The sun offers one the largest sources of potential energy on the planet. As technology marches forward, we are able to harness its power with increasing efficiency. Solar energy was an expensive switch to make when the associated technologies were in their infancy.
However, solar power is beginning to flood the market. It is now affordable, and the options for use are diverse. Most homeowners understand that they will basically be using large panel units to collect the energy from the sun. From there, however, most individuals are in the dark when it comes to evaluating the solar potential in their very backyards.
Estimate The Amount Of Day Light
The first step is to estimate the amount of sun that your property receives on a daily basis. Houses that are facing south tend to receive more intense sun throughout the day. In many counties, customers can log onto a web site to check the actual solar index for the property that they own.
The intensity and amount of sunlight your home receives can help determine the size of solar panel that you should consider. Once you have this estimation in hand, it is time to do a little math.
Determining just how long it will be before you see any actual savings based on your investment can be done by visiting http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/renewables/estimator.
Incentives and rebates offered by state and local governments can also play a huge role in saving you money on your investment. The programs are not permanent and tend to fluctuate based on location and other factors. Visiting http://www.dsireusa.org can give you an idea of the kinds of savings available to you.
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To Own Or Not To Own Solar Panels?
The next decision involves the panels themselves. There are now leasing options available to homeowners. Although prices in panels have dropped dramatically over the past decade, the installation can still cost nearly $20,000 for the average home. Leasing avoids this huge upfront expense.
You will not own the system, but the benefits to be seen in the monthly electricity of the bill will certainly off-set the cost. After you have made all of these decisions, it will be time to shop for a contractor to install the panels. Installation can certainly be done by the homeowner.
However, the panels tie into the electrical systems of the home, they are heavy, and the internal mechanisms are complex. Installation by a professional is highly recommended. If you are renting the solar panels, then the company will insist that a professional contractor install the system.
The contractor that you use should be licensed. The rebates and other incentives that you may be planning on taking advantage of will only apply when a licensed contractor is used or the homeowner completes the installation. Any doubts about the validity of a contractor can be cross referenced by checking them out at http://www.cslb.ca.gov.
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A Scalable Resource
The above tips apply to homeowners that are planning on switching to solar power with full steam ahead. Solar power is scalable, however. Purchasing small panels and towers for use specifically on patios or in gardens is certainly an option as well.
Every little break in the electricity bill helps. These types of areas may be the only place that there is adequate sun on many properties. These units are inexpensive, easy to install, and can generally be wired to work with any type of electrical device.
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