Residential Solar Power Solutions

by Adrian Fletcher

Solar power for the home has made great strides since its early beginnings. Technological advancements have allowed commercially available building materials to incorporate solar cells, which turns them into solar panels that are virtually invisible to the naked eye.

Solar power for homes is supplied through one of two systems. The is a stand alone solar power system that functions as your sole source of electricity. This is often known as an off grid system. The other type is a supplemental solar power system which can supply all of your home’s electricity depending on sunlight availability, and can utilize the power company grid when solar power is not available which is still on grid as such.

Standalone solar power systems and supplemental systems for the generation of solar power for homes contain the same fundamental parts. At the outset are the photovoltaic panels, generally referred to as PV or solar panels, which are equipped with a solar cell or semiconductor that transforms the sun’s rays into electricity. The electricity then is routed to a regulator/controller which maintains the electric current at the voltage/amperage level the system is made for. Electricity then is routed into your home’s electrical system or else into a battery array or a storage system which will keep the solar power ready for when the sun sets.

If your home is connected to a power company grid you do not have to install a storage system, but it does have its advantages as it will help to further lower your monthly bill, and it will make power available to you a power outage.

Supplementing or replacing your electricity needs with solar power for homes is becoming easier and more affordable than ever. Some building materials include roofing material, awnings, car port roofing and the edges of the panes in your windows. This type of solar panel is called Building Integrated Photovoltaics. When used in roofing material these panels offer the same level of home protection as asphalt shingles while functioning as a solar panel.

One of the largest setbacks to adding or converting your home to solar power has always been the initial cost, there are however a growing number of ways to combat that cost. There are grants available on both the state and federal level to help offset a large portion of using solar power for homes. While the federal rebate may change from year to year, individual state rebates vary from state to state, with some states offering special low interest financing as an added green incentive to rebates.

Any green project will reduce the environmental impact your home has on our world. However, the greatest pay off will be a reduced or even eliminated bill each month. Quite a few utility companies have a metering program under which you can sell excess power generated from your home solar power system to the local utility company, in effect making your run backwards. This helps more than just you. The excess electricity can be used by other customers of the power company and can reduce the reliance on fossil fuels that power companies currently use.

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