This was written by Mathias Aarre Maehlum of Energy Informative.
In this article we are taking a look at the most important factors to determine whether or not solar power is going to be affordable in your particular situation. Let’s first look at the most important reasons for why you should invest in solar:
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
We all know that we face a major challenge here on Earth – We need to stop pumping out carbon dioxide and other climate gases into our atmosphere. A part of this is to stop our dependence on oil, gas, coal and other non-renewable and polluting energy sources.
By purchasing solar panels for your home, whether it is to cover small parts of your energy consumption or to disconnect from the electrical power grid altogether, you are making a difference.
Insolation – How Much Sunlight is Available?
Insolation is a word used to describe the amount of sunlight that is available in a certain location. The higher this value is, the more electricity you can generate.
Beware that insolation and heat levels go hand in hand, meaning that some places might require specific types of solar panels that are more resistant to high temperatures.
Most people place too much emphasis on solar insolation. Is it really that important to have access to a lot of sunlight if I want to invest in residential solar power? The most important factor when it comes to whether or not solar is a viable solution for you are the following:
Germany is good example of a place where the government has put in place subsidies for people that invest in solar systems, allowing the industry to flourish. As much as 25,000 MW of the world’s total solar power output is generated in Germany.
Net metering/feed-in tariff schemes allow homeowners to send the surplus electricity generated by their solar panels (that would otherwise go to waste or to a quite inefficient and expensive battery system) to the utility power grid. The grid is many ways a massive battery where energy is stored in terms of the power meter going in the negative direction. Net metering and FIT-schemes are the two main determining factors for whether solar power is going to be good decision.
Go to The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to find out what financial models are put in place where you live.
UK introduced a feed-in tariff scheme almost two years ago, which has lead to solar power in this country growing by a factor of 41. This is a country where the amount of annual solar insolation is far from ideal, but financial incentives from the government pushes the growth forward.
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