There are many reasons to explore solar energy. It is free, renewable, clean, and reliable. Using the sun can reduce your heating and electric costs in your home and you may be eligible for state or federal tax credit incentives for installing renewable energy systems.

Most of us think of solar panels when we think of solar energy. To determine if your home could handle panels you need to evaluate the following factors. An unobstructed view of the southern sky is key. You will want to make sure there are no Home Owner’s Association restrictions. Also, each panel needs about 15 square feet, so there needs to be enough flat surface area for such.

When considering solar energy for your electricity you want to determine if you will be “grid tied” or “off grid.” Grid tied means you are still connected to your utility company and use their power when your system is not producing electricity, such as at night. A great benefit of most grid systems is net metering. Net metering means when you are using the utility company’s power your meter goes forward. BUT when your system creates excess energy, it goes to the power company and your meter spins backwards. Grid-tied is what most homes have and is the type eligible for tax credits. There is also off-grid which are not linked to the utility grid so your system is providing all the power needed in the home. This makes sense for houses in remote areas where access to power lines is limited.

To determine what size system to get you need to look at three basic things:

  • How much energy does your family use in kilowatt hours each month?
  • The number of peak hours of sun exposure your region gets.
  • How much of your power needs you want provided by solar.

Many websites have “calculators” you can use to determine what you need.

Solar energy systems are getting less expensive each year and provide a return on your dollar quickly and raise the value of your home. Something to consider in 2013!


...being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father.  Colossians 1:11

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