons.
The irradiation level for any location can be looked out with the use of a pyranometer or can be asked from the local weather office or can be quickly accessed through Global Solar Atlas. If the solar irradiation level of your location is enough to satisfy most of your electricity needs, then solar panels are worth it.
If a very large number of solar panels are required to fulfill your basic electricity needs, then solar panels are not worth it, this usually happens if solar irradiation levels are too low in your location. The lowest solar irradiation is at the North & South Pole of the Earth.
What Do You Pay For Electricity And Can You Get Paid For It?
The higher you pay for electricity, the more benefits you get by installing a solar system. In other words, you get more savings by installing a solar power plant if you are charged with high electricity rates. The payback period of solar power plants to connections with high electricity rates is shorter as compared to those with low electricity rates.
For the same purpose, depending on your location, you can calculate the returns from a solar power plant with help of many solar calculators available online like the PVwatts by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. By feeding the correct data to such solar calculators you can easily find out, how much you will save per year by installing a solar system.
On the other hand, if there is a provision to sell extra electricity back to the grid by net-metering or feed-in-tariff scheme, it is totally worth it. Such provisions not only make you an electricity producer for the masses but also cut down your energy bills to great extent. So getting paid for the electricity you generate on your rooftop or backyard installation can save you more and easily pay off for the installed solar system. If electricity rates are high in your area and you can opt for a net-metering scheme, it is totally worth installing solar panels.
What Is The Cost Of Solar System And What Incentives You Can Get?
How much you are investing in the technology to generate electricity for you? There are a number of companies offering the solar systems at the cheapest prices and even you can get one on amazon.com with very good offers. The low-cost options may allure you with low-budget technology but getting the right equipment is the key. Standardized technology with efficient conversion of solar energy to electricity is the basic requirement. Well-optimized components and design of the system as per the load make a system perfect.
The cost of solar systems is declining with time and it is far less as compared to what it was a decade earlier. In many parts of the world, electricity generated by solar panels is cheaper than that generated from coal power plants. The cost of a solar system directly defines its worth as a monetary equivalent and the 25-year life of a solar system as acclaimed by most installers makes it an obvious choice as you pay once for the next 25 years. Installing a solar system is more of a profitable investment scheme in one sense where you get savings for at least 25 years.
On the other hand, there are many incentives levied by the governments to promote the installation of solar systems. Like in the USA the federal solar tax credit benefits for who is eligible. Getting tax benefits for installing solar panels is very beneficial and increases their worth multiple times. If you are in the USA, check out possible government incentives by visiting here.
Do You Care About The Planet And The Future?
If your answer to this question is YES, then installing solar panels is totally worth it. In the fight against climate change and bringing an end to dirty fossil fuels, solar energy is one of the leading technologies. Of all the renewable energy technologies, solar energy has the least carbon footprint, and installing solar panels not only makes energy independent but also secures an environment-friendly planet for future generations. Using the sun’s free energy source to power our day-to-day life is a very viable option and thus solar panels are totally worth it!