Are Solar Panels a Smart Investment?
Find out if going solar makes sense for your log or timber home.
Log homes have a long-standing track record of energy efficiency. A home built with logs will maintain a comfortable, consistent temperature — staying cooler in the summer and retaining heat in the winter. Over time, this translates into less energy usage and lower monthly utility costs.
But in addition to the natural insulating abilities of the Northern White Cedar logs that go into every Ward Cedar log home, there are a number of other energy-smart materials and construction methods that can take your home to the next level of efficiency. One of the most worthwhile is solar panels, also known as photovoltaic panels. Typically placed on a roof, solar panels are designed to absorb the sun’s rays and bank the energy, which can be used for heating and cooling or to generate electricity. In simplest terms, solar panels allow you to harness the sun’s energy to power everyday activities in your home.
While solar panels are easily adapted to most any residential build, here are a few questions that can help you determine if a solar power system is the right investment for your log or timber home:
- Is your home located in an area that receives direct sunlight from 9am to 3pm everyday?
- Do you have a south or west-facing roof?
- Do you expect to pay more than $100 a month for electricity?
- Do you plan to own your home for at least ten years? (The investment in solar panels pays for itself over time by saving you money on your electricity bill every month.
From a long-term environmental perspective, incorporating a renewable energy resource, like solar panels, into your home is a no-brainer. But what’s the immediate benefit for you, as a homeowner? Relying on solar panels as part of your home’s energy plan will ultimately reduce your monthly utility costs and allow you to achieve some level of energy independence — an increasingly attractive incentive in light of volatile global markets and ever-rising energy prices.
Besides cost-savings on utility bills and security during outages, other long-term benefits of investing in solar panels include boosting your home’s resale value and reducing time on the market. (Home’s with solar panels tend to sell quicker and for up to 40 percent more than comparable homes.)
But you’ll want to keep in mind that recouping your initial investment takes time. The upfront cost of a residential solar system is around $15,000 to $25,000, though you may be able to benefit from tax incentives from federal programs or your state’s government.
And while solar panels can be used in most any residential application, they are a particular attractive option for log or timber homeowners looking to build in remote locations. Solar panels can help homeowners with limited access to an electrical grid maintain a modern quality of life. Though, it’s important to note that solar panels can only release as much energy as they absorb, so a solar panel system is better suited to a log or timber home situated for maximum solar gain — a south or west-facing roof in a clearing — rather than one tucked away deep in a forest.
Also, keep in mind that the solar panel market has expanded beyond traditional rooftop panels. Two notable choices are the Tesla Solar Roof, which integrates solar tiles into the roofing itself and adhesive, peel-and-stick solar panels that fit between the seams of a metal standing-seam roof. No matter what type of solar application you choose, one thing is certain if you make the leap into the world of solar power systems: Your home will have a head start on comfort and cost savings from the start.
Contact us today to begin your log home journey.