Using solar panels as a way to generate power is becoming increasingly popular due to their wider availability and decreasing costs. Still, though, most of us simply rely on our archaic electric company to provide us with power. This is despite constantly rising costs and inefficiency. For some, the days of being bound to the electric company are long gone. For everyone else, perhaps it’s time to consider producing our own energy with the help of the sun. Let’s take a look at how solar power itself works, how it can benefit us, and the different costs involved when switching to solar power.

Solar power works by drawing energy from the sun. Normally, when the sun (and light in general) hits an object, the energy is turned into heat. With some materials the energy is actually turned into an electrical current, which can be used to provide power. A solar panel typically contains a large number of solar cells. In simple terms, these solar cells are what generate the power by absorbing light and activating electrons which then generates a current.

There are a number of benefits to choosing solar panels as your source of power. First, solar power is completely renewable. Since the sun is constant and reliable, you’ll never need to worry about running out of sunlight to power your panels. Second, you can live completely off-the-grid and escape the chains the electric company. The days of opening an electric bill only to be shocked by the rising costs will be gone. Third, it's a technology that is constantly improving. Popularity and installations are rapidly increasing every year, which helps accelerate the advancement of the technology and lowers its costs.

Solar power used to be incredibly expensive initially. While there are still cost concerns, prices have dropped immensely over the past few years, enough to be an affordable alternative to traditional power. Panels are relatively complicated which can lead to moderate cost concerns. However, with the demand rising, costs are continuing to fall.

There are a few options you can consider, however, which should lower your initial costs. One option is a Government tax credit. Most Governments are encouraging people to switch to alternative sources of energy. A tax credit can cover a fair percentage of initial costs, sometimes up to 30%. Another is a “do it yourself” kit. These kits are become extremely popular and can save a lot of money over other options. Most of the equipment can actually be purchased from your local hardware store. Finally, there are a number of different companies that will rent panels and energy to you. You’ll need to qualify first, and some people may not like the idea of having a monthly bill, but it’s an option that can help reduce up-front costs.

With its increasing popularity and decreasing costs of solar panels, using solar power is an excellent alternative to being under the control of a traditional electric company, and becoming a legitimate energy alternative.