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Solar Power Options For Your Home
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Solar Power - Options for your Home

by Arthur Gordon

When we think of solar power options for a home, we automatically assume that the only option is installing solar cells or solar panels on our roof to collect solar energy to power your home.  Although this is the main option for homeowners who are considering solar power, it is not the only option.  A thermal solar system such as a solar hot water heater is another option that any homeowner can choose.  Additionally, homeowners can use solar powered yard fixtures such as a light to the front of your house or lights for the driveway or pathway to your home.  Finally, there is passive solar which utilizes natural sunlight to heat any room in your home. 

Solar Cells or Solar Panels

This option is by far the most expensive for any homeowner.  There are several factors to consider before deciding on the right system for your home. First, you need to determine how many kilowatt hours a month you currently use.  The easiest way to make this determination is to refer to your electric bill from the local utility company.  Next, you need to determine how many hours of sunlight you have per day.  For instance, your geographic location will help to determine how many hours of sunlight you typically have per day and thus how often you will be able to use your solar cells or solar panels and stay off the power grid. Finally, you need to determine how much of your typical electric bill you can afford to offset with solar cells or solar panels. 

It should also be noted that a potential benefit to choosing this option is an increase in home value since you will be producing most if not all of the electricity you need and will continue to need for as long as you own your home.  Furthermore, if you decide to sell your home you can point this important cost saving feature out to any potential homeowner. 

Thermal Solar System (Solar Hot Water Heater)

This option is far less expensive than installing solar cells or solar panels.  Also, a large portion of your home's energy bill can be offset by installing a solar power water heater to heat your household water, your swimming pool and other spaces.  This alternative is more affordable and practical and most homeowners can earn back the cost of the solar hot water heater in much less time than it would take if they had invested in solar cells or solar panels.

Solar Powered Yard Fixtures

This choice is certainly another way to reduce your monthly utility bill without breaking the bank.  I think we can all agree that most homeowners can afford to purchase a solar powered front porch light and lights for the driveway or pathway to your home.  Many local stores offer these products at very affordable prices.  They are not only affordable and good for the environment but also are aesthetically pleasing.

Passive Solar Design

Another easy and inexpensive way to utilize solar power and reduce your energy bill is simply to design a space in your home that utilizes the natural sunlight on your property.  For example, you can install some additional windows to a room which would allow more natural sunlight in and avoid having to heat the room. 

Which Option should you Choose

Although there are numerous options for solar power to choose from, it ultimately comes down to what each homeowner can afford.  Even with various rebates offered by the Federal and State government, the installation of solar cells or solar panels is by far the most expensive.  However, it is comforting to know we can all go green by using some of these other more affordable options like installing a solar hot water heater, using solar powered yard fixtures and passive solar designs in our home.  Finally, whatever option you choose, you should feel good about the fact that you have contributed to a greener lifestyle and have saved some money in the process.   

Street Talk

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