Now is the time to try solar power.
If you've got the money and the desire to go green, now is the time to start thinking about making solar energy improvements.
The price of solar panels has gone down in recent years, and there are tons of incentives, from the federal government and the states for going green.
Some solar panels are going for as low as $2 per watt, double that for the normal range. Corporate projects with massive solar projects can even get $1 per watt.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory more energy from the sun falls on the Earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year.
Here are some cheap ways to use some of that sunshine for your benefit.
A bank of windows on your south-facing wall will help warm your home with the sun as the day gets colder. Have a house with a row of windows near the peak of the great room? You don't have to turn on the power because the light from the windows is bright enough.
Install a tubular daylighting device. Here is how a tubular daylighting device works: A reflective system located inside a rooftop dome collects and redirects light down a highly reflective tube to a diffuser at ceiling level. This system of light collection and redirection allows the daylighting device to provide exceptional illumination even on cloudy days and in the early morning, late afternoon and winter months when the sun is low on the horizon.
Build a trombe wall. It is built thickly of heat absorbing materials that redistribute the heat to the rest of the home. Some are going for just under $2,000.
How about a sun space? It's like having a greenhouse in your own home. However, it's a little more pricy because it might require some construction.
How about the solar panels that most people are familiar with?
Solar photovoltaic systems convert the sun's energy into electricity. It won't give you enough juice for your dryer. But it saves enough so that your meter bill might just take on a credit balance.
What about looking good?
Solar panels might not look very pretty but there are some alternatives, however, less efficient. Some companies are working on building the solar panels right into the house. We will have to wait and see if that gives going green a little more beauty.
What should I do before I go green with solar?
Research: know what is out there and understand how solar energy works.
Get a site assessment: Make sure your home is in a good place for the use of solar energy.
Think about the money: Get estimates. Factor in any incentives. Estimate savings.