In The Beginning
Home power by way of photovoltaic cells is a big decision for a homeowner. And, like any big decision, it involves careful consideration. How much power does your home need? Will the system you choose meet your expectations and save you money? Will your installer back his guarantees? Here are a few steps to help you buy and install a home solar system.
1. Consider Your Energy Options. Where is your money best spent – insulation, a new solar water heater, energy efficient lighting, new appliances, or a panels solar cell? A home energy audit is your first step toward better energy independence. A trained, impartial auditor will let you know where you use the most power, what options you have for reducing your consumption and what costs are associated with each renovation.
2. Choose Your Installer. There are many different crews offering to retrofit your home power. Solar designers may come from engineering or architectural backgrounds. Solar installers are usually from an electrician’s background. You may also buy a Do-It-Yourself kit and try installing solar for free. If you’re hiring someone, be sure to get references and ask important questions such as: How much will the system save me annually? How long is the system expected to last? How much / how expensive is the routine maintenance?
3. Judge Your Cost Savings. When you judge the cost savings of solar for home use, it’s best to analyze the life cycle savings. Consider the cost of installing, using and maintaining your solar panel system over its entire lifetime. Which will cost you more in the long run – the electric water heater (that is inexpensive to install but expensive to run) or the solar water heater (that is expensive to install but inexpensive to run)? Solar contractors and independent energy consultants can help you determine the solar panels price and which system is best for your future.
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