Solar Power Systems

Solar power systems have experienced a surge in popularity because of the rising cost of conventional energy sources. By adding a solar energy system to your home, you can recoup your investment over a few years and continue to save money on utility bills for the life of your system.

For many households, the lion's share of the electric utility expense is used in heating the house in the winter and cooling the house during summer months. If you live in the northern climates with intensely cold winters, heating bills during the winter can be astronomical for a home that is only mid-sized. In the Deