If you were on Jeopardy, and the answer was “install a PV system” what would be the question you would reply with? I love the possibilities here. One question could be ‘what is a way to lower your electric bill?’. Another might be ‘what’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint?’ My favorite is ‘what are ways to improve the value of your home, save money and the earth?’. For the blog today, however we’re going to stick with ways to incorporate solar energy in your everyday living. Going green, it’s a buzz word I know, but it fits here. Homeowners have options when it comes to turning the sun’s energy into electricity. The most obvious is installing a PV system. A solar power system uses photovoltaic (PV) panels to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. The panels contain dozens of solar cells which absorb sunlight, causing a phenomenon referred to as the “photoelectric effect.” This effect forms electric current that the panels capture in a circuit and then distribute to the home’s electrical system. A well-engineered PV system in a location with good sunlight resources on the roof can potentially provide a large portion of the electricity required to power an energy-efficient home. In some cases, it can generate a surplus of electricity during daylight hours. This extra electricity might be sold to a utility and delivered through the electric grid to other customers in an approach called “net metering.”
Another great way to incorporate solar into your home would be to install a solar thermal system. These systems are used to heat water in your home. Solar thermal systems can also be used to provide hot liquid for radiant space heating, which can be distributed by panels on ceilings or walls, or by an in-floor tube system. Solar water heating systems incorporate solar collectors that absorb heat from the sun. These collectors are generally mounted outside on a roof or sun-facing side of a building. Solar thermal systems also utilize a storage tank for holding the heated water before it is used in the home. This tank can be placed outside or inside the residence as appropriate for local zoning restrictions and aesthetic considerations.
Both systems are easily installed and maintained. They are the new ‘granite countertop’ in of new construction and a great update to an older home or remodel. As solar is becoming more main stream the cost is coming down. Solar energy systems are quickly becoming the microwave, flat screen or mini-van of the new millennium. As solar is taking over roof-tops on both the east and west coast, the mid-west is not far behind. The federal and local governments are supplementing funding for green consumers. The SREC systems are in place and funded, the bidding starts in June and we’re ready to help. So as Memorial Day approaches and your getting ready to weed the garden and spruce up the outside, remember the sun has never looked so good! While your planting and mowing you could very well be saving….