Are Solar Panels Right For Your Home?

More Americans are becoming ecologically conscious than ever before. As a result of this new consciousness, individuals and families are looking for new ways to cut back on energy consumption and lead more eco-friendly lifestyles. Solar panels for homes are nothing new, but today's technological improvements make them worth another look. Are solar panels right for your home? Here's a little more about modern solar panels.

When the concept of converting solar energy into usable power in homes became a reality 30-some years ago, the panels on house roofs were huge and cumbersome. Most people associated solar-powered homes with remote cabins whose residents didn't have access to a communal electrical grid and needed alternative methods to get electricity. Solar panels were only for the few nature lovers who were radical in resisting the improvements of modern society.

Well, those days are long gone. We now know that being ecologically conscious is the responsibility of every good citizen of the world, and each of us should make a real effort to make a difference when we can. Using solar energy in our homes is a great way to make a real impact on our environment.

Modern technology has allowed manufacturers of home solar panels to drastically reduce the surface area of the panels (called an "array" when grouped), and still get the same or better energy benefits. Unlike the older arrays which were awkwardly positioned on roofs, new ones lie practically flush with the surface of the roof and can be made to blend in as much as possible with the house's shingles. Yes, these arrays are still noticeable, but not nearly as much as they used to be.

Most solar panel systems produce enough energy to power an average home, including electrical lights, appliances, and toys. They can also keep them hot and cool, but their efficiency depends greatly on the location of the arrays.

Homes that operate at optimum efficiency in America are those that get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day in states where the sun is strongest, such as in the west. However, there is an option for those who live in the east or for those who may not get as much direct sun: combining solar energy with standard supply electrical power. In fact, most homes that use solar panels use this method and still save a lot of energy and cut down substantially on their power bills.

In other words, any home can use some degree of solar power! How much or how little depends on individual circumstance.

Installing a system of solar arrays is not cheap, but the long-term benefits are many. Some states, such as New York, offer substantial discounts in the form of tax breaks and rebates to encourage more homeowners to go solar.

Today's energy conscious homeowner can go a long way toward cutting down on energy consumption and finding ways to power up without as much effect on the environment: solar panels are a great place to start.


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