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Clean Power

Published on September 25th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor

5

Some Solar Power Considerations

September 25th, 2012 by  


Solar panels on home roof via Shutterstock

Many homeowners are frustrated with the high cost of electricity and are considering adding solar panels to their homes. Not only is sun-powered electricity much cheaper than commercial electricity in many locations, it is also a way to help combat the serious problem of climate change. If you’re just getting into this subject, though, there are a number of things to consider before adding photovoltaic solar panels to a residence:

Permits

Before investing in solar upgrades, it’s a good idea to check with the city or county where the home is located. Because electric work is involved, you may need to obtain construction permits for the installation. Even if the panels will be installed at ground level rather than on the roof, there may be some building code restrictions.

If the home is part of a community with a homeowners association, there may be covenants that prohibit installation. Check the association agreement or deed for any rules that apply.

Setup Choices

With improved technology, there are numerous options for adding solar power to a residence. Modern roof-mounted solar panels are thinner and more efficient than early models, so they are less noticeable. Solar shingles are also available in some areas — these both function as roof covers and generate power. Portable solar generators are mounted on wheels for ease of use. There are also permanent models that mount at ground level.

The Grid

Some homeowners may be reluctant to rely completely on solar power. It is possible to install solar panels and still remain connected to an electric utility, of course. In most localities, the electric company is required to credit the user’s account for any excess power generated.

A few locations have tax or other rebates as incentives for solar and other green energy upgrades. There are also federal tax credits available to help offset the costs of solar installation. Several states also offer tax credits, grants, and low-interest loans for solar panels.

Solar power is a good choice for homeowners who live in rural or isolated areas. It is possible to install storage batteries and live completely off the grid. Installing a solar power system can be much cheaper than paying to have electric lines run to an isolated location.

With free electric power from the sun, it is possible to enjoy the advantages of reliable electricity without the ongoing cost of monthly electricity bills.

About The Author: Nancy Evans is a freelance writer who is normally writing on the topics of home improvement, going green, and decorating homes on a budget. Nancy’s normal writing topics are things like how to use websites like RockyMountainDecor.com to make your house a home, how to save money on holiday decorations, and how to make your home a “greenhouse.”


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