When people think of solar power, they often think of solar panels on the roof of a house, also known as photovoltaic devices. When sunlight hits these panels, the electrons move freely through their cell, which generates electricity. Solar photovoltaic energy is pollution and noise free, making it a strong alternative to other, less sustainable energy sources. While some people choose not to install solar panels on their homes because it is expensive, solar panel prices are currently on the decline. According to this article, the average price of a solar panel system has decreased by 59% in the last 10 years. The installation price has also decreased because there are more experienced installers available. On a global scale, the U.S. is the fourth largest market for solar panels, behind other countries that have stricter policies to switch to more sustainable practices.
Google now has a feature that enables you to enter in your zip code and it will tell you how much money you could save on your electric bill by installing rooftop solar panels. In Schenectady, it is estimated that you could save $8,000 over a 20 year period. This calculator also takes into account the amount of sunlight each address gets. When I looked up my house in New Jersey, it said my family would lose $37/month if we were to install solar panels because the house is completely in the shade.
The downside of solar photovoltaic energy is that it is weather dependent. If it is very cloudy outside, there may not be enough sunlight to power the system. Also, if the panels are used to power a lot of buildings, opposed to a single home, it may require a lot of empty land to house the whole system.
I think that its really cool that google has created a feature to hopefully promote more sustainable options for energy. But I think that 8,000 over a 20 year period isn’t the best statistic to promote solar panels, especially because once you install them on a house uninstalling them if you move would be very costly. I think they will need to become even cheaper for people to really consider switching to solar panels.
finding ways to promote alternate uses of energy is limited, but I really liked how you were able to explain how solar panels are long term and short term efficient. I also liked how you were able to incorporate a hands on – and active website to help us understand whether solar panels would be a personal good investment.
This is a very interesting post and explains how solar energy is used in a very understandable way. The website you discussed is a very efficient way to see if solar panels can benefit your family. I live in south Florida, which is obviously very sunny so it is a given that many people including myself have solar panels. However, it is understandable that regions that aren’t as sunny will not benefit from them.
Agreeing with the preceding comments, the solar energy calculator is a great tool! I thought your post was interesting because you emphasized the idea that solar energy is not always beneficial. Like you said, your house is in the shade. And therefore, solar energy would not be the best investment for you and your family. If implemented, it would not be as efficient as it could be. I think an interesting topic to research would be how long solar panels can conserve energy if there is a prolonged period of cloudy days.