If you think about the world’s technological advancements over the past few decades, it’s easy to see how far we’ve come. Today, you can use your voice to turn on your lights! These innovations have also developed in the power sector, as we can now harness Earth’s natural elements for energy.
Together, smart technology and solar energy could make it possible to have an almost entirely self-sufficient household. How can the two separate systems work in tandem? Let’s take a look.
How Solar Energy Works
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to understand how solar energy works. This renewable energy option captures sunlight with photovoltaic cells to create direct-current (DC) energy. Then, it converts that energy into alternating-current (AC) energy through an inverter. That’s what you use to power your home.
Unless the sun disappears, you can capture its rays to generate electricity forever. There are even ways to store the extra energy the panels overproduce, which can happen on particularly sunny days. If your area offers net metering, you can earn credits on your electric bill when you send that additional power to the primary power grid.
Then, you’re able to access that stored power in exchange for the credits when you need an energy boost.
Numerous advantages come with solar energy. For one, it’s become an inexpensive, accessible option for most homeowners. If you don’t like how solar panels look, you can explore solar roof tiles instead to achieve better curb appeal. Additionally, solar power emits minimal carbon emissions, which makes a difference in climate change.
The Link Between Smart Technology and Solar Energy
There’s nearly no limit to technology in the 21st century. Between voice assistants like Alexa and smartphone-controlled home security systems, we have many opportunities to make our lives easier. Other benefits, aside from convenience, include:
- Better home security.
- Improved energy efficiency.
- Enhanced customization.
- Ability to track health and wellness.
- Interconnectivity possibilities.
- Cost-savings boosts.
With smart technology, you can simplify everyday processes in ways that also save energy and money. There are innovative additions for every space when building a smart home, even for places you may not think, such as your garage door. If you consider the benefits and how many smart gadgets exist, it’s easy to see why more homeowners have started to choose automation systems.
But despite the advantages, we still need electricity to run smart technology.
Where Solar Energy Plays a Role
That’s where solar energy can help. Properties that have smart technology setups can use solar power for that purpose. This process creates a loop where your house always has electricity from the sun, which in turn means your automated devices are forever online. Then, they’ll be as reliable as possible.
Plus, your solar panels can connect directly to specific smart home gadgets. If you have programmable thermostats and light sensors, you can pair them with your solar power system. There are also ways to make smart appliances, specifically, even more efficient. This combined setup can eventually help you achieve complete independence from utilities as a whole.
Additionally, you may consider the only “genuine” smart homes to be ones that avoid fossil fuels. Are houses that rely on gas and oil really that intelligent or advanced? If you think about how nonrenewable energy damages the planet, and what future innovation holds, your answer will likely be “no.”
Alternatively, solar power and other renewable sources point to the future, so they’re a wiser investment in the long run.
For various reasons, smart technology and solar energy make a perfect match. This combination results in an almost entirely self-sufficient household, as your solar panels will power your devices, boosting cost savings and energy-efficiency along the way.
If you don’t want to think twice about your home’s automation, solar power makes sense.
Do Solar-Powered Smart Homes Currently Exist?
Throughout the world, people have already made the switch to solar-powered smart homes. There’s really no correct way to link automated technology with solar energy, so you could have only a few solar panels to power your smart TV and refrigerator — or you might have a full-blown connected system from top to bottom. Anything counts.
Some properties have achieved almost 100% automation and efficiency through smart technology and solar energy. Because solar power provides more than electricity to keep the lights on, it’s possible to heat areas like outdoor pools to add to the home’s efficiency even more.
Plus, your house’s heating and cooling system’s performance can dramatically improve, which could never happen without renewable energy.
Points to Consider About Solar Energy
Challenges can come with solar energy, though. If you want to power your entire home with solar panels, you have to ensure that’s actually possible. While the solar industry has come far, it’s still not an option as widespread as traditional energy sources.
This factor can lead to issues that are worth discussing.
1. Upfront Installation Costs
First, you’ll want to consider finances. Traditionally, renewable energy almost always costs more to install upfront than any other power source. These systems can cost around $20,000 initially. Though tax incentives exist, it’s still not always possible for people to pay that much at one time.
To put it another way, solar energy can be a significant investment for most individuals.
2. Property Structure and Location
There may be problems related to your home’s structure and location. If you live in an area that experiences little sunshine, you should avoid solar energy. Plus, your roof may not be sound enough to support the added weight.
While you can put solar panels on your lawn, it can be hard to capture sunlight in that position.
3. Water Heating Systems
If you want to achieve a self-sufficient home that runs solely on solar energy, you need to think about water, too. Though solar-powered water heaters exist, they require a separate system from your solar panels. These setups aren’t as popular in the United States as they are in other parts of the world, so they can be hard to come by, as well.
This additional process isn’t too complicated, but you’ll have more factors to consider as a result.
There Are Still More Advantages Than Downsides
Keep in mind that solar energy’s benefits far outweigh the downsides. This renewable energy source creates minimal greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s also much cheaper in the long run when it comes to energy costs. Plus, you can avoid grid-related power outages, since you’ll always have access to power through the sun.
These potential concerns don’t mean you shouldn’t explore solar energy or work toward a solar-powered smart home. Instead, they’re just points to consider as you move forward. All signs point to renewable energy sources as the future, so you should get on board sooner rather than later.
Possibilities Moving Forward
How will solar-powered smart homes evolve in the future? There’s no denying the world has to adapt to renewable energy in order to mitigate climate change. Currently, the resources we use are mainly fossil fuels, which are finite and damage the planet.
On the other hand, renewable energies such as solar power offer a clean and inexhaustible alternative. As it continues to develop, we’ll likely see solar energy become more inexpensive and commonplace throughout the world. If you add smart technology to the mix, you can fully capitalize on what solar power offers regarding efficiency and cost savings.
While both concepts aren’t perfect, we can still benefit significantly from them. As more people consider solar-powered smart homes, the relationship between consumers and utilities could change drastically. That’s because we wouldn’t have to rely on the grid to power our homes.
Instead, we’d become completely independent, generating as much electricity as we use. This effort will be crucial for managing efficiency. Plus, you won’t have to worry about grid-wide system failures or other issues that arise when using such expansive power systems.
There are also data points to consider. For the most part, we’ve never had such an opportunity to measure and analyze the systems that power our homes. If you use smart technology in tandem with your solar panels, you can limit maintenance issues, store extra energy, and more. Because you have access to that information, you can keep your house running in top shape.
When weighing the possibilities, it’s pretty easy to see how well smart technology and solar energy can work together, and what the opportunities are moving forward.
These Two Systems Point to Brighter Days
On the surface, automated devices and solar power might look completely different. But when you dig a little deeper, you can see that they’re directly connected — and we can benefit from how well their relationship works. These two systems can come together to provide homeowners with an advanced, self-sufficient house that offers endless benefits for Earth.
As smart technology and solar energy continue to progress, we should see more efficient houses pop up around the world. That’s a promising situation, especially when considering how climate change will continue to harm the planet otherwise. There’s still a lot to be done in both areas, but we can feel good about the endless possibilities that smart technology and solar energy can bring.
Rose Morrison writes on home improvement topics and is the managing editor of Renovated. She is especially passionate about helping homeowners find ways to be sustainable in their daily lives. Check out her Twitter to see more of her work.