Home Solar: Is it Worth Switching?

Home Solar: Is it Worth Switching?

Use the sun!

Retro-fitting your home to run on solar energy either partially or completely can be a huge undertaking. It requires professional, often expensive installation that may or may not be done correctly. However, there have been many advances, as well as incentives, when it comes to choosing solar technology. Here are some things to think about if you are considering switching to home solar energy.

The Right Locale

If you live in a mostly cloudy, weather challenged area you may want to think twice before switching to solar. In addition, you must make sure that the part of your home to be used for the solar retrofit faces a prime sun spot location.

You Must Have an Energy Efficient Home

Going solar does not simply mean slapping a panel on your roof and hoping it will store the sun’s energy for you to somehow use. It takes preparation and one of the first steps is making sure your home is energy efficient. It is no use to attempt a solar retro-fit without first making sure the entire structure is efficiently sound. This means that your home should be well caulked, properly weather stripped and sufficiently insulated. Old windows should be replaced with strong, double paned, sun reflecting glass and ill fitting structural doors also swapped for upgraded designs. There are some companies that will assess your home for a small fee. Sometimes, your electric company will provide this service for free.

Draw up Plans

If you do not have up-to-date plumbing and electrical plans of your home this is another essential step. Such things as window placements, heat and air vents, load bearing walls as well as wiring and piping routes can make a huge difference for you or a solar company saving time and money.

Check Your Home, Check Your Regulations

The structural integrity as well as the angle of the roof you are going to install the solar array on should be evaluated before the installation. In addition, local town regulations also need reviewing to make sure no penalty fines are imposed after construction.

Buyback

Many homes that run on solar actually absorb more energy than they need. Therefore, any leftover power can sometimes be sold to your local electric company.  It can be fun to watch your electric meter actually run backwards. This is called ‘net metering’. This is also a great way to have a corporation paying you for once.

Some Stats

  • There has been about a 30% drop in solar panel pricing since January 2010.
  • Approximately 100,000 Americans are employed by 5,000 solar energy companies.
  • The U.S. is on track to become the number one solar energy market by 2014.
  • Solar panels are becoming an increasing American export, even to China.

Home solar, the next generation in energy, with rows of homes, buildings and barns all running off their own power grid. It could be the wave of the future.

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