Solar Home Panels Can Reduce Your Power Bill and Increase the Value of Your Home

One of the more interesting ways to add value to your house whilst at the same time reducing your power bill is by adding solar home panels to your house. With the housing market in the doldrums, and the specter of rising energy prices from various sources coming into play, most home owners are more and more likely to consider home solar electricity as a way forward.

There are a number of benefits to using home solar electricity and a lot of questions to consider when installing solar home panels.

The first thing to consider is installation costs - are you going to buy the solar home panels, get them installed, and have an electrician run the wiring? Or have you considered a DIY home solar electricity project? Also, while solar home panels are the most obvious addition in a home solar electricity installation, they're not the only part that needs consideration. You will also need a DC to AC converter, and you'll want a battery bank to store the electricity for use later.

The next thing to consider is whether or not there's a tax incentive program for home solar electricity in your area; a lot of municipalities have them, and there's word that there may be increased federal tax incentives for home use of solar energy and wind energy resources in future budgets. The reason why these tax incentives are important is because of the cost-benefit ratio of installation.

Calculating the cost benefit ratio of a home solar electricity installation boils down to working out how much electricity you use, how much you'll generate once your solar home panels are installed and in use, figuring out how much money the difference will save each month, and then dividing your installation cost by that number (your annual maintenance costs should be deducted from the sum of a year's worth of savings as well). So obviously, any tax credit will reduce this return on investment time as it will bring down the initial investment cost.

One of the older metrics for comparing solar home panels to their installation cost was to assume that you'd sell the house at some point during the 'buy-in' period; depending on the state of the housing market, that may or may not be a valid assumption, but a home solar electricity installation will always attract buyers and increase the value of your house. However, making and/or installing the solar home panels yourself will obviously reduce this 'buy-in' period - it's surprising how economically you can build your own home solar electricity installation.

One should also avoid getting 'locked into' the idea that sunlight has to be stored as electricity in batteries; you can get a lot of benefit from solar home panels on a smaller scale, even if all they do is power attic fans and circulate hot air out of your house in the heat of the day. These can provide significant savings over the course of the summer, and can pay for themselves faster than a full-on home solar electricity system. This would be a good start if you decide to build up your system in stages.

You also need to look at how much power you actually use. Installing solar home panels is a good thing to include as part of an overall conservation program, where the house is switched over to more energy efficient appliances. (If your refrigerator is more than ten years old, for example, odds are that a modern replacement will use 25% less energy, for instance). Even switching to lower power bulbs, like going from incandescent to compact fluorescents, can make help reduce your total home power budget.

In some counties and areas, if you generate more electricity than you're using, the utility company is obligated to use net metering, or relative buyback metering. In places where this holds, you can often times get a home solar electricity installation run to pay for itself in less time - and you get to see how much electricity you sold back to the electric company. (Sometimes, they'll even send you a check for the difference, or just apply it as a credit against future bills.) However, one unspoken advantage of this type of system is that it reduces the amount of material outlay you have to buy. You no longer have to buy a battery array if your excess power is fed back into the grid and you get a credit. While the battery array is the least expensive part of the solar home panels setup, it's also the part that needs direct maintenance and replacement the most often, so this can make a difference in your overall savings.

There are also some geographical and landscaping considerations for a home solar electricity installation. A solar home panels setup needs some space that faces to the southern horizon to be effective, and the amount of ambient sunlight may make a difference to payback timeframes.

To conclude, you will need to take into account all of your own particular circumstances when considering a solar home panels project for your own home - power usage, situation, location, for example, and obviously cost. One thing is for sure - you will find the cost of a DIY home solar electricity installation extremely advantageous and it's really not as complicated or as expensive as you may think. If you want to realize your return on investment quickly, making and installing you own solar home panels is definitely the way to go.