This article outlines four important issues to consider before investing in solar PV for your home or building. While solar can be a great investment it isn’t always the most profitable or efficient option. This is the first part of a series on issues surrounding solar investing in Cincinnati, OH. The focus of this article is to outline early issues to quickly identify the feasibility of a profitable solar installation.
First things first
The first and most obvious, but potentially the most import question before going with a solar PV system, is “why solar”? First answer, why is using solar important and what is the driving force behind the decision? Is it energy savings, an investment to make a profit, or purely an environmental decision in hopes to reduce carbon emission (in other words doing the “right thing”). Each of these issues will determine whether or not solar PV is the right move.
If energy savings is the number one goal, it is wise to consider all the ways to save energy and compare it to solar. A new energy efficient HVAC system with programmable thermostats will save energy for a cost of a new system. Or a geo-exchange system could also reduce energy consumption, by making use of the steady temperature of the earth. Again this means energy savings for a price. Solar PV is just one of the many ways to save on an energy bill and it also has a price attached with it as well. An energy audit would be a great way to determine the best ways to save energy. There are many inexpensive ways to have an energy audit performed. Visit the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliancefor more information on home energy audits.
If making profit off the PV systems is the goal then one should consider all the various ways to make a profit off an investment. Solar paybacks are generally upwards of 10 to 20 years depending on the size of the system and the amount of energy consumed. With profit in mind it is wise to see what other options would bring a profit after 10 to 20 years and compare the results. For the most part investing in the financial market will yield much bigger dividends than in the solar market. On that note if there is some desire to still make the world a better place it might be wise to invest in solar by investing in solar companies in the stock market. This in the past has proven to be a more profitable measure.
The last option is doing it because you want to save the environment. Well again one must look at all the different ways to save the environment. Is solar PV going to do the most good for the price? Could riding your bike or the bus to work do more good? Or would starting a composting area and building greenhouse to grow fresh vegetables year around, do more good. Typically produce is shipped over 1,500 miles before it arrives at the supermarket. So growing ones own produce eliminates large amounts of carbon emissions. This isn’t to say solar PV is not a great option it just important to remember it’s only one of many options.
Solar PV installations can be a great investment. A solar installation will produce electricity with very low maintenance of the course of 20-30 years. It is a very good option if all the conditions are optimal. In the following articles these conditions are examined in detail.