Solar Power Options for the Home
|Solar technology is constantly being developed.|
Solar power is nothing new, but solar technology is constantly being developed. With so many affordable and convenient solar options, there’s really no reason not to utilize the sun’s energy to help power your home. Going solar provides many benefits to the homeowner, including:
- Reducing or eliminating energy bills
- Earning rebates and tax credits
- Increasing the property's resale value
- Helping the environment
- Creating a healthier home
- Generating, instead of consuming, energy
It’s not necessary to make a complete switch to solar energy in order to enjoy some of the benefits. There are several solar power options to choose from.
The term “passive solar” refers not only to the practice of situating a home on its site to take best advantage of the sun’s warmth but in using building materials in an energy-efficient way. Precisely positioned windows, thermal mass flooring, heat distribution systems and apertures such as awnings and vents that allow a homeowner more control can make a big difference in the amount of energy needed to keep a home comfortable. A new build isn’t the only way to incorporate solar design into your home. Many solar design elements can be retrofitted.
Thermal solar systems are ideal for homeowners who want to take advantage of solar technology without making a big investment or installing large panels. Thermal solar systems can be used to heat swimming pools and fluid for radiant space heating. A solar water heater provides hot water to the home using the sun’s energy.
Solar utility companies are growing in popularity. This model allows the homeowner to enjoy most of the advantages of solar energy, such as a lower utility bill and an increase in property value. Purchasing energy from a solar utility company typically requires having panels installed on your property; however, the homeowner does not have to pay for the panels, their installation or maintenance costs. The downside of using a solar utility is that the solar company—not the homeowner—enjoys any applicable tax benefits.
Known as PV systems, this technology requires the homeowner to purchase their own PV panels. Installation, maintenance, and any energy conversion systems that may need to be installed are also the homeowner's responsibility. This is the method that incurs the most costs but also provides the most benefits to the homeowner. If and when your photovoltaic system generates more energy than you need, your local utility company may purchase this surplus energy and deliver it to their customers. This is known as net metering. Installing your own PV systems may also make you eligible for lucrative rebates and tax credits.
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