Solar Power: Should You Add Home Solar Panels?

Interested in Adding Solar Panels to Your House?

There’s been major buzz around solar energy ever since the price of oil started dropping last year. We always seem to look for alternative sources of energy when traditional sources are threatened. That said, it makes a lot of sense to invest in solar power. You reduce your carbon footprint and you have the potential to save money on your energy bills.  You can also give back to the grid the extra power you produce, which helps the community and our economy.

So why not switch over to solar? Well, many people are scared off by the idea of solar power production. It seems technologically advanced and complicated, or maybe it seems like something only hippies are interested in. That’s understandable, and it’s true that setting up your own solar panels will take more effort than setting up an account with Epcor, but you shouldn’t let that stop you.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

The way solar panels work is actually quite simple: Solar panels are essentially batteries that harness sunlight and transform it into energy. That energy is sent to an inverter, which converts it to electricity you can use to power your home.

But Edmonton is Cold! Will that Affect Power Production?

Believe it or not, Edmonton is actually one of the best places in the world for solar power! We get an average of 2300 hours of sunlight every year, which is more than warm places like Rome or Rio!

You might think that since our weather isn’t as warm, it’s not as good for solar power, but, actually, solar panels perform better in cooler climates. If you’re concerned about snow and ice affecting the panels, don’t be. Studies have shown that systems designed for our climate aren’t significantly affected by snow and ice. Read more about Alberta’s Solar Potential here.

Solar power is a great idea for homes in Alberta because right now, we depend on non-renewable sources like coal (38% of our energy comes from coal) and natural gas (44% of our natural energy comes from natural gas). It’s only a matter of time before we realize how precious these resources are and are forced to seek alternatives. Investing now means that you will be less affected by fluctuations and price increases of conventional energies.

When you connect to the grid, you can sell your excess energy to Edmonton, you make the city’s energy system more resilient and help to create “green” jobs.

The Cost of a Solar Power System

Solar power is so hot right now, and Alberta is dipping its toes in the solar-heated water. Before this year, 2016, the Alberta government didn’t offer any incentives for solar power system adoption. Thankfully, they realize the benefits of renewable power and pledged $5.5 million to farms and municipalities for the installation of solar panels.

And this is only the beginning. The government is interested in solar power because it’s a logical choice: it’s cleaner and more ethical. But they’re also interested because of increasing carbon taxes, which are a bane to an oil and gas producing economy like ours.

You’ll notice we didn’t mention any incentives or funding for residential solar power initiatives. That’s because there aren’t any … yet. It is currently the homeowner’s responsibility to pay for their solar power systems.

That said, that cost is half as much as it was 5 years ago, and a quarter as much as it was 10 years ago because of improvements in the technology. “There is no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again.”

Prices are getting more affordable for the average homeowner, although it is still a long-term investment. If prices of energy continue to increase at the rate they have been, it will take 12 to 20 years before you recoup your costs.

How Long will my Solar Panels Last?

Twelve to 20 years seems like a long time to wait before you start getting free power, but your system should last up to 30 years! It may seem incredible, but some of the first solar power systems installed still produce power today, and that’s with ancient technology and equipment.

Today’s systems have up to 30-year warranties, and some have the option to extend them! You’ll probably have changed out some of your appliances two or three times in 30 years! You could go through a couple cars or see an apple tree grow from a sapling to a behemoth in that time.

The best time to install solar panels is when you are replacing your roof, re-shingling, or building a new house

As a roofing company, we have worked with electricians who install solar power systems, and we can confidently say that the perfect time to install solar panels is when you’re doing roof work. We’re up there already on a re-roof or building a new roof, and it’s not a big job to install some solar panels while we’re there.

Since solar panels and roofs both have very long lifespans, it makes sense to do them at the same time.

More things to consider before investing in solar energy for your home:

  • There will be a small increase in your home insurance
  • South-facing solar panels are ideal
  • Trees, chimneys, shade from other homes will all affect your solar panels’ efficiency
  • Prepare to spend between $400 to $900 to make your home solar-ready.
  • Solar power modules have to be installed by qualified electricians

More information on Getting Your Home Solar Ready

If you’re looking for any residential or commercial roof services, including solar panel installation, give us a call and we can help you find the system to suit your needs. We also do roof repairs, re-roofing, eavestrough installation, snow removal and more. You can call us at (780) 466-1601 or contact us here.

We’re in over your head so you don’t have to be!