Energy costs have been rising over the years, and they are expected to keep up that trajectory for a while. If you are looking to stay ahead of the curb, you can cut down your costs by going for alternative energy. For the sake of this article, we will be limiting ourselves to just solar energy. You have the option to stay partially on-the-grid, or you can go completely off-grid and have solar energy run your entire house, the option is ultimately yours.
If you are interested in learning how you can make use of solar energy to save money, you can keep on reading the rest of the article.
The Benefits of Going Solar
- By making the switch to solar power, you can save a lot of money not just upfront, but in the long-run too as time goes on. You save up to hundreds of dollars every year and these savings will add up which will turn into thousands of dollars over time.
- Initially, solar energy was not advanced or refined enough, however, the latest designs and panels have been built to optimize efficiency so making the switch has become a lot easier and more convenient.
- There are tax incentives offered by different governments to households that have solar power systems installed.
- The setup and installation process is relatively simple since it does not require fuel or having to connect your set up to a power grid. You just need to make sure that they are placed in an area that has an ample amount of sunlight.
- The fact that you are not going to need fossil fuels to keep them running is great because you are being eco-friendly and reducing your carbon footprint. By opting for clean energy, you are prioritizing the welfare of the planet, and that is very important these days given the looming threat of global warming.
How Solar Energy Works
Understanding the basics of solar energy will help you better understand the overall setup and process that goes into creating solar energy.
To summarize the basic setup of solar energy you will need solar panels, a battery that will be able to store all of the extra energy that is being produced from the panel, and then a setup that is best able to make use of the energy that is stored.
Areas that are generally sunnier and brighter can take better advantage of whatever solar panels have to offer. As a rule of thumb, you want the solar panels to be placed in a location and area that allows for the best possible sunlight absorption.
The Initiation of Going Off-Grid
If you are looking to go off-the-grid but do not know how to initiate the process, you can keep on reading the rest of this article to get started. You should not feel the need to buy all of the products that we list here, however, you should read through the list and once you have familiarised yourself with all of the advantages and disadvantages, you can choose the ones that you feel will best meet your energy needs.
There are two ways of opting for solar energy; you can hire a professional and have them install your setup and take care of everything, or you can try to do the entire installation process yourself. If you are looking to do this by yourself, you will need to brush up on a lot of things including educating yourself about electricity, wiring, and math.
You can find online kits and crash courses that can help you understand the installation and setup process including the intricacies of building, planning, and setting up your solar energy grid. This will take some time and you will have to learn several things before you can get started but the savings will be worth it as time goes on, plus you get to help the environment. One more advantage of handling and learning about the setup process is that you can customize and swap the components you need yourself. So you can choose the capacity of your storage, the size of your photovoltaic battery, and so on. So by custom designing your energy grid, you will be able to better optimize your solar energy production process.
- You will have access to a detailed guide when it comes to building and installing solar power grids.
- The kits are made to be easily understood by beginners.
- You will be able to tailor your power grid to best suit your needs.
Home Solar Panel Kits
If you are not looking to familiarize yourself with the workings of the solar installation process, then you can just choose to invest your energy in learning about good solar panel kits. These kits will help you learn everything you need to know to start and can help you get things up and running without needing an actual electrician.
The WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Kit is a kit that comes with polycrystalline panels, each of which offer 100-watt and come in a set of four. These panels are good enough to use for homes, RVs, Cabins, etc. The kit also comes with the necessary connectors and cables needed to get the solar energy setup running. Another great thing about this kit is the fact that it comes with AGM deep cycle batteries (also four in number) which come at 100Ahm and can be used for storing the energy that is produced.
Of course, the problem here is that you do not have the options to pick-and-choose and customize different components of your setup since everything that is provided to you is standard, but this setup is good enough to get your acquainted to the usual setup and once you are comfortable enough to experiment with other components, you can do that as well. However, if that is not your forte, then opting for these kits can be a short and sweet solution for you.
- This makes for a much easier and quicker way to have your solar setup going.
- The kit happens to come with its own set of deep cycle batteries which usually does not happen with other kits.
- The entire kit comes with a good warranty as well.
