There is a lot of talk about how great solar power is, but here are some things to consider before making the leap. The solar energy home is more self-sufficient for its electric needs than those homes which rely solely on a utility company. Making the switch from being entirely dependent on the grid to full-solar can be done all at once, or in smaller, more manageable steps.

While the initial cost of going solar is still relatively high, new advances are lowering the cost of solar panels. Plus, new materials are being developed that allow the panels to be more flexible, come in different colors and be more efficient. You should also know that solar panels do not require much as far as maintenance goes, and can last for decades.

Another way you may be able to reduce the costs of installing solar power is through various rebates, credits and incentives. These can be found through utility companies or government agencies. In fact, in some of the more forward thinking jurisdictions it’s possible to save as much as 80% when making the switch to the ultimate renewable resource (assuming you meet certain qualifications). Such a large amount of savings puts the promise of a solar energy home within reach of a lot more people.

Efficiency is a concern as there is always some energy loss when converting the sun’s power from 12V DC to 220V AC. You can compensate for this by being more aware of your basic energy consumption and making small adjustments to your daily routine. However, even with this loss of power, the general cost of power will go down the longer your home runs on solar energy.

Though it’s not the same as adding an array of photovoltaic cells to your roof, there are some other ways you can use the sun’s energy to reduce your dependency on public utilities. Landscaping, such as planting shade trees, can increase shade and decrease your air conditioning bill in the summer. Putting more windows where you can catch more sunlight in the winter can decrease heating costs. Even the color of your home or selecting the right roofing materials will put the power of the sun to work for you.

A solar energy home does not rely on non-renewable resources for its power. It pays far lower electric bills, if at all, and in some cases can make the home owner some extra money by selling surplus power back to the electric company. Which would you prefer, Sending them your hard-earned money every month, or having them send you a check,


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