Solar power for homeowners: What is the cost? – Norfolk Alternative Energy

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There are a number of variables involved when calculating the cost of a solar energy system for your household: how much sunlight your home receives, the type of system that you choose, incentive programs that are available in your area, the type of solar panels that you purchase, and so on. These variables will all have an impact on the price tag of solar power for your home. It is also important to note that you can personally have a large influence over the cost of your solar power system by using energy conservation methods to reduce your overall energy needs. This will have a remarkable effect on the ultimate cost of your solar power system.

Going Solar in  Planning Your Investment
One economical way to incorporate solar energy into your home is by installing thermal collectors. Image by solarmetric.com

One economical way to incorporate solar energy into your home is by installing thermal collectors. Thermal collectors are cost-effective, low tech, water and air heaters that absorb heat and transfer it to water, air, or a solution. These collectors do not make electricity they simply collect and store the heat from the sun. A thermal collector water heating system can drastically reduce your utility bill with a relatively small initial expense. This is because you will not need as much gas or electricity to heat water for your home, the sun will do most of the work. The payback period for solar hot water systems can be relatively short. Average paybacks of 5-6 years are common.

Another way to utilize solar energy in your home is by installing a photovoltaic system (PV). PV systems turn the light of the sun into electricity. Installing a PV system is more expensive and uses much more advanced technology than thermal collectors. But the major upside is that, once installed, it can be expected to last for up to 40 years with very little maintenance. The downside is that the payback period for PV systems is much longer than that of thermal collectors. It can take more than 10-15 years in most cases. Use this solar power calculator to estimate the cost of installing a PV system in your home.

Once you decide which solar power system is best for your home, contact a solar installer who will be able to provide you with a more precise estimate and answer any questions that you may have.

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