Solar cost may not always be a consideration when other alternatives do not exist. Such circumstances include requiring electrical power in remote locations where alternative energy sources or fuels are not available. Fortunately for most, alternatives do exist including wind, petrolium, or gas engine generated methods.
For those considering solar energy for an individual home electrical back-up system, solar engergy is derived from either direct or stored methods.
The Direct method generally includes a number of solar panels, directly wired to a power inverter which is directly wired to a home or businesses breaker box. This method only operates effectively when the sun is shining, so not in the late evening. The Stored method generally uses the same items described above in the Direct method with the addition of a large set of batteries to store the power as it is being generated. This method allows any unused stored solar power to be used during the night, or on cloudy days when solar power generation is not possible, but is only limited to the excess power stored in the batteries.
A typical 5 kilowatt system for home use supplies enough electical power to run most essential appliances in a residential home. Refrigerators, freezers, TV’s, radios, lights, fans, even portable AC’s and heaters can be maintained and allow a family to stay in their home without having to seek shelter elsewhere.
Today, the average cost of a 5 kilowatt Direct solar system in the United States is $35,000 to $45,000. A Stored system in the 5 kilowatt range will add an additional average cost of $5,000 to $10,000, depending upon the amount of battery storage required.
So consider your specific budget, needs, and options available in your area to determine if a solar electrical back up system is right for you.