Solar Powered Home

by Adrian Fletcher

Solar power for homes has truly come a very long way since the early, boxy design of solar panels that most of us have seen. Great advances have been made with respect to solar cell construction which allow a variety of building materials be made with the solar cells incorporated into the design, thus effectively making them almost undetectable.

There are two ways that solar power for homes is supplied. These are off-grid on grid or net metering. A stand alone solar power system acts as the sole source of electricity for your home and is off the grid as such. Alternatively, supplemental solar power systems, can supply all of your homes energy depending on sunlight availability. When sunlight is available, your home can use energy from the power grid.

Standalone solar power systems 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 have to install a storage system, but it does have its advantages as it will help to further lower your monthly bill, it will make power available to you during a power outage.

Augmenting or altogether replacing your power requirements with solar power for homes has never been simpler or more cost-effective than it is right now. There are new building materials include roofing material, car port roofing, awnings, even the edges of your window-panes that contain solar cells. These types of solar panels are known as Building Integrated Photovoltaics. The application of the roofing materials only serves as solar panels, they also provide for the same degree of protection as regular asphalt shingles.

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 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.

Aside from reducing your home’s environmental impact, perhaps one of the greenest returns you will see will be in your bill which you can reduce or eliminate through the use of solar power for homes. Most utility companies even have a metering program that enables you to sell the excess power generated by your solar power system to the utility company, now how’s that for green! Net metering is a good idea in terms of environmental impact because it gives individuals an incentive to sell their electricity to the power companies which can then be sold to other users. This can reduce the power companies reliance on fossil fuels that are thought to cause many of the environmental problems we currently face.

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