When it comes to renewable energy, few of them are as accessible as solar power – after the initial set-up costs have been absorbed. It is an essentially perfectly-green technology, with solar panels for vacation homes and other buildings lasting multiple decades and exuding no waste whatsoever to the environment during their many years of operation. If you are committed to making a vacation home eco-friendly, then solar panels may be the single most important addition you make. Here are 5 good reasons to consider using solar power for your vacation home:
- Most Practical Energy Savings: There’s been a lot of talk about many different kinds of renewable energy. There’s biomass, which uses plant and animal matter to make electricity – but it is much more expensive than solar power, and can even increase your carbon footprint if misused. Wind power is great, but it is much more location-sensitive than solar. The same thing applies to geothermal and hydroelectric power generated by flowing water – you have to be reasonably near sources for these to be a relevant part of your energy plan. Solar power, on the other hand, is essentially infinite. The sun is always on and accessible for half the day, and solar panels can store much of that energy for night use.
- Long Life: Once you buy them, solar panels are insured to last until your newborn babies move out of the house, graduate from college and perhaps get married in their late twenties. It’s an investment for your vacation home that will likely last even longer than that – 25 years is simply the usual warranty offered by solar panel companies. The insurance often includes protection against “Acts of God,” too, so accidents don’t pose a threat to the potential returns on your initial investment. As with anything sold to consumers, the growing demand for solar is already improving the already robust safeguards in place for the technology. In fact, solar power systems installed almost 50 years ago have far exceeded the warranties guaranteed today – which gives you an idea of the inherent efficiency of the product. Today’s technology is much better, and it isn’t conceivable that the day when the solar power running your vacation home will last the average human lifetime.
- Saving Money: Of course, in addition to the complete lack of a carbon footprint inspired by solar energy, there’s the cost savings. A strategic investment in solar panels, in conjunction with other eco-friendly measures, will significantly reduce any monthly responsibilities you have towards the energy bill. With the many government incentives, you can even sell solar power to your neighbors if your vacation home isn’t completely isolated from others. Even on the stock market front, investing in companies that rely on solar energy to power their offices, or that hold revenue-producing solar assets, lowers your risk, since the technology is proven. This is relevant to your vacation home in case you ever want to sell it – having solar panels provably increases the value.
- Self-Reliance: Self-reliance is a big must for a vacation home, depending on the location. Being off-grid comes in handy during power outages and energy spikes, since your source is isolated. The tax credits you will enjoy from the federal government are just a bonus to the other benefits of solar power. If you’re someone that doesn’t like surprises, solar power offers you the chance to lock-in your energy costs for decades – the sun cannot be taxed.
- Full Scale Adoption: There are rumblings that a full-scale transition to solar power is inevitable, given the many benefits. In fact, it might put utility companies – in their current, fossil fuel-based incarnation – out of business. Even now, solar panels are becoming more and more economically competitive and have so many federal and state incentives that are adding fuel to the fire. If you generate more solar power than you need, you can sell some to the utility company in your area, or skip the middleman and sell it to your neighbors. Solar panels generate the most power at midday – the same time that utility companies make the most money because electricity use is at maximum – representing a true threat to the existence of utility companies as they stand now.
As the solar revolution gathers steam, expect the start-up costs to be driven down even further. If your vacation home happens to also employ other sources of renewable energy like geothermal and wind-based energy, your monthly utility bills might be a shock you actually enjoy.