Whether you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint, save money, or have some sort of agenda; residential solar power is an appealing option. With energy prices soaring, the technology behind it constantly advancing, solar power for the home is more affordable and widespread than ever before.

It’s a bit of a simplification, but everybody with windows in their home has a form of residential solar power. You can open the curtains to let more sunlight in, and close them to keep it out. Doing this helps regulate the heating and cooling of your home without the electric company getting involved.

Solar panels are comprised of photovoltaic cells, which are used to convert the sun’s radiant energy into electricity. However, an inverter needs to be used to change it to the right type of current for home use. If your home is not attached to the electric grid, then you will need batteries for storing electricity for use when sunlight is not available, such as nighttime or stormy weather.

Because changing an entire home to solar is not cheap, you may want start small with solar-powered lights, radios and battery chargers. Later you can move up to larger items like solar water heaters. While this isn’t as drastic as changing over your entire house, it is a step in the right direction that will reduce your dependence on public utilities

One of the nice things about photovoltaic cells is that they can be added to new construction, or retrofitted to existing homes. The majority of people would be best advised to hire a certified professional; though more advanced do-it-yourselfers can try to tackle the project themselves. Regardless of how you will be adding it, check with local building codes to see what their rules are in regards to residential solar power

Check with your local utility company to see if they will buy back any excess energy your residential solar power produces. If they do, it’s like being paid dividends on your eco-friendly investment. To keep things fair, many utilities offer net metering. This keeps track of how much electricity the power company is supplying when there is no sun, then gives you a credit for any excess power you have sent them.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the panels used for residential solar power are becoming more attractive. This is due to the improvements in materials and efficiency of design. With all it has going for it, solar energy is not so much the wave of the future as it is the promise of today.

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