Solar Panels as an alternate source of energy have become increasingly popular these last few years. Washington State incentivizes homeowners to switch to solar power through its Renewable Energy System Incentive Program. There are currently close to 20,000 homes running on solar power in Washington State. While some speculate that homeowners are hesitant to go solar because of our mixed, overcast weather, the experts agree that we have more than enough sun to power your home! So let’s take a closer look at choosing solar for your home.
Understanding the Difference: Solar vs. Power Plant
The decision you make for your home comes down to a choice between solar and city electricity. Certainly there isn’t a one-size-fits-all clear cut answer, as each has their own benefits. For many homeowners, a large factor is the upfront cost. Installing solar panels in Washington will run you an average of $14,040. Depending on your situation, it can take between 10 and 20 years to recoup that investment. The next question homeowners ask is one of reliability. Power plants have been consistent sources of energy, and with the exception of occasional outages during winter storms or a bad accident, are reliable. The sun is, of course, a reliable constant. However, Washington is known for its extended seasons of rain and clouds. So, does it really work here? As thousands of homeowners can tell you, this is a yes! Being far north in the Pacific Northwest means we have long summer days, which store up lots of energy that help pull us through the winter. Even in the fall and spring, when we have more clouds, the solar powers can receive a charge through the cloudy sun; albeit at a slower rate. Even in Seattle, the city with record rainfall, we see 1,200 kWh/square meter of sunlight each year; more than enough for your solar needs!
Solar Panels Upkeep
Like with everything, solar panels come with their own set of maintenance needs. But it’s not so bad! Panels that are mounted on an angled roof, here in Western Washington at least, are rinsed by the rainfall which keeps them operating well. Of course, if you go through a dry spell or they get covered by fall leaves or heavy snow, you’ll need to keep them clean! Keeping solar panels unobstructed from sunlight is the largest piece of maintenance you, as a homeowner, will undertake. Note that solar panels typically come with a warranty, usually between 15 and 25 years. If you ever notice problems with your panels or with your power output, it’s time to use the warranty and call for an inspection!
Transitioning to Solar Power
The U.S. Department of Energy has a very thorough guide for homeowners transitioning to solar power! As of yet, not all homes are suitable for solar power, and it’s important to talk to a solar professional about your home to see if yours is a good candidate! To transition your home, talk to a solar professional, take an audit of your own electrical consumption and how many annual kilowatts of power you use, know your tax incentives, and acquire financing. Make sure when selecting a professional that you choose a company with a strong warranty. If you need a referral, give us a call!
Powering your home is an essential part of living. Solar offers a new way to do this more efficiently, using a resource that won’t run out! If you’re looking to get started and don’t know where to start, feel free to reach out. We are happy to help!