Solar electric systems are nothing new, but in the past few decades solar energy has become so efficient that it has now become a viable source of renewable energy to power entire homes. At this point in time, thousands of residents and commercial organizations in Indiana are utilizing solar energy. For example, the Indianapolis airport has 76,000 solar panels on 150 acres that generate up to 31 million kilowatt hours on an annual basis, which is enough to power 3,000 average homes.
The Indianapolis airport system is one of the larger systems in the state, but solar panels are practical for residential home uses as well. Financially, solar panels are a smart choice because they are very durable and can last upwards of 25 years when used and cared for properly. By investing in a solar system, homeowners are ensuring that the cost of their electricity stays constant for decades. As an added bonus, solar systems have been known to continue to operate long after they essentially pay for themselves. In fact, there are solar panels manufactured in the 1970’s that still provide power to this day.
In addition to the immediate reduction in energy costs, solar systems are also valuable in another way. By investing in a solar system, you are increasing the value of your home and your community as well. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has reported that homes with solar systems sell 20% faster and for 17% more than equivalent homes without solar systems in surveyed California subdivisions. In terms of community benefits, a study performed by the New York University Stern and Yale School of Forestry concluded that a home is 0.8% more likely to adopt solar technology for each additional installation of a solar system in their zip code.
Some people worry that the solar resource available in Indiana isn't sufficient enough to provide for the average home. In 2013, Germany led the world in the production of solar photovoltaic energy. The figure above, created by the NREL, shows that the solar potential for the United States is much, much greater than Germany’s, even in Indiana. If Germany was able to lead the world in solar generation with so much less solar potential than nearly anywhere in the U.S., it is reasonable to believe that solar PV is a viable option for power in Indiana.
Nonetheless, ALAUM is also willing and able to provide for combination solar and geothermal systems. These combination systems would include a geothermal unit to provide for the home’s heating and air conditioning demand and a solar system sized to meet the energy needs of the geothermal system. To learn more about how a geothermal system would meet your home heating and cooling demand, please see the “Geothermal” link to the top left of this page.
To estimate how a solar system could benefit you and your home, there are a number of resources you can use. Perhaps the most useful, however, is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) PVWatts calculator that calculates your solar potential based on your address.