Solar panels and solar setups work in two distinct ways. One is on grid, the other off grid. Off grid is currently rather expensive because the cost to replace batteries is prohibitive. As technology has improved, so has the viability of an off grid system because batteries are holding more power, longer. It’s still not quite there in terms of a cost efficient mechanism to replace coal power stations. We are not that far away however.
If you have access to the grid, then you should have solar panels installed. It’s as simple as that. In most countries around the world solar panels are relatively cheap. A full 5000 Watt system should not cost anymore than £4000 and another £1000 to install. This will power most homes comfortably to the point minor top up may be required from the grid, however that’s unlikely. You are more likely to be feeding the grid.
One major requirement for solar panels is roof space. To get a 5000 Watt system on your roof would require 40m2 of free space. This is normally going to be ok for your average 3 bed home. The maintenance is absolutely minimal and mid quality cells from China are still going to last fifteen years providing an astonishing payback. By the way after fifteen years your solar panels are not useless they will have lost a fair amount of performance however, in the region of 30%. It is certainly not even close to throw away. Many homes run on 3000 Watt systems according to varying sources. There is every reason to think a solar system will last twenty five years.
The only thing stopping this revolution is the upfront cost. Government incentives will hopefully make this all the more attractive proposition in the near future and continued improvement in battery technology allowing for homes without grid to become normal. Government have already recognised many other technology savings, such as sash window draught seals, so why not cut solar tax? It’s an exciting time in human history. Think about it – Elon musk has just announced his new high tech roof will only cost a mere $22 a square foot. Now combine the over supply of electric with an electric car – and that is a warm thought to not be powering our vehicles and home on dirty fossil fuels. He’s also gone on record as stating that his wonderful system may only require 40% roof coverage in the high tech beautiful solar tiles, the rest being ordinary. That means the remaining 60% can be used to power our car, or heat our water with electric, and maybe do away with gas in the home as well. I believe the future to be solar and it’ll be in every home as standard pretty soon.