Sustainable efforts are becoming increasingly important around the world, and as they do, plenty of big businesses and well-known brands are investing in opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, many private households are taking a closer look at what it would mean to not only help save the environment but also save some money by considering energy sources that were once only futuristic ideas of dreamers. However, advancements in technology have made switching to a sustainable energy option practical and affordable. One option, solar energy, is making a strong push into society, and more and more people are harvesting the natural energy of the sun to power their homes. If you’re considering solar panels, starting with three easy steps can aid in making the switch less daunting.
1. Examine Your Home
The first step in determining whether or not you can move to solar energy is performing an informal self-audit of your home and your surrounding property. First, since most solar panels are placed on the roof of a home, you will want to look there first. How old is the roof? Will it need replacing soon? You most likely will not want to place solar panels on a roof that will need replacing soon or you will virtually be installing the panels twice. Similarly, you should check the pitch (the angle) of the roof. Solar panels typically work well on roofs that have between a 15 and 40 degree pitch; if you are not sure of the angle of your roof, you can contact local city offices to see if they have blueprints on file from when your home was originally built or enlist the services of a contractor. Finally, make sure that enough of your roof is open to the sun. Facing south allows the panels to collect the most sunlight during the day, and a lack of trees and buildings helps ensure there aren’t any obstructions blocking the sun from hitting the panels.
2. Contact a Solar Provider
After you have evaluated your location, the next step is to start contacting solar providers to gather estimates for how many solar panels you need to power a house and how much they will cost. How many panels you need will be dictated by your expected energy output. Solar providers are becoming more common, but there is a potential risk to incur a high mark-up for installation. Consider using social media platforms to ask for recommendations and search for companies that offer free estimates. Keep in mind that just because you ask a provider for an estimate, you are not obligated to work with them. As a consumer, you are in control and have the power to 'shop-around' to find the best fit for you. When you do connect with an expert, take advantage of their professional knowledge by asking lots of questions, recording information and following-up again later if needed.
3. Start Saving
As with many significant home innovation projects, adding solar panels to your home will require a considerable investment. Once you have completed the research and made the determination that you do indeed want to move to renewable sun energy, it would be wise to start saving. Just as you would save money for other significant purchases - a car, a home - investing in a renewable energy source can help make the switch less burdensome and allow you to feel as though you are actually reaping the rewards of savings you'll earn from switching to solar in the first place. You may also want to research what types of incentives are available to you. Check with your local energy company as well as the internet to determine if your project is eligible for specialized loans, grants or tax credits.
Moving from electrical or gas powered energy to renewable solar energy can definitely feel like a daunting task; however, taking the time to examine your property, connect with professionals and save money beforehand can take some of the guesswork out of what used to be an improbable idea that seemed reserved for the wealthy and futuristic.