- The kit is easily available to buy online.
Solar lighting is a great option for people who are just looking to familiarize themselves with solar energy and are not ready to take the plunge yet. You can opt for setup as small as a few solar-powered light bulbs or you can choose to have your entire house’s lighting system connected to your solar energy setup.
These lightbulbs come with a pretty easy to understand installation procedure and they come with a bulb, a charger, a connector, and a photovoltaic solar panel. If your solar panel is exposed to sunlight for a day and is able to collect a day’s worth, your solar-powered bulb can work for up to 5 hours or more. Opting for these bulbs will let you dip your toes in the world of solar energy and will help you start your transition to greener energy. You can use these solar lighting kits for your home, while you are camping and anywhere. The KK.BOL Portable Solar LED Light Bulb is an example of one of the available options you have here.
- It is a great way to start the transition to solar energy without having to take any major risks or changes.
- The setup is portable
- The setup is simple and will be starting work out of the box.
Energy-Efficient Electric Heaters
Our energy bills tend to shoot up during the winter months since we are spending a lot of resources to make sure that we stay warm, and not only does this get costly, it also tends to be a burden on the environment. We usually use either electricity or propane to convert energy to thermal energy or heat, and both of these are expensive, wasteful, and bad for the environment. Thankfully due to modern innovation, it is now possible to opt for more energy-efficient ways to stay warm.
Energy-efficient heaters have now become a reality and they are slowly rising as a more cost-effective and eco-friendlier way to staying warm during colder months. Space heaters work fast and are heat-efficient, reducing wastefulness. These energy-efficient electric heaters are a great way to use your solar energy stores without draining your battery unnecessarily.
- They can lower energy costs and prevent the waste or unnecessary use of electric or solar energy.
- They are energy efficient
Solar Power Fans
If you happen to be looking for energy-efficient ways to stay cool during the hotter months, then we are pleased to inform you that modern innovation has led to the creation of a variety of different solar-powered ventilators and fans.
These solar-powered fans require a bit of work since you will have to deal with the assembly. However, once it is properly installed, it requires no other work. It is recommended that you have the fan installed somewhere that gets an ample amount of natural sunlight. These solar-powered fans usually do not come with complex wiring and are set up in a manner that allows them to function on their own even during cloudy days or days with less sunlight. These fans usually come with a 20-year long warranty and are made to be corrosion-resistant. These fans can be a gateway to get started with solar energy and they will help you cut down your costs over time.
- These fans come with a 20-year warranty on the parts.
- The assembly process is self-contained
- It’ll pay off the buying costs quickly enough.
The entire cooking process can lead to a lot of energy waste since converting normal energy into thermal energy tends to take a lot of time and resources. So you will usually end up burning through a lot of butane/propane, and in case of solar energy use, you will be draining a significant amount of energy from your solar energy storage cells.
If you want to be eco-friendly, then an alternative in this situation would be to opt for a solar cooker. The HUKOER portable parabolic solar cooker is a great option for people who cook outdoor be it in their outdoor kitchen or whilst camping etc. This might not be for everyday use, but it works well for a lot of other instances. These solar cookers do not need electricity or fuel to work, all you have to do is leave the cooker in the patio, let it absorb natural sunlight, and watch as it starts cooking on its own. The setup does require a bit of work, but it is relatively quick.
- They are independently solar-powered.
- It is a great way to cook outdoor without wasting energy resources.
- It can be used throughout the year.
Solar Camping Shower
If you are someone that spends a lot of time outdoors or moving around like camping or riding in an RV, and you want to have hot showers, you can do so by opting for a solar-heated shower. A great example of a solar-heated water camp shower here would be any of the options provided by Coleman.
The shower setup works by taking in the sunlight that it is exposed to naturally, and then the bags that hold the water will keep the water heated. The showerhead comes with an on and off button so you can prevent water wastage as well. However, you need to remember that their showers do not have a lot of pressure, plus there is the fact that the bags can only accommodate up to 5 gallons of water. However, if you take a quick shower you can make the 5 gallons last and it will work.
- It does not need to be connected to any other energy source to operate.
- It does a good job is keeping the water warm.
