There is a big push globally for renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. Solar energy is a popular option as a clean and reliable source of energy. Here in Colorado, with 300 plus days of sunshine every year, it is growing in popularity as a way to save money and protect the environment.

There isn’t much maintenance involved with solar cells and they usually last for a long time. The initial cost is somewhat expensive, but once the system is in place, there aren’t many recurring expenses.

What type of criteria should you consider before installing a solar energy system? This post from Energy.gov provides the basic factors to examine:

Installing and Maintaining a Home Solar Electric System | Energy.gov

Making sure your home solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) system is sized, sited, installed, and maintained correctly is essential for solar panelmaximizing its energy performance. When installing a PV system, consider:

  • How much sun you have (solar resource)
  • How big the system needs to be to meet your electricity needs
  • Where the system will be located and how much room it needs (system siting)
  • Whether you want your system to be connected to the grid or not
  • What needs to be done to ensure that the system is safe.

Read the full post here:  Installing and Maintaining a Home Solar Electric System

The process for installing solar arrays isn’t something that most people would undertake on their own as there are a number of steps to completing the installation. Not only do you have to understand electrical components, but you are standing on the roof of home while doing the labor-intensive work.

I thought it was interesting that if all the solar panels are wired using a single inverter and something happens to one cell, then the full array is knocked out. Using micro-inverters for each panel prevents this from happening. The following video from This Old House explains the best installation method:

There are many advantages of installing a solar energy system, but as mentioned previously, it is a bit of an investment to get started. As of mid 2016, the average home in the U.S. consumed electricity at the rate of 1 kW per hour. Since there are approximately 730 hours in each month and the average price of a 1 KW of electricity at that time $0.10, then the typical cost would be approximately $73 for 730 kilowatts of electricity.

In early 2016, most people were paying $3 to $4 per watt to install solar panels, with the average being $3.57. How does that translate to overall cost of installation? This post from EnergySage.com gives more insight on how this amount relates to the size of the system:

What is the Average Cost of Solar Panels in the U.S.? | EnergySage.com

Average cost of solar panels based on system sizeSolar Panel Array

Knowing the average cost per watt is helpful, but what does $3.57/watt actually mean for you? The cost of installing solar on your home or business depends on how much electricity you want to generate – a bigger system will cost more, because you’ll need to buy more equipment and more labor will be needed to install it.

The average solar energy system size in the U.S is approximately 5 kilowatts (kW). Based on the average price of $3.57/watt, a 5kW system would cost $12,500 after tax credits. Below are some average 2015 quotes for other solar energy systems by size:

  • 6kW solar energy system cost: $15,000
  • 8kW solar energy system cost: $20,000
  • 10kW solar energy system cost: $25,000

Read the original post here:  What is the Average Cost of Solar Panels in the U.S.?

All in all, the benefits for adding a solar system to your home or business appear to be a win-win for the homeowner as well as the environment. Between wind and solar energy, the potential outlook is a substantial contribution to our country’s energy needs.

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