Why should you be considering using solar power? What are the benefits for you or for the environment?

The first reason to go with solar power is that you take control of your utility bills. You pay upfront for the installation, but after that you have virtually free power from the sun for the life of the installation, at least 20 years. If you decide to install a conventional system with battery storage, you establish independence from power interruptions, such as the ice storms which were prevalent in the Mid-West in 2007.

Photo: freedigitalphotos.net by Pixomar

Photo: freedigitalphotos.net by Pixomar

On the other hand, if you take advantage of the law passed in 2005, referred to as the net metering law, you can save the cost of batteries and put spare power back into the utility network, which you can use later when you need it. This means that the utility company becomes your storage facility with no extra capital cost to you!

You will also find that there is some assistance available to help you buy the installation. Programs vary from time-to-time, but the government is interested in increasing the number of solar power installations, and will provide funding at some level. This benefits you in reducing the initial cost.

On the environmental front, the use of solar power for electricity reduces the amount of pollution that generating plants have to produce. This is, of course, a topic of current interest, with the widespread belief that fossil fuel use is contributing to global warming and the demise of the planet. The wonderful thing about solar power is that it is a renewable energy source, and will be available for ever, for all practical (human) purposes, unlike oil or coal which become increasingly used up with each passing year.

Apart from the obvious use of solar power to provide a home’s electricity using photovoltaic cells, there are other benefits to be found from a developing awareness of other uses of the sun’s energy. If you are building a new house, you can adjust the orientation and amount of windows on each side to benefit from the sun. If you have an existing house, you may still be able to capture heat by adding a greenhouse or conservatory, and this will also reduce the heat lost during nighttime.

It’s easy to overlook the benefits from other solar uses too. For instance, by paying a little more for outside lighting, and buying solar lights, you not only save on electricity use, but also save on the job of wiring them into the house circuits. Adopting a fresh awareness to the possibilities can result in discovering more benefits like these.

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