Guest Post: Could Solar Power Work for You?
September 8, 2011
Thank you to guest blogger James Kim for this post summarizing residential solar options. — The Wendel Forum
It’s true: solar energy has not yet been popularized by the masses. However there are many ways you can add solar energy to your own home. So why use solar power? The costs of solar energy systems have decreased 80%+ over the past twenty years and continue to plummet as solar technology becomes more efficient and accessible. Equally, the price of carbon based power is increasing each year. Getting a solar system is a smart investment, especially if you live in the southern part of the globe where sunlight is prolific.
Solar panels are one common form of harvesting solar power. Photovoltaics convert sunlight to electricity through an array of semiconductors in a panel. There are plenty of different places that you can put solar panels. You can install a panel almost anywhere in direct sunlight, like your roof, the ground, an awning, or the side of your house. Ideally, the panels will be in full sunlight almost all day, and point directly south. Panels can be large or small, rigid or flexible. There are a myriad of mounting options. You can even put a solar panel on a “tracking mount” which follows the sun across the sky for maximum sun exposure throughout daylight hours.
If you already have solar panels on your roof, you can also install:
- A solar water heating system
- Solar lights for your yard or garden
- Solar oven
- Solar refrigerator
- Solar powered fountain
- Solar powered pool-heating system
Solar water heaters are commonly used throughout Europe and the Middle East to capture the heat from the sun directly into the hot water tank, which is located on the roof of the building or home.
Other inexpensive solar solutions include solar thermal dishes. You can install one in your backyard to cut down on electricity costs. You can either make these dishes yourself or buy them with companies like RawSolar.
Check with a solar power installer to find out which option will work best in your home. You can find a solar power installer in your area using Low Impact Living’s database or Go Solar California’s website.
Make sure to also check out your specific state incentives on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) website. Whether you have a small modular home or a mansion on the lake, implementing solar energy will save you money in the long-haul.
James Kim writes for Austin Real Estate service Homecity.com. HomeCity combines powerful online Austin MLS search technology and other online tools with personalized real estate services to provide clients with the knowledge they need to make the right buying and selling decisions.