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Get the facts on going solar

Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Solar energy is gaining traction, particularly among homeowners who are realizing that the sun’s rays can be used to power to their homes, businesses and cars while benefitting both the planet and their bottom lines.

The Solar Energy Industries Association says that, with more than 135,000 installations in the first half of 2015, nearly 784,000 U.S. homes and businesses have now gone solar and a new solar project was installed every two minutes. There are now more than 22,700 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity operating in the United States, enough to power more than 4.6 million American homes. The government of Canada says wind power and solar photovoltaic energy are the fastest growing sources of electricity in Canada. Recognizing that solar energy has so many cost benefits and so much potential in protecting natural resources, more and more homeowners are investigating the idea of installing solar energy systems in their homes. The following are some things homeowners should consider as they ponder whether or not to install solar energy in their homes.

• Ideally, panels should face the southwest, but the direction of the panels isn’t as important as you might think. Panels can face various directions with acceptable results. Homeowners should not let the layout of their properties deter them from installing solar energy.

• The addition of solar panels should not adversely affect the assessment value of a home, nor increase property taxes. • According to SolarEnergy, a resource on residential solar products, there may be different “tiers” of usage that determine utility companies’ rates concerning energy. The top tier may be removed from the billing formula when solar power is used in conjunction with an electric energy provider. Speak with a utility company representative to learn more.

• Assess just how much energy you will need to determine which solar options will be available to you. In addition, make other changes around the house to reduce energy consumption, such as putting HVAC systems on timers, shutting off lights when leaving rooms, opening the drapes to let in more natural light, and replacing traditional light bulbs with more efficient alternatives.

Solar energy can be a viable option for homeowners looking to curtail costs and do their part to preserve the planet’s natural resources.