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Home Automation Vs. Solar Energy. What Saves More Money?
Setting up an automated smart home and installing solar panels are two of the most popular ways for homeowners to save money on their electric bill. However, it’s not clear which of them saves more money. Both of them have their advantages, and they are difficult to compare because the costs and savings of each varies based on your location, especially for solar power. This post will discuss the various ways each of them can provide a savings and create guidelines for deciding which of them will be a better investment.
Let’s consider home automation first. This is a newer area and there is a lot of growth: many different companies offer different ways to automate various parts of your home. When it comes to saving on your bills, the most relevant kind of automation is the kind that controls lights and appliances. Some home automation tools control door locks and other parts of the home that don’t use much electricity. To begin with the lights, it isn’t clear that home automation really adds anything in terms of savings. For example, a motion sensor that turns off the lights when there is nobody around works just as well as a smart home setup to control whether the lights waste energy. There isn’t much that home automation can do that can’t be beaten by simply turning off lights when nobody is around. On the other hand, there are areas of home automation that can produce savings. Most notably, temperature controls can introduce efficient air conditioning and heating usage. Obviously, leaving the AC or heat on all day when nobody is home is wasteful, but it is uncomfortable to come home to a house that is cold in winter or warm in summer. Home automation can turn on the temperature controls a little while before you get home, so that the house is comfortable and you don’t spend much extra on electricity or heat. Then the system can balance this out by reducing the usage of climate control at night, when everyone is sleeping. The overall usage is lower. How much you can save will depend on many factors- the size of your home, your preferred temperature, and how efficient your appliances are in the first place. It’s hard to give an estimate without knowing these things, but the more intensely you use temperature controls now, the more you stand to save.
Solar panels are a very different option. Actually acquiring solar panels and installing them can be complicated because there are many different potential contracts, ranging from buying to leasing and with variations on each. Furthermore, the presence of state and federal subsidies for solar panels also affects their cost. The ownership terms of solar panel contracts can range from the homeowner having full ownership to the homeowner merely renting. Generally, arrangements with lower monthly payments give the company more control, and they keep the money from the generated electricity. If the homeowner buys the panels outright they also own the electricity that they produce. The subsidies might go either to the company or the homeowner depending on how the local jurisdiction awards them. As you can see, figuring out how much solar panels will cost is not as simple as it might appear. The best way to do it is to get a quote from a local solar supplier and try to get an estimate for how much other local homeowners have saved on their electricity bills. You will need to carefully evaluate your situation because solar panel installation costs can vary widely, and so can the amount of available sunlight. States with less cloud cover and more direct sunlight, like Arizona, are well-suited for solar panels. Northern states like New Jersey get less direct sun because they are further from the equator. However, New Jersey is also well-known for generous solar subsidies. Before making a contract, do your research and learn who owns the power that the panels on your house will generate, how much sunlight they will get, who gets the subsidies, and whether your solar panels will cost you more or less than sticking with regular electricity service. Just about every solar power contract will involve a monthly payment. It might be a lease payment, a loan payment, or an installment of the full cost. If this payment is more than what you would save on your electric bill, then you need to reconsider.
The bottom line is that while it is nearly impossible to put exact numbers on these savings without more information about your situation, here is what you should consider. Investing in solar makes more sense in areas with big subsidies and a lot of sunlight. Guardian Security Home automation is most lucrative in regions that require a lot of heating, air conditioning, or both. These can overlap- southern states get a lot of sun and also have a lot of heat. In general, a simple automation system for heating and air conditioning will be cheaper than solar panels, but also offer less potential savings. Furthermore, solar panels are a long-term commitment- many contracts carry twenty-year terms. It is likely to be cheaper for you to first try out some automation and then consider panels afterward. It’ll save you some money as well as saving the environment through reduced energy usage. These are two exciting new opportunities for homeowners that are sure to grow in the future.
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