What Energy-Conscious Homeowners Are Asking About Residential Solar Energy

1. Why should anyone consider purchasing a solar energy system?

The primary reasons for purchasing a home solar array are environmental and economic. Many homeowners are interested in cutting greenhouse gas emissions while others want to lower their electric bills. Working through that basic decision is your first step in deciding if home solar energy is right for you.

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of home solar power?

Cited for long-life, silent operation, and low maintenance, roof-mounted solar arrays are an increasingly popular choice for home alternative energy systems. Solar power is, however, subject to interruption and not applicable for all electrical applications. These are factors that need to be weighed before moving forward.

3. What are the different applications of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems?

Although most people commonly think of roof-mounted photovoltaic cells to create electricity from sunlight, there are also highly efficient and affordable options for solar water heating. These systems work for pools and domestic water use and can contribute to substantially lower electrical bills.

4. How do you assess a site for solar energy use?

Site assessment for a home solar array is primarily based on the number of peak sun hours the given location receives annually. Other considerations include the pitch of the roof and its structural suitability to bear the weight of the array. A site assessment is the first practical step toward installing a home solar power system.

5. How much power can a home solar system produce?

The amount of energy a home solar array can produce from available sunlight depends on the geographic location of the site, the time of day and season of the year, the surrounding landscape, and local weather conditions. Homeowners need to understand solar power collection to temper their expectations with realistic facts.

6. What are the costs of a home solar system?

To use average calculations, a home solar array with a capacity of 3.6kW can provide half the power for a typical American home's annual consumption of 10,000 kWh (in optimal sun conditions.) Most homeowners pay $15,000 to $40,000 before rebates and incentives, but prices vary widely due to a number of factors.

7. How does a home solar system connect to the power company?

Residential solar arrays are either grid-tied or off-grid, meaning they either interconnect with the power utility's grid or serve as stand-alone systems. Grid-tied is the most common scenario, allowing power purchased versus power produced to be measured via net metering for billing purposes.

8. What are the maintenance requirements and cost?

Solar panels have no moving parts and require little to no maintenance beyond washing off dirt and grime periodically. Regular inspection of their physical condition and associated wiring is recommended. The greatest potential threat is damage from severe weather events like high winds or hail.

9. What are the purchase options?

Locating a reputable solar installer is not difficult thanks to online resources including the Solar Energy Industries Association website. The truly important thing is that homeowners school themselves to get all the information they need in the critical areas of equipment, policies, payment, scheduling, and paperwork before the job begins.

10. Can I install or build my own solar energy system?

Installing a roof-mounted residential solar array is no more difficult that any other home renovation project. Do-it-yourself homeowners must remember, however, that their work must meet building and wiring codes, pass inspection with the local power company, and comply with any applicable homeowner's association restrictions.

11. Are there any energy tax credits for home solar energy use?

The biggest boon to homeowners who want to install a home solar array is the available 30% federal tax credit on the purchase. There may be additional benefits available from state and power company programs. Collectively, these incentives can reduce purchase price by more than a third.

12. Can a home solar system pay for itself?

As with any investment, a home solar array does offer a "break even" point on the purchase. The length of that period, however, varies widely by the circumstances and location of each installation. It is fair to average, however, and say that most systems will pay for themselves sin 15 to 20 years.

Announcement: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy

Residential solar energy is straightforward, and anyone can use it to supplement or replace services with their local utility company. All you need is a set of solar panels or modules that covert sunlight into electric current. You can then use the electricity generated to operate appliances and other devices in your home. Some solar panels convert sunlight into heat, which you can use instead of gas, oil or electricity. With the right information, you can be on your way to saving a lot of money on electricity, just by using the power of the sun.

The Advantages of Adding a Residential Solar Array to Your Home

Two primary motivations drive homeowners to install a residential solar energy system: environmental concern and economic benefit.

Can a Home Solar System Pay for Itself?

The short answer is, “Yes, over time, a home solar system will pay for itself.” There is, however, a more complicated long answer. Every home system will be unique in terms of equipment and location. Consequently, homeowners will have to use their personalized data to answer the payback question.

