The Cost of Adding Solar Panels to Your Van or Home
Solar panels are a great option for people looking to move away from fossil fuel energy sources. There are so many options for solar energy out there and pricing those options can get confusing. This article takes a look at how much solar panels will cost for someone thinking about adding them to their van or home. It also takes a quick glance at how much solar panels cost the planet.
Solar Panels for Vanlife
Many factors come into play when determining the size of a solar panel system and its cost. The average vanlife person can expect to spend between $500 and $2500 to outfit their van with solar power.
If the van has very little energy needs, the cost of installation will be on the lower end of the bracket. If the van (or RV) has a lot of appliances, the price will be higher.
The costs can be in the $4000 range if more panels or batteries are needed than is typically used for an average installation. The installation cost covers the labor, price of batteries, solar panels, charge controllers, and in some cases, inverters.
Solar Panels for Houses
Adding solar panels to a house can be a great way to utilize green energy and lower energy costs in the long term. According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, an average solar panel system and installation can cost between $15,000 and $25,000.
However, the brunt of the expense with solar panels is in installation and the purchase of the actual panels. According to experts, most systems don’t require much maintenance and are designed to last for 20 years or more with little change to the amount of electricity produced.
A monthly utility bill will have the usage listed to give consumers an idea of how much energy they are regularly consuming. Once that is determined, picking the solar panel system that will best fit the needs of the house is easier. This can be used to calculate how much the system will cost too.
Look for incentives before making the purchase. The U.S. government offers homeowners significant incentives for installing solar panels as an alternate energy source.
The Cost of Solar Panels to the Earth
Solar panels are a great way for individuals to lower their carbon footprint, but they do come with a cost to the planet. Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid. It creates waste and the process uses water as well as electricity.
It is difficult to gauge just how big of an environmental impact solar panel production actually has on the planet since the impact is different in different countries. Solar manufacturers in the United States are subject to both federal and state rules that dictate how and where they can dispose of toxic wastewater. In Europe recent regulations mandate the reduction and proper disposal of hazardous electronic waste. Other countries have different regulations that can be more or less strict than the ones listed here.
Adding solar panels to a van or home is a great way to move away from energy from fossil fuels. They are an upfront cost, but do not require much maintenance cost after the original investment. They do have some environmental impacts that should be considered when deciding which energy source to plug into.