Solar Energy for My Home—How Do I Research it?

 

There are many reasons to consider using solar energy to power your home. One of the most important for many, and possibly you, is that it is much more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. There is also the benefit of lower energy costs for your home. Transferring your home from electric or gas energy sources to solar energy is a rather substantial project. It does require research on your part. So the question facing those considering solar energy is how to research it. Luckily, you have lots of information available to you online. First, though, you will need to understand what needs to be researched and where to find the resources.

 

Is Solar Energy for My Home Possible?

 

The first thing you’ll want to research is whether or not you can actually use solar energy for your home. Not all homes are in a location where solar energy is possible or practical. If your home is in a location where it does not get enough direct sunlight, it may not be practical. Also, some HOA’s limit your ability to install solar cells, so you want to check with yours before making a purchase.

 

Will a Solar Power Supply All the Energy I Need?

 

The location of your home and your energy needs will determine how much of your total energy needs can be filled with solar energy. You can use your utility bills to understand how much energy your home uses daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. You can also determine peak times of day and year. If there is enough sunlight, you can provide virtually all of your energy needs through solar power. In many cases, however, you will need to have a back-up source. Talk with the manufacturer of the solar system as well as your installer to get an idea of how much energy you can expect and the system necessary to provide transfer that energy.

 

How Much Will it Cost to Transform My Home for Solar Energy Use?

 

Remodeling your home for solar energy does require a substantial investment. The cost will depend on the type of system installed, location and the amount of remodeling on your home needed to make the system work. This is where a great deal of your research will be concentrated. You’ll need to find the right system for your home and budget as well as seek out the most affordable (but also licensed and reputable) contractor to perform the installation. This will include researching how much energy your home uses, the solar resources available for your home and the proper orientation of your solar cells to collect the most possible sunlight.

 

Research Solar Energy Contractors

 

Remodeling your home for solar energy is certainly not a do-it-yourself project. You should hire a professional and this means a certified solar energy system installer. Even if you are only going with a solar water heater, you need a quality, certified and reputable installer. This should be a local installer who understands local and neighborhood zoning and building requirements. The installer may also help you to understand exactly what building permits you may require in order to remodel your home for solar energy. When shopping for your installer, be sure to get at least 3 quotes to better compare costs and services.

 

Online Resources for Researching Solar Energy for A Residential Home

 

By installing a solar energy system, you will be in line for rebates and incentives to help defer some of the cost. There are federal government rebates you can take advantage of as well as state and local. Check out www.dsireusa.org for a state-by-state database for solar energy rebates and tax incentives. Other resources include the U.S. Department of Energy’s webpage “Consumer’s Guide to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.” If you live in Canada, there is the Canadian Solar Industries Association which offers up a list of certified solar water heater installers. You can also download Natural Resources Canada’s booklet “Solar Water Heating Systems: A Buyers Guide.” These are all free resources to help you research solar energy for your home.

 

 

 

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