Are There Any Energy Tax Credits For Home Solar Energy Use?

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Energy is a major source of information for homeowners considering the installation of a home solar power system.

Can I Install Or Build My Own Solar Energy System?

With the proper research and possessing basic construction and wiring skills, a knowledgeable do-it-yourself homeowner can build and install a home solar power system.

Where Can I Buy Solar Panels For My House?

Homeowners interested in installing a home solar array will find no shortage of companies to perform the work. A good place to start is the member directory at the Solar Energy Industries Association website.

The site is also an excellent source of information on residential solar technology and products as well as federal and state information relative to regulations and incentives.

Maintenance Requirements And Cost For A Residential Solar Power System

What are the maintenance requirements and cost for a residential solar energy system?

How Does A Home Solar System Connect To My Power Company?

Although a home solar power system can exist independent of the power utility’s grid, that is not normally the case in a typical residential setting. Power production and use is monitored via a system called net metering. A smart meter is installed in the home that is capable of running both forwards and backwards. At the end of the month, the homeowner pays the difference, or in some cases is paid by the power company.

Cost To Install A Home Solar Array

Because so many factors come into play, it is extremely difficult to say what a home solar power system costs. Individual solar site assessments and equipment projections by capacity, paired with personal energy usage data are required to arrive at a figure.

How Much Power Can A Home Solar System Produce?

Any reputable solar installation company will conduct a specific solar site assessment at your home and will be able to supply you with real-world figures from other residential solar arrays in your area to determine how much power you can expect your solar project to yield.

Site Assessment For Solar Energy Use

The first step in integrating residential solar energy in your home is simply finding out what you can expect to harvest at your specific location through a solar site assessment.

Possible Applications of Residential Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Systems

Most everyone is familiar with residential solar panels and has seen them installed in some application from hand held calculators to home rooftops. Many people are less aware of the existence of thermal solar systems and how that application of solar technology can be employed for home use.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Home Solar Energy

In addition to making a positive environmental impact and statement, and potentially cutting your energy costs with a residential solar energy system, there are other mechanical and financial advantages and disadvantages involved in the decision of solar energy.

Top Reason To Consider Using A Residential Solar Energy System

The two primary reasons most often listed for installing a residential solar energy systems are environmental and economic, but most people’s considerations extend beyond these two talking points.

Cost of Home Solar Energy

Radiation from the sun is free of charge. However, harnessing the sun as a useful energy source costs money. The upfront investment in residential solar power is substantial. However, the investment in solar water heating usually only requires a modest investment.

Residential Solar Power or Saving Energy at Home?

Residential solar power versus saving energy at home; optimize the investment in your home energy bills saving – reap the lowest hanging fruit first.

Solar Energy: Thinking Outside the Panel

The sun provides Earth with energy for hours and hours each day, energy we can then use to power our homes, pump our water, heat our water, even cook our food. The power of solar energy can be utilized in many ways.

Solar Electricity Systems: Understanding Basic Configuration

As more homeowners embrace alternative energy sources like solar electricity systems, they find themselves in the position of learning basic concepts and vocabulary even if they hire a contractor to select the components and perform the installation. A good place to begin a basic understanding of home solar power is simply to know the difference between the three major types of systems in use.

Solar Powered Lights: Realistic Expectations

If considered as an adjunct to conventional lighting, solar powered lights can be appealing, useful, and a conversation starter to boot.

Solar Hot Water Heaters
Return of Investment in the Fast Lane

The installation of a solar hot water heater will dramatically reduce your domestic energy bill. After a payback period of a few years, the solar domestic water heater will provide you hot water free of charge for many years to come.

4 Must Have Home Solar Power Systems

These are the minimum requirements you’ll need to get started if you want to generate electricity using solar energy.

3 Best Ways to Use Solar Power for Homes

If you want to fire your electric company, or at the very least reduce your utility use and payments, you should consider using solar energy in these 3 ways.

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