Benefits of Solar Power for Rural, Suburban, and Urban Homes
With the help of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and continuing advances in solar power technology, the price of installing solar has decreased by 70% since 2010, according to SEIA data. This is one of the main reasons why solar power has become a viable power alternative for residential homes.
Over the last decade, solar power has grown at a rate of 59% annually, much of it in the residential sector. This growth has been fueled by over 9,000 solar companies in the U.S. working hard to refine their products and streamline the installation process for clients.
Essentially, the price of buying and installing solar power systems has lowered to the point where homeowners can make an economically sound decision when purchasing them. In addition to the other benefits of using solar power, mid-Atlantic area homeowners will typically begin to make a profit from their solar investment after 10-12 years.
Solar power is beneficial no matter where homeowners are located, yet there are different considerations to make depending on the setting. Let’s discuss these by examining the benefits of solar power for rural, suburban, and urban homes.
Homes in rural settings typically have the advantage of having ample amounts of space to use for their solar panels. With distant neighbors and typically more acreage, rural homeowners have more choices of where and how their solar panels will be installed.
Solar panels can be installed on a structurally sound roof or on the ground. The main factor to consider is how much sun the installation spot gets. The roof is often the preferred choice because it’s the highest point and typically costs less than a ground array. However, a ground array can be oriented due south, which will result in more solar gain compared to a roof that is not facing due south.
Solar panels are a great option for rural homeowners that want to live off-grid or grid-tied with a backup power source. Having the solar power option allows rural homeowners to live in areas beyond reach of the grid – without having to pay for the grid to be brought to them. Instead of paying the local power company to extend their service to their property, they can partially invest in a self-sustainable solar powered system. At times, if energy use is low enough, an off-grid solution can cost less than utility grid expansion.
Rural homes also may suffer from power outages more often and for longer periods of time; solar power with battery backup can keep critical loads operational when outages occur, as well as earn homeowners credits with net metering when the power is on.
The future of solar power adoption depends heavily on homeowners in suburban settings to make the investment. While going completely off-grid in the middle of a suburb isn’t cost effective, using solar power that’s grid-tied and can benefit from net metering is a popular choice.
Net metering allows homeowners to earn credits towards their electricity bill from the output of their solar panels. Depending on the climate and time of year, net metering works to reduce and eliminate electricity bills – this is how an ROI is made from grid-tied solar panel investments.
The close proximity of neighbors in suburban settings means solar panels usually have to be installed in an aesthetically pleasing way, in order for homeowners to avoid complaints. Typically, this means placing the panels on the roof, rather than in the back or side yards. This also helps protect the panels from stray baseballs or other objects that may accidentally fly over a fence and break them. Placing the panels on the roof also exposes them to the sun for longer, as close-by neighboring houses may block the sun early and late in the day.
Suburban houses in HOAs shouldn’t have a problem installing solar panels because of right-to-access laws in many states, which forbid HOAs from preventing solar power for homeowners. Nevertheless, HOA members should understand any aesthetic requirements before installing their solar panels – solar panel companies can help homeowners with this process. Sometimes all it takes is using a black panel vs a white/silver panel to make everyone happy.
Solar power with batteries is a great backup power source for suburban homes, giving homeowners more security and confidence in their ability to self-sustain during emergency situations. With the help of a generator, hybrid solar power systems are a viable year-round solution for almost any environment, whether to augment grid-tied systems or fully power a home.
For instance, in a suburb in Alabama, developers have invested in a 5-acre solar panel power system; U.S. News reports on this in an article called: “Alabama Microgrid Studies Future of Energy Infrastructure”, written on July 2, 2018 by Andrew Soergel, as he explains:
“…5-acre microgrid – replete with rows upon rows of solar panels, a large storage battery and a backup natural gas generator providing power to the community’s new residents as part of a two-year energy trail overseen by local electric utility Alabama Power.
…Alabama Power estimates Reynolds Landing micro-grid – which relies in large part on a solar array but is also fitted with a natural gas-powered backup generator – will be able to generate more than 586,000 kilowatt hours of power each year, which they say would be sufficient to service the neighborhood on its own.”
While this isn’t typical and wouldn’t be the usual application used on individual homes, this recent news does show the exciting possibilities of community solar power in suburban settings.
With constant innovations in solar power technology, residents in urban areas have the ability to benefit from solar power systems as much as those in rural or suburban areas.
Urban areas don’t seemingly have as much space to place solar power systems, yet there’s plenty of room on rooftops. Yard installations wouldn’t be as common in urban settings with close-by buildings, trees, fences, etc. The roof is the best option for most homeowners in urban settings.
Because of the harsh and cramped urban environment, homeowners will want efficient and scalable solar panels installed. They should also consider extra security precautions with installation and protection.
Urban homeowners will also appreciate the green approach to solar power, which in small measure allows them to improve the environment. With projected growth to come in the near and distant future, solar power adoption by the masses will make a significant green difference in urban areas especially.
Keep in mind, each setting requires a permit for installing a solar power system, yet urban areas will generally have stricter and more expensive permit requirements and costs. Solar power contractors can guide homeowners and take care of this process along with installation services.
Solar power systems have become a viable option for homeowners in rural, suburban, and urban homes. Their affordability and investment potential are good reasons for the industry’s projected growth and their popularity. Solar power systems are beneficial in all settings, yet the considerations covered should help homeowners gain some clarity with each.
Mountain View Solar understands how beneficial solar power can be for homeowners, which is why we offer quality solar power systems and installation services to rural, suburban, and urban residents in the Mid-Atlantic states of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Please contact us today for a zero-pressure consultation!