When the possibility of accessing solar power first reached the awareness of homeowners, it sounded like a great way to save money on electricity bills. The only problem was that the initial cost was so steep that it would take years to recoup the investment for the average homeowner. Thankfully, that has changed, and now solar power is an affordable options that can be integrated easily into an existing home.
Why should I convert my home to solar power?
Even on an overcast day, solar power provides energy for your home because of the backup batteries that are part of the system. Homeowners that rely on traditional electric power are subject to power outages they have no control over, caused downed lines or heavy energy demand. Additionally, solar power is a free source of electricity after the initial investment.
As for the big picture, every home or business that converts to solar power is reducing the amount of fossil fuel used in the world. This decreases the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere, offsetting the effects of climate change. Global warming is an urgent threat to the world’s water supply, food sources and air quality. Converting to solar power is one step toward ensuring a better future for generations to come.
How do I make the switch?
- 1 First, inspect your home’s structure and make notes on any changes needed to bring it up to the highest energy efficiency possible. Look for gaps in the siding and any places that need to be caulked.
- 2 Check insulation in the walls and attic and make sure that it’s at an adequate level and replace or add more if needed.
- 3 Inspect windows and doors for cracks and consider switching to double-paned windows if you don’t already have them.
- 4 Replace old, energy-wasting appliances. Newer appliances with Energy Star ratings will be more efficient and save you money.
- 5 Make sure that there is space on your roof and that there will be plenty of available sun. Your roof must get direct sun during the hours of 10 A.M to 2 P.M. for the solar panels to be efficient.
- 6 Find a solar company to do the work that’s licensed and bonded and offers a warranty. A typical warranty will cover the panels for 20 years or more and the solar inverter for at least 5 years.
- 7 Determine the size and number of solar panels you will need. Your installer will be able to help you with this.
- 8 You’ll want to leave yourself the option of using traditional electric power by staying on the grid. If there are several overcast days in a row or your battery fails after several years, it’s much more convenient to have another source of electricity. Some electric companies even pay homeowners for any excess solar power that’s generated, and this is called net metering.
- 9 Switch to a solar hot water tank at the same time you have the solar panels installed. This makes up a big part of your energy use and will be an important factor in saving money. Through the end of 2016, homeowners will receive a 30 percent rebate on taxes for the cost of installation. Having a solar tank will also have the same effect on the atmosphere as removing a car from the highway for several months!
- 10 Talk to your installer about regular inspection and maintenance of your solar system. Some things can be monitored by a homeowner, but all systems need to be inspected yearly by a professional. At the same time, have your solar panels inspected for dirt, buildup or debris and cleaned if necessary.
Now is the time to convert your home to clean, solar power. Solar panels are less expensive and more lightweight than ever before, and tax credits are available for switching to solar energy. Save money and help the environment at the same time!