CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The sun has been around since the very beginning.
And man has tried to harness it for centuries.
Until Fairly recently, solar power has been on the fringe when it comes to energy production.
But, the times, are changing!!
Solar power. We know about the environmental impacts and advantages of this clean energy producer. That has been a determining factor for some choosing the sun for energy over the last twenty years. But for most of us, it still comes down to value and affordability.
“When we first started, the price was – you know – pretty hefty, um, to be honest, so in the last, you know – you know, 12-13 years, you’ve seen a, you’ve seen a big decrease in the price of the components, and the installation, and you’ve seen growth, substantial growth. Everyone is interested in solar power. You know, it’s almost a household name,” said Dale Roden, Director of solar Engineering for Tri-State Electric.
Still, it’s a big investment for any family or business. Before deciding if this is right for you, check your current electric bill for usage and costs over the past year.
Two questions then must be answered.
First, how much solar power do you want to offset your current energy needs? The more you want, the more it will cost. And to totally go off the electrical grid using batteries to store your energy, will greatly add to your initial investment. The technology for storage still has a ways to go and is quite expensive.
Secondly, how long will it take for your solar investment to pay for itself?
When it comes to electricity, and tying a solar power source like this to your home, use a professional. It may cost a little bit more, but they know what they are doing and they stand behind their work.
In our area and climate, it will take between 10 and 11 years to pay off your investment. That includes the Federal tax credit of 30% that can be taken over a 5 year period. That does down to 26% next year, but it’s still a great incentive to recoup some of that down payment.
So, in a nutshell, after 10 or 11 years, you should get free electricity from your solar system for many years to come.
“All of your solar modules will come with a 25 year manufacturer warranty. Most of your inverters, they’re going to range – the one we’ve used on this project is a Solar Edge, with DC optimization – so that’s going to carry a 20 year warranty; um, you know – solar’s life expectancy – you know they say 40 years, uh, keeping in mind solar’s been around since 1954,” said Roden.
Weighing the pros and cons of solar energy will be key on whether or not solar is for you. High upfront cost versus the long term benefit is at the top of the list. But with improving and more affordable technology, the future of solar power may shine even brighter.