All you need do, to understand the power of solar energy, is stand outside on a warm summer day basking in the sun’s glow. What many people are doing during these times of concern about energy conservation and clean, sustainable fuel, is harnessing that warm glow sky for use as a power source to run their homes. How cool is that?
Installing solar panels will significantly reduce your energy bills. You use the power of the sun to heat water and to create electricity. And, the last time anyone checked the sun is not going away for a very long time. Solar energy is the very definition of sustainable energy. Scientists have only begun to scratch the surface of harnessing the sun’s power and look what is possible already.
Converting Solar Power to Electricity and Dollars
Turning sun-power into electricity requires a device called a photovoltaic (PV) panel. The PV manages the conversion by moving electrons in silicon cells by using photons of light from the sun and once converted you can use the electricity as renewable energy in your home. Battery power gives you the options of using stored solar energy.
If you choose a system connected to the grid (stand-alone systems are available) you can also sell the power you generate back to the utility company under a concept called “net metering” because solar energy, like electricity, is measured in kilowatt-hours. They pay you. Once again, how cool is that?
Installation Cost for a Solar System
At first glance the cost of installing a solar power system may seem high; however, maintenance is low, and panels will last over thirty years and very often remain covered by a warranty the entire time. And, in addition to net metering, Federal and state governments allow you to benefit from tax credits when you choose to install solar energy systems in your home. The benefits in time make it possible for your system to pay for itself and installation will immediately add to the value of your property.
More Ideas for Increased Energy Efficiency
When you shop for new appliances, always look for Energy Star appliances. The Environmental Protection Agency approves and labels appliances that use less energy and water. Although they may cost a little more initially, the energy saving will pay for the increase in reduced energy costs.
Improve the insulation in your home and inspect areas that may have gaps where air can move in or out. Finding and fixing leaks can potentially save up to ten percent of your energy costs. The best place to start looking for leaks is around windows and doors. If possible, you should consider changing to energy efficient windows. They can be a little expensive but worth the investment over time.
A simple method of saving on cooling costs during warmer weather is by using fans, including whole-house fans, instead of air conditioning to cool your home. Another way to reduce cooling costs in summer, and heating costs in winter, is with strategic landscaping. Experts say that properly placed shade trees and bushes could reduce summertime energy costs by up to forty percent.
Some local city governments support programs that provide free trees to the community aimed at encouraging their citizens to make landscaping improvements that lower utility demands and costs. For more tips on cooling your summertime home without air conditioning check here.
When you consider the positive aspects of converting to a renewable energy source the choice seems obvious. You will contribute clean power from your mini solar power system helping to lower utility costs for everyone in your community. You will participate in job creation; reduce the environmental damage done to the planet, and save money. And, a solar power system is only one of the many options available to go green, and many of these options provide more efficient energy use and cost savings.