Home Solar Power

Big and Small Home Solar Energy Systems

It's exciting to think about how many ways home solar power can be incorporated into your home and lifestyle! A home solar energy system can power your whole house or can help you operate on a smaller scale.

There are numerous opportunities to take the power of the sun and use it to operate appliances, lights, and so much more in your home.

Let's take a look at some fun ways to bring solar into your living space.

Homemade Solar Power

Are you an innovative, creative, or mechanically inclined person? Making your own solar panels might be a viable option for you. It's really not difficult and building solar panels from scratch can actually save you money.

It's a good idea to invest a small amount of your DIY budget into a manual or solar panel building instructions that show you step by step how to put the panels together and how to connect them properly.

There are several good online resources for DIY home solar power panel instructions. I recommend the Green DIY Solar manual which is the most complete and up to date.

There are two types of solar cells – the polycrystalline or monocrystalline cell. The first type of solar cell requires less money to buy and build, but it also creates less power than the monocrystalline solar cell.

The monocrystalline cell will cost you more up front, but it is capable of producing the most power and it's more durable than the polycrystalline solar cell.

It only takes a few weekends to build several solar panels, so you could be enjoying free energy in your home in a very short time!

Home Solar Power Panels – How Many Do You Need?

One of the first questions that might come to mind if you're considering solar for your home is the number of solar panels that will be required to power your home.

First, you need to know how much power you use in your home in a given day or month. This number will help you figure out how large your panels need to be and how many will be needed to power your home.

You'll also need to take your home's location into account. How much direct sunlight does your house receive on an average sunny day?

Figure out also how you can lower your energy consumption inside the house. For example, switch out your incandescent bulbs for fluorescent light bulbs. Invest in a laptop computer rather than powering a desktop computer.

Energy Star rated appliances use less energy than traditional appliances. Doing these small things will save you money on your solar panels because you won't require as much energy, therefore you'll require fewer square inches of solar panel.

The number you're looking at is the number of watts needed to power things like your refrigerator, water heater, washing machine, dryer, electronic devices, and lights.

Once you have this number in hand, you'll need to find out how much power each solar panel generates and then figure out from there how many square inches of panel your home will require. From there you can figure out how much it would cost to build the solar panels yourself or to purchase them in a kit.

Solar Power Home Kit

For those of us who aren't so inclined to take on a DIY project like building solar panels, there are solar power kits you can purchase that contain everything you need to put together your home solar power system.

We should note here that some solar home kits are designed to provide only supplemental power to your home; they're not a primary source of energy. You'll still need to use electricity or some other source of power in addition to these kits.

Advantages of a Home Solar Power Kit

  • Supplemental source of power for your home in the case of a power outage

  • Save money on your monthly energy bills

  • Increase the overall value of your home

  • Gives you the opportunity to utilize the power of the sun

Disadvantages of Solar Home Kits

They can be somewhat expensive if you require a large number of panels

Adding solar panels to your roof could void your roof warranty – check with your insurance company

You must purchase backup batteries, wiring, and other components of a home solar power system separately

What can you expect to pay for a kit? The amount of wattage produced determines the cost of your kit. A kit that generates 10 watts of power could be as low as $99 whereas a kit that generates 60 watts of power can run up to $1,400.

Home Solar Energy Systems

How can you use solar energy in your home? It can be used on a large scale to power appliances like refrigerators, air conditioning units, and water heaters.

Solar energy can also be used in a number of smaller ways too and still make a real difference in your monthly energy costs.

Ways to Use Solar at Home

  • Solar outdoor lighting – add ambiance and beauty to your gardens, deck, walkways, driveway, and overall curb appeal

  • Solar ovens – great for keeping your home cooler in the summer by cooking outside

  • Use solar energy to filter the water in your swimming pool and keep the water warm into the cooler months of the year

  • Solar powered water pumps

  • Solar furnaces

  • Solar attic fans

  • Solar bird baths

  • Solar fountains

  • Solar refrigerator

  • Solar battery chargers – charge your iPod, laptop, cell phone, camera, and more!

Home solar power is truly the wave of the future when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and helping the environment. It's the energy source of both current and future generations!

The good news is that solar energy is becoming more affordable and available to even the most frugal homeowners; it's not simply reserved for the wealthy any longer. There are a lot of ways you can lower your costs, some of which may not be obvious. Learn more at our Cheap Solar Panels section.

There is also a lot of valuable information on solar energy available today from several sources: online websites, green organizations, and individual blogs.

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