One of the biggest benefits of becoming a solar panel system owner in Albuquerque is gaining energy independence. Without having to rely on the major energy companies to power your home’s energy needs, you can save money while lessening your impact on the environment. Your energy independence is not only a win for you, but also for the health of the planet. 

Ready to learn more about energy independence? Here, we’ll define what it means to have energy independence and the many benefits that come along with it. 

Defining Energy Independence

Energy independence for individuals means that you’re able to produce all of the energy that your home consumes. Rather than purchasing it from an energy company, you’ll be getting it straight from the sun – at no cost to you. This makes a solar panel system a smart investment for homeowners in Albuquerque and across the United States. 

National Energy Independence

Energy independence can also be viewed on a national scale. When more businesses and homeowners become solar panel system owners, the United States becomes less dependent on energy imports from other countries. This helps to support our economy while providing greater security in international relations. With greater national energy independence, energy prices will stabilize and become less affected by factors like weather conditions and supply and demand.

So, in taking the step to have solar panels installed for your home or business, you’re making a difference in this country and others. In working to support sustainable sources of energy, we can all protect our planet for future generations. 

The Benefits of Energy Independence

Energy independence from solar panels provides several benefits, including:

No Fluctuating Energy Costs

Fluctuating energy costs can make a big difference in your monthly budget. When your energy comes from a major energy company, your utility bills will vary from month to month. This can be difficult to plan for and create financial stress throughout the year. 

As an energy-independent solar panel owner, you’ll never have to worry about the total of your utility bill for the month. All of the energy that you need to power your home will be produced by your solar panels. Given that the sun is an entirely free source of energy, you’ll be able to dash energy expenses from your budget entirely. You can then put the money that you used to spend on utilities to good use. 

100% Sustainable Energy

With energy independence, your home will be powered by 100% sustainable energy. When you no longer need energy from the utility company, you no longer need to use unsustainable energy sources. So, with energy independence, you can feel good in knowing that you’re significantly lowering your impact on our planet. 

Peace of Mind in Your Energy Source

Did you know that energy from the big utility companies typically comes from a combination of sources? Both renewable sources (like water, wind, and solar) and nonrenewable sources (like nuclear, coal, and natural gas) are usually included. So, when you trust the energy companies to power your home, you won’t be totally sure of where your energy is coming from at any given time. As an energy-independent household, however, you’ll know with complete confidence that all of your energy comes from the sun. 

How Long Does It Take To Become Energy Independent?

Energy independence takes some time to gain after your solar panel installation. Your solar panels will need to produce more and more energy over time to fulfill all of your energy needs. In around 7 to 10 years after owning solar panels, the panels will have paid for themselves. From that point forward, you’ll enjoy free energy from the sun.  

All homeowners in Albuquerque can strive to become energy independent. Solar panels are not only a great choice for the environment, but also for your financial future. When you’re no longer paying for energy, you’ll enjoy heightened financial security while feeling good about where your energy comes from. 

For more information about solar panel installation in Albuquerque, contact our team today. We’ll help you make the switch to solar so that you can get on the path to complete energy independence!

Unfortunately, solar panels don’t last forever. If your solar panel system in Albuquerque is reaching the end of its lifespan, follow our guide to expired solar panels below.

The Lifespan of Solar Panel Systems

The length of time that solar panels last is one of the most common questions among prospective solar panel owners. Generally speaking, solar panels last between 25 and 30 years. That’s a long time – many homeowners are likely to move before they’ll have to worry about replacing their solar panel systems. 

It’s also important to note that after 25 to 30 years, your Albuquerque solar panels won’t just stop working. The panels will continue to work, but at a significantly lower rate of efficiency than when they were first installed. The process of solar panels becoming less efficient over time is called degradation, and different solar panels (from different manufacturers) degrade at different rates. A degradation rate of about 0.5% is considered average, though panels may range from 0.3% to 0.8% degradation rates. 

When your solar panel system has degraded to the point at which its efficiency has fallen below 80%, it’s widely considered time to replace them. If any damage comes to your solar panels, (though it’s unlikely), you may need to replace them sooner. 

Reusing or Repairing Expired Solar Panels

Since solar panels that are considered past their prime can usually still generate energy for your home, many people opt to keep them. While the panels will produce energy at a lesser rate than before, many Albuquerque homeowners may still have their energy needs fulfilled by the outdated panels.

Repairing older solar panels can also be an option in some scenarios. For example, if your panels have incurred minor damages, it can be possible to have only the damaged parts replaced. This can save you from having to invest in an entirely new solar panel system. 

But, if your older solar panels are no longer producing enough energy to power your home, the best option is generally to have them replaced. Replacement is also recommended if your panels have been damaged beyond repair. 

Replacing Your Solar Panels

Eventually, it will come time to replace your old solar panels for new, more efficient panels. The widely accepted practice in this scenario is to recycle your old panels. Recycling is the most sustainable option for solar panel removal. Given that we’re all trying to be kinder to the planet, recycling in any form is usually the best choice to make!

Removing The Expired Panels

Before the expired solar panels can be recycled, they must be removed. This task should be completed by your solar panel experts in Albuquerque. Solar panels are complex pieces of energy equipment and need to be handled by professionals for your safety. 

Recycling The Expired Panels

Solar panels are made up of many different parts, with the various parts made out of different materials. This makes the recycling process for solar panels more complex than that of other items. That said, it’s worth it to properly recycle your solar panels. In doing so, you’ll be making a difference for the environment by making sure that your old solar panels don’t end up in landfills. 

PV solar panels may be silicon-based or thin-film-based. Both of the types of solar panels can be recycled, though the recycling process is different for both. 

Recycling Silicon-Based PV Panels

The first step in the process of recycling silicon-based PV panels is disassembling them. This separates the aluminum parts from the glass parts. Almost all of the glass and all of the metal in the solar panels can be reused. The plastic in the panels is thermal-processed and evaporates for use as a heat source. The cell modules are also thermal-processed, and most of them can be used. The silicon wafers must be processed and melted, then may be reused. 

Recycling Thin-Film-Based PV Panels

To recycle thin-film-based PV panels, they must first be shredded to eliminate the lamination. Then, the solid and liquid are separated before the film is removed. From there, the semiconductor material and the glass are treated separately to become ready for reuse. Almost all of the semiconductor material and glass can be reused. 

To learn more about recycling your outdated solar panel system, contact our Albuquerque solar panel team today.