We’ll let you in on a secret. Did you know that you could possibly get free solar panels for your home?
What’s in it for you, you say? What if you could tap into an alternative energy source and slash down your electricity bills, all for free!
Technological advancements had laid out possibilities on alternative energy sources as more people become aware of the planet’s depleting fossil fuels.
Solar energy is among the most popular choices with its clean and infinite energy source. Solar power systems and solar panels are appearing on the roofs of more and more houses these days, as homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.
However, despite their popularity, solar panels are still expensive to install. Also, the installation might pose logistical problems in a common home.
Solar panels are relatively new technology after all, and the idea of making a house sustainable and independent from the main energy grid is an enticing thought.
How to Get Free Solar Panels for Your Home: All You Need to Know
How do solar panels work?
If you still remember your fifth-grade science classes or grew up watching to Bill Nye “the Science Guy”, everything around us is made up of atoms. And every atom has electrons that can create electricity. All that’s needed is an external process to knock these electrons off.
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Sunlight is composed of tiny packets of energy called photons. Photons can be captured by photovoltaic solar panels and knock electrons off the atoms, producing an electric field. From these panels, conductors can be attached to let the electric field flow from a negative to a positive side. That creates a current that produces electricity.
If that process sounds familiar, it’s because that’s exactly how a battery works! But instead of using an acid conductor, like in car batteries, we’re using solar panels to separate the electrons and generate the electric current.
Imagine that tiny, energy-producing process happening on your rooftop. Since sunlight is an infinite source, you can independently produce your own energy to power your home without tapping into the main energy grids. Think of the money you can save from that.
Is your home solar panel ready?
Solar panels can generate power even on cloudy days. Some models can even work with a light coating of snow on them.
Solar panels need to be installed in a relatively shade-free area. So, if you live somewhere forested amidst tall, lush trees, consider clearing some of the overhanging branches that can block sunlight.
If you’re in the United States, solar panels will be installed on a south-facing roof. That’s where they’ll get the most sunlight. Otherwise, you can install them on south-facing walls or lay out solar panels on a wide, empty yard, turning it into a mini solar farm.
Free solar via power purchase agreements
So, ready to go solar? That’s great! But to power an average American home, you need to shell out $20,000 to purchase solar panels and have them installed. That’s the “normal” way, at least.
The best alternative is to get into a PPA or Power Purchase Agreement with a solar energy provider. In a PPA, the company retains ownership of the solar panels and installs them at no cost. Numerous companies offer this to homeowners:
- RGS Energy
In a PPA, you agree to buy electricity from the solar company at a set rate. Solar rates tend to be lower compared to mainstream ones.
Bear in mind, however, that your electricity bills will not completely disappear. A solar system couldn’t cover an entire house’s energy needs. Grants and tax credits for using environment-friendly energy will not be granted to you. The solar company gets those benefits instead.
Leasing the solar panels
If you’re keen on owning your own solar panels but don’t have enough money for the investment, you can consider leasing them instead.
Solar companies also offer leasing agreements with payments made monthly for renting the solar panels and paying the generation rates.
Leasing agreements are similar to a PPA. The panels are installed free-of-charge and the solar company takes care of all the maintenance needs.
Government incentives for switching to solar energy
You could also get grants and tax credits from the government for installing renewable energy systems in your home.
A good place to start with the research is on Energy.gov, the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.
Tax incentives vary by state and many of them max out at $1,000. It’s not much. But it can, at least, help cover the costs of purchasing a solar power system if you eventually want to own one.
Investing in solar power
If you want to completely zero-out your electricity bills and have enough money for an investment, outright ownership on a solar power system is still the way to go.
There are specific loans available to acquire solar energy systems, including home equity loans. It’s a lengthy and pricey investment. But there are numerous benefits to generating your own electricity and not having to pay electric companies for generation rates.
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