10 Ways Smart Solar Energy Can Improve Your Lifestyle

Smart solar energy system against sunny sky

10 Ways Smart Solar Energy Can Improve Your Lifestyle

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    Solar energy has come a long way in the last decade. What was once an expensive and niche technology has become much more affordable and convenient for the average homeowner. Combining a solar energy system with smart controls amplifies this effect and creates “smart solar energy.”

    Let’s take a look at some of the ways a smart solar system could improve your home and your monthly energy bill.

    #1 - Good for the Environment

    One of the big reasons for developing solar energy was to create a renewable source of energy. The sun is not going anywhere for billions of years, making it a great place to look for our everyday energy needs. 

    Solar energy works by capturing light from the sun and converting it into electrical energy. Special metals line the interior of the solar panels that create a small current when exposed to sunlight. That current flows away from the metal in the panel and into a conductive wire. From there, the current travels throughout your home or energy storage solution.

    In other words, solar energy has no ongoing carbon footprint. Some fossil fuels are used to manufacture solar panels. Yet, those are all the fossil fuels solar panels need. Once installed, a solar panel captures light for as long as the panel lasts. Solar energy is great for folks that want to reduce their reliance on carbon-heavy energy sources.

    #2 - A Developing Technology

    Being on the cutting edge of technology is a wonderful thing. You get to feel like you are a part of something growing, and solar is no different. Solar energy has undergone massive changes over the last decade, let alone where it will go in the future. 

    Research happens every day to determine what ways solar energy production can improve. The list of ways we improve on solar technology is incredible:

    • Different materials affect how much electricity the panels create
    • The case, coating, and base of the panels all change how much sun the panels accept
    • By reducing reflection by the panels, the panels can take in more sunlight and make more energy

    Smart house capabilities are on the rise, too. By connecting your home to smart devices, like your phone or tablet, you can control what the house is doing and when. Solar systems work with these devices to help you manage your energy needs while you’re out. With these tools, you can make sure that you have the energy your house needs when it needs it. 

    Participating in these new technologies is like bringing the future to your home. Many of these tools didn’t exist before, so who knows what will be in store for the future?

    #3 - Durable and Long-Lasting

    Solar panels don’t work like the engines or furnaces used to make electricity from fossil fuels. To get energy from these sources, you have to use machines with moving parts. Engines need pistons, and furnaces create the steam that spins turbines. Over time, these moving parts have to get replaced because this motion causes wear and tear over time.

    But, solar panels don’t have any moving parts. No mechanical pieces need to move to generate the electrical current. A solar panel is basically one large square with many small, repeating inductors. The generated electricity then moves through the wiring without any mechanical force.

    With no motion to cause wear and tear on your panels, that means a solar panel can last a long time. Most solar panel manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty right now. Even then, your solar panels are still outputting around 80% of what they originally were. Solar panels have the potential to be something you buy once or twice in your life, and that’s it.

    #4 - Fixed Energy Costs

    When you connect to a power company for your energy, the price of your electricity changes. These energy companies have variable costs, like the trade price for oil and coal.

    As the prices for these fuels change, the cost for them to generate energy will change. When these costs spike up, the cost passes down to the buyers of that energy. With this practice, the energy company can keep making a profit.

    When you’re hooked up to a smart solar energy system, your energy costs stay static. When buying a solar system, one of the factors that go into the cost is how much power you use. The solar panels have to be able to generate enough power to keep your house going. Plus, a little extra generated to store for overnight or stormy weather.

    Once the smart solar system is in place, you know how much power it will make. With these tools, you can keep your energy costs consistent.

    #5 - Fewer Maintenance Needs

    Solar panels themselves don’t have many maintenance requirements. Since solar panels are just repeating panels that generate a current, there’s not much to be done to keep them in working order. 

    That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done, though. A solar technician will check for any issues in the current generation, electricity loss, and other functions when they inspect a solar panel system. Still, problems with a solar panel installation tend to be electrical rather than mechanical. 

    In other words, solar doesn’t require as much maintenances need as other energy setups. There’s no engine to keep oiled or moving parts to replace as they wear down. 

    #6 - Generates No Noise

    Another great part about having solar panels installed is that they don’t make a sound when working. Everything that happens inside a solar panel to convert light into electricity is silent. There are no explosions or ignitions like with gas or coal.

    This is because the conversion of light into electricity is a chemical reaction that happens on a tiny scale. As light hits the reactive metals in the panels, electrons come off the metal. These electrons, which make up electricity, travel through the wires in the panel and into your house. We already know we don’t hear electricity moving from our other appliances and solar panels are the same way.

    Smart storage systems for solar panels are silent, too. Smart systems for solar rely on parameters that you set with the system to switch if the power goes to an appliance or your battery storage. All of this is done with electronic switches inside the smart system, which don’t make noise.

    #7 - Can Be Paired With Other Home Improvements

    Thanks to solar energy becoming more popular, other house services consider home solar systems when they offer their services to homeowners. If service providers, like pool or water heater installers, know that you have a solar panel system for your home, then they can offer improvements to your water systems that work better with solar. 

    For example, heating a pool with solar energy is an easy thing to do. The panels that take in sunlight also take in the heat from the sun. This heat can be used to warm up your pool by running the water up from your pool and next to the solar panel. As the water passes by the hot panels, it takes some heat away from them. The heated water then flows back down into the pool and raises the temperature of the pool. 

    Water heaters can work the same way, following the same idea. Mankind has used sunlight to heat water for a long time, and modern solar panels aren’t an exception!

    New family homes with solar panels and wind turbines

    #8 - Smart Solar Energy Can Be Used All Day

    A common misconception with solar energy is that you can’t use solar energy at night. A lot of folks think of solar as creating electricity at the same rate that your house uses it. If someone believes that’s how solar works, then it’s easy to understand why they’d think you cannot use solar energy at night.

    But, most solar systems come with battery storage options. While these batteries are expensive, they allow your solar system to store up energy overnight.

    #9 - A Smart Home Investment

    Despite the energy and convenience benefits, it can be hard to take the plunge into solar for financial reasons. Despite coming down in cost these ten years, solar energy systems still cost between $10,000 and $20,000 for most homes. If you’re going to spend that much money on something, you expect to get something valuable out of it in return. 

    The good news is that, according to Zillow, home prices go up about 4% on average when they have solar systems installed on them. At the same time that this study from Zillow came out, the median home price was $245,000. If a solar system added an average amount to that home’s value, it would go up by almost $10,000. That can be most, if not all, of the price of the solar system itself! 

    Also, that price doesn’t factor in the money you save not paying the electric company as much money month to month. Throughout your time living in that home, a solar system, alongside your house’s appreciation in value and potential solar incentives could result in a net return over a long time.

    Read More about Incentives:

    1. Incentives in Oregon
    2. Incentives in Washington State

    #10 - Potentially Make Money With Solar

    As if it weren’t good enough, solar energy can make you some extra money each month, depending on where you live. Some counties and towns have energy companies that will buy power from your solar system to use for the city grid. While they won’t pay much, it’s better than letting that renewable energy go to waste or sit in your battery storage.

    Smart systems for solar energy help with this process. You can tell the battery storage to hold onto a certain amount of energy and send the rest to the power company. The power company can then install a meter that tracks how much power you provide them. The company then cuts you a check for the month and pays you for the solar power.

    Summary

    Having your home or business powered by smart solar energy in Portland, Oregon is a great solar solution for a wide range of reasons. Between saving money, cutting ties with the power grid, and the ease of use from start to finish, solar energy makes sense for those that can afford it. Combining these features with a smart control system means you have total control over where your power routes in your home.

    If you want to switch to solar, and looking for an expert solar company that excels at customer service, we highly recommend smart solar energy solutions in your area! Contact us today for a free quote!

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    Adam Walters

    Adam Walters

    Adam has over 8 years of experience working directly with Portland-area solar installers and supporting companies. Over his years, he has worn many hats and gained a holistic understanding of local PNW solar markets.

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