Home solar power can:
- Help you control your monthly utility costs
- Protect you from future utility cost rises
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Help combat climate change and preserve the environment
1. Do you live in a sunny area? Just about 50% of the United States receives moderate exposure to the sun. This includes the Northeast, Midwest, and upper Northwest. These areas, while not ideal, have pretty good exposure to the sun’s rays during the spring, summer and fall. And the solar technology is getting better and better at producing energy on cloudy and semi-cloudy days.
The rest of the US is great for solar power. These areas include Florida, California, Texas, the Southeast, the desert Southwest. These areas have very few cloudy days and the southern latitudes mean the sun is higher in the sky and therefore more exposure to the sun.
2. Do you have an area with good southern exposure and minimal shading? Most people think of solar and immediately think of glass panels mounted on a roof. There is a good reason for that as this is the area that usually has the most sun exposure and the least opportunity for shading. The area should have great southern exposure with few obstacles. If there is an area on the ground that suits this purpose, there are plenty of mounting options for the ground.
3. Which direction does sunlight hit your house or building? Sun from the south is best, sun from the north is worst. Sun from the south-west and south-east will do the job, just less efficiently than direct south.
4. What is the cost? On average systems cost between $3.50-6.50/watt, or roughly $5,000/kilowatt depending on the specific panels used, installation types, multiple roof planes, labor charges, etc. Solar is an investment on the scale of a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Unlike these improvement solar will pay for it self in several ways – saving energy, buffering against energy price increases, increasing the value of your home and ensuring a guaranteed rate of return on the initial investment.