Many people these days are deciding to become more energy independent, and want to play a part in avoiding a very foreseeable energy crisis. They’ve decided to go solar. Creating a solar powered home is an endeavor that requires an initial investment, but the costs are being lowered everyday. Solar power provides long term benefits. Not just for the home owner, but the environment too.
Now that solar power is more efficient, you can reduce or even eliminate your electric bill, increase your home’s value and contribute to a cleaner environment, all at the same time. It’s a great time to join the move to renewable energy resources, and the perfect time to take advantage of the generous government and local utility financial incentives that can cut thousands of dollars off the price. And now that solar power is becoming even more main stream, it is growing in accessibility. Manufacturers of solar powered products have realized the potential for a solar age, and are creating new options for those who are considering a solar powered lifestyle. If you are ready to step into the solar age, you are probably wondering how and where to begin. Below is a list of ways to make your home a solar one.
1. Solar Attic Fans
Solar attic fans are a great example of a simple way to make your home more energy efficient without spending a lot of money. The need for air conditioning is reduced by venting hot air out of your attic. Installing a solar attic fan may also increase the life of your roof materials by keeping them at a lower temperature which also reduces moisture buildup in your attic. This prevents mold and rot in your home, and can also reduce allergens and pollution.
2. Solar Heating
Solar heating systems are composed of solar thermal collectors, a fluid system to move the heat to its point of usage, and a reservoir for heat storage. The systems may be used to heat domestic hot water, swimming pool water, or for space heating. If you live in the southern half of the United States or in an equally sunny area you could potentially save between 50% and 80% on your water heating by implementing a solar hot water heater. The initial cost is hefty, but depending on how you use it, the system may pay for itself in as little as five years. The return is greater when you factor in rebates and incentives offered by states and local governments.
3. Solar Pumps
Depending on where you live, especially in remote areas, the cost of traditional water piping may be exorbitant. Unless you install a solar water pump. A solar power panel collects solar energy and powers a battery which can keep a consistent and plentiful water supply.
4. Solar Paneling
The most obvious way to break in to the solar age is to install solar panel cells on your roof. Solar cells, also known as PV cells, or Photovoltaics, come in many sizes, colors, and performance characteristics, made to fit a variety of homes and lifestyles. Another important factor to consider is that when PV panels are used in conjunction with energy efficient appliances, not as many panels may be needed to power your home! Large scale home improvement stores, as well as smaller, independent energy groups, offer installation. But if you are a savvy do-it-yourselfer, you may decide to undertake the project on your own!
But don’t bust out the screwdriver just yet. Whether you do it yourself, or hire someone to do it for you, there are a couple of technicalities to be seen to before solarizing your home. Such as building permits. In order to legally install renewable energy sources in your home, you must contact your city or county building permit agency to obtain permission. You will be able to learn about requirements specific to your neighborhood. Don’t forget about property and sales taxes. Depending on what state you live in, you may or may not be exempt from these when it comes to the purchase of your renewable energy system.
Although it is not difficult to keep up your solar systems, frequency of replacement should be considered. Solar thermal systems need valves replaced every 3-5 years and storage tanks replaced every 10 years. Luckily, solar PV systems typically do not require maintenance, other than a yearly cleaning of the solar panels. PV panel life is typically 25 years.
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