- It makes for good camping equipment.
- Easily available online.
As we have mentioned before, the process of converting energy into heat can be pretty wasteful and energy inefficient, causing your electricity bills to spike or your solar energy to be drained more than it needs to be. You want to make sure that you are using your energy efficiency and that you are not depleting your solar energy resources unnecessarily.
One good way to keep your body’s heat maintained is by layering, and another way to do is by opting for an electric blanket. This is a great way for you to stay warm during cold winter nights. The Sunbeam Heater Blanket is one such example of a reliable electric blanket since it happens to come with a quick auto-off function, and up to 10 heat settings at different intensities which you can adjust according to your liking.
- It reduces energy wastage that would have otherwise been used on heaters.
- It does provide proper warmth.
- The auto-off functions help to ensure your safety especially if you fall asleep whilst using the blanket.
Solar Powered Battery Regulators
A big solar energy apparatus will be inherently useless if you are not optimizing how that energy has been stored and used. Deep cycle batteries come with a short lifespan and this lifespan is reduced even more if they are not maintained properly. This can end up putting a lot of burden on the batteries.
This is where a good solar powered battery regulator can help you. A good regulator can bridge the solar panels with your battery and allow you have to a better control over how your system uses your stored solar energy. These regulators also help to provide surge protection so that your batteries do not get overloaded. The ALLPOWERS 20A Solar Charge Controller is an example of a good solar powered battery regulator since it will help you make good use of your energy without actually straining your batteries. The setup comes with a panel that is designed to be easier to use. This panel contains and displays all of the relevant data you need to have access to the solar energy grid.
- It comes with surge protection.
- You can end up extending the overall lifespan of your deep cycle batteries.
- The panel will display battery data and its status and updates in real time.
If you plan on living off grid, then you will have to be aware of whatever appliances you plan on connecting the solar grid. All appliances have different energy needs and some of them will probably not work well with solar energy. This is where inverters come in to deal with the problem. If you do not have an inverter, you put your appliances at risk because of issues like possible power surges.
The Ampeak 2000W Power Inverter will help you make sure that your appliances and properly and safely connected to your solar power grid. This specific model also happens to come with the feature of surge protection and a digital display that will show your output wattage along with your voltage inputs which are very important in making sure that your solar panel performs well.
- It is a great product
- It is flexible because it can be used in different settings
- It is built to keep solar energy user needs in mind
If you are looking to invest in solar power, then the equipment that you will need primarily will be the solar panels themselves. Solar panels initially were very expensive and not as efficient, however, human ingenuity has managed to come up with better solar panels. Of course, they can of course be an expensive investment, but at the same time, it is important to remember how much they help to cut your energy costs, they more than make up for their initial investment cost quickly enough.
Renogy is a known name when it comes to the world of solar panels and their panels can be connected to other panels, allowing you to harvest more than enough energy to keep your home running. Once you have created a good solar power grid with different panels, then you can produce enough energy to go off grid as well.
- Renogy is a very reputable name in the world of solar panels
- The installation and connection process is pretty simple and easy to understand even for beginners.
- They can work throughout different seasons
Solar Motion Security Lights
Solar motion security lights can help you have an energy-efficient security setup installed in your outdoor areas, be it your driveway, patio, or garage. There is no electrical connection required either, making the setup process a lot quicker as well. No additional wiring is required either as you can set the motion sensor lights to a flat surface or wall with ease.
These lights can illuminate up to 320sq.ft and have motion angle coverage of 270 degrees as well, providing you with ample area coverage.
- It provides a decent angle of coverage
- No wiring is needed for installation
- They are pretty affordable
These are just some products that can help you venture into the world of solar energy, help you start saving money on energy costs, and hopefully help you start the transition of going off-the-grid as well.
Energy bills and costs are expected to keep rising, and if you want to prevent a bigger dent in your wallet, then making the switch to solar energy can help to ensure that. Of course, it is also imperative that we remember that solar technology and energy is still a relatively new concept and it will take some more time till it becomes completely easy to use. However that should not stop you from taking the leap and starting small, plus there is the added tax incentive benefit to look forward to as well.