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A Different Look at Solar Power

By Edited Nov 29, 2013 13 21

Many home owners across the country are considering green energy as a solution to their energy needs. What many will find is that green energy such as wind, and solar, may come with a very costly price tag. Although these systems pay for themselves they may not be a feasible solution for the people that need them the most. Now more than ever home owners need to be aware of their bottom line, and the attainability of going green.

Research suggests that home owners need to change the way they think about solar energy. Many homeowners believe that a solar panel system will supply their energy needs. While this is true, the cost of that system may very well be more than $20,000.00. With credit tight and energy costs across the country on the rise Americans need a viable solution that won't send them in to bankruptcy. While the sun and the wind can supply many of our energy needs we as homeowners must make a choice to change the way we use that energy.

Homemade Solar Hot Water Heater
Changing the way we use energy may very well negate the cost of buying a solar panel system. After interviewing many home owners who live off grid I can tell you that all of them had the same thing in common. They all reduced the amount of energy they used. It is easier to conserve electrical energy than it is to make it from the sun. It is also cheaper to do so. Changing the way you use electricity may lower your bill enough to make the high price of a solar power system unnecessary. You could effectively change the way you heat your homes hot water and eliminate a portion of your energy bill further.

Traditionally when you think about solar heated hot water you may think about a solar panel system that powers your hot water heater. It is much more energy efficient to buy or build a solar powered hot water heater. A homemade solar collector can be built for around 200.00 for parts found at your local hardware store. Buying a solar collector for a solar hot water heating unit from a manufacturer can cost 1,000.00 or more, and shipping is another nightmare. For the price of a factory built solar collector you could build a fully functional solar hot water heating system. By eliminating the need to heat water, and making a conscious choice to conserve energy you could easily cut your energy bills in half.

When you think about conservation you must know how much things add up in the long run. Consider this, for every energy dollar spent 25-30% of that is for heating water. If you have an electric hot water heater you could spend $585.00 per year (energy efficient model) just heating water. If you multiply that amount by 7 years the life span of your hot water heater that's a whopping $4,095.00. The small amounts you can eliminate by conserving energy or changing the way you use it can add up over time. In many cases the savings could pay for a car, or pay the last few years on your mortgage.

Living Within Your Means, Mortgage Free Living, Use Energy Efficiently and Develop a Plan For Self Sufficient Living delve deeper into saving money, and living your dreams.



Jan 8, 2010 6:06am
good thinking and well written. Yes solar can be wonderful in some ways, like on top of a caravan or on the vehicle to run a fridge, We did that when traveling for 12 months. But to do it for a whole house no I agree its not worth it.
Jan 22, 2010 12:07pm
On the other hand, you don't want to be a slave to Big Energy forever, do you? Going off-grid may also help in a disaster.
Jan 22, 2010 7:45pm
The more energy a person can conserve the less their solar power system will cost :) I'm not advocating against solar power. People only need to know that it is easier to conserve energy or change the way you use it. If I had 35,000 to throw around I would power my whole house to.
Jan 23, 2010 10:25pm
Good read. Preheating your water with he sun before the hot water heater saves money. Even a temper tank saves money.
Jan 29, 2010 4:53pm
I have lived 100% off grid since May 1998. I didn't have to shell out 20K either. It cost 1/3 of what it would have cost to have the utility electric run to my house. I use my computer abut 10 hours per day, TV/DVD about 4 hours per day. I have my my refrigerator and a microwave.

My payout over the life of the components is just under $13 per month including replacement costs. I bet no one on utility grid electric can conserve enough to bring their monthly bill that low.

However, your article was well written, it just needed more research.
Jan 29, 2010 6:31pm
I know what it cost you ^^. You and I have discussed it several times. That's why when Clif and I are ready you will make your way over here to do it. :) That being said. Most people think that you can just hook up some solar panels and be on your way. They don't realize that you don't leave xBox, or other gaming systems plugged in, that you pay attention to the sun and battery levels. I agree that anyone can go off grid and live a good life, however I don't agree that they can do it living the way they currently do. I have looked at the average electric bill of many folks. Average KwH consumption is 1,800 per month. If the panels are bought and installed from a dealer a homeowner is looking at $81,000.00 to pay for their system. This factors in solar gain hours in MO, and 100% off grid. There would be no more leaving computers on over night, leaving the light on for children etc. Many people waste electricity, but still think that solar power is doable. I am simply trying to burst that bubble a bit.
Feb 20, 2010 1:54pm
This comment has been deleted.
Feb 20, 2010 7:57pm
I think we should all find ways to reduce energy consumption and to look at alternative energy sources.
Mar 2, 2010 6:37pm
Great info, C! I had no idea you could build a solar collector for around $200. This is a well-balanced perspective on both conserving energy and living off-grid, or a combo of both.
Mar 2, 2010 8:56pm
My dream is to someday live off the grid- right in the middle of town! Until then, yes- cutting back on every drop of energy your house uses is smart, and so easy to do. This is a great article. Congrats on getting featured!
Mar 3, 2010 2:00pm
Very nice to see a different way of living off the grid affordably.
Mar 4, 2010 3:12am
very informative
Mar 6, 2010 11:17am
I think that we must change our life style. That the important thing.
Apr 19, 2010 4:26pm
I too agree with Crunch Data. The cost of building to building your own is a vast difference. Yet, your picture shows you proberly could and getting home to a Solar Energy home far out weighs the homes of non Solar Energy of conserving our natural energy in our own Electric Current Transmission within our Physics.

We plug our ears with sounds of transmissions powered energy. Our homes are static and electrically fielded with manufactured Electric Current Tansmissions waves of energy which has Cancer of the Blood, Bones and Brain on the rise.

Going total Solar is priceless and heavenly life.
1. Having a home with property to advail of it.
2. The knowledge and know how of how to do it.
3. Gifted to be able to "Do It Yourself".

Very Good Article and your comments in response to others even more informative.

Jul 26, 2010 11:11am
Great article! This definitely takes a look at the "big picture" of going solar. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Jul 29, 2010 12:22am
Great read. I like the approach you take - realizing the need to reduce energy consumption, not just switch forms of energy production.
Aug 3, 2010 1:03am
Nice, Great article? i am use solar panel too
Sep 5, 2010 8:19am
I'm from Poland and I must say that the solar panels aren't so expensive here. Weird, I thought that in USA should be cheaper...
Sep 13, 2010 7:14am
This comment has been deleted.
Sep 20, 2010 10:36pm
Eventually it will help us all if at least some people live off the grid and others learn to conserve. The technology for solar has been around a long time. My husband grew up in a house that was built in the 1930's and had solar heat. It wasn't completely off the grid, but that was 80 years ago!!!
Sep 28, 2010 8:04am
good! A Different Look at Solar Power and all the information about green energy. We should change the way and think about solar energy.
Oct 25, 2010 8:20am
Great article as I have been telling people this for a few years now that the water heater is the best way to use solar right now. As far as the large systems it seems like the investment and trouble with the panels such as cleaning isn't worth the price at the moment but hopefully as technology increases and the price goes down it will be.
Dec 9, 2010 3:31pm
This article gave me something to think about.
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