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Using Solar Power for Homes

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 173

You may have seen a house or two with those gigantic solar panels on their roofs. The thought of "sticking it to the man" by generating your own power may have crossed your mind a time or two, especially in this economic recession. Before you make any big, expensive decisions, be sure to do your research.

The first thing you should do is to check with your homeowner's association and make sure they would be okay with you putting huge solar panels on your roof. Some homeowner's associations have strict rules about making any kinds of upgrades or adjustments to the outside of your home because of how it looks compared to the rest of the neighborhood. If you choose to disregard your neighborhood's rules, you may get slapped with a hefty fine, so make sure this is the first step you take before doing anything drastic.

Next, look into the weather where you live. You will need to calculate average rainfall and solar days as well as other specific details so you know how much power you have to work with. If you do not know where you will be living, you must wait before researching solar power further, because this is the crux of the whole plan.

Now you will need to calculate how much power your home currently uses on average. The reason you do this first instead of looking at the cost of solar panels is because you need to know how many panels you will need to purchase. Knowing how much solar power you need will give you a more accurate cost of the upgrade. You should consider the fact that solar electricity as a general rule is going to be expensive at first, so if you currently use electric appliances, see if you can make the switch to gas appliances to lower the cost for you.

Solar electricity can power things like your lights, computers, washer, fridge, and so on. To get an approximation of what that will cost you, assume that the average use is about 600 watts. Then you would multiply 600 watts by the number of hours in a day to get your average watt-hours per day.

Using the estimate that one solar panel produces about 70 milliwatts for every square inch times 5 hours, you get 350 milliwatt hours a day. This means you would need about 41,000 square inches of solar panels for your house. That can come out to be approximately $16,000, which is a huge immediate investment. This is not even including the fact that the sun is only out a certain amount of hours a day, as well as the fact that you will have rainy, overcast days. Because of this, your cost of installation may double because you will also need to buy an inverter and a battery bank, as well as other items to compensate for the sunless times.

The thing to remember is that it does not cost much to buy power from the grid like you are doing right now. The only thing that comes from installing solar panels is that you will have a green home and you can say that you are self-sustaining when it comes to power. You would have to lower your power consumption if you wanted to bring solar energy into the realm of possibility, and even then, you still might as well just buy it from the local power company because it will be cheaper.

MaryLou WalstonHomeowners Insurance Rate Find Me on Facebook

Source: EzineArticles
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