Using Solar Energy For A Residential Solar Electric System

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Using solar energy to power a residential solar electric system is one way for homeowners to reduce energy costs.

In a residential solar electric system, solar panels collect and absorb heat and sunlight from the sun rays, and transform this heat into electricity. Photons are collected by the solar panels and they are converted to direct current electrical power. This direct current is then converted to alternating current by an inverter. Solar panels used for a residential solar electric system are usually between 12% to 15% efficient. Depending on the weather and many other conditions, a solar panel produces one kilowatt-hour per square meter per day.

The components of a residential solar electric system are the solar panels, an inverter, a charge controller and batteries. A residential solar electric system is expensive initially. The average cost of for a typical single family home is from $20,000 to $30,000. A residential solar electric system could supply about 50% to 60% of the electricity usage of the home, but would depend on the number of solar panels used in the system. The yearly energy cost savings would be between $500 and $600, and would also depend on actual current and future energy costs.

The cost of a residential solar electric system may be lowered by federal tax credits and, depending on where the homeowner lives, state tax incentives.

Although a residential solar electric system will reduce energy costs, the payback, or amount of time that it will take for the system to pay for itself, is estimated at between fifteen to twenty-five years.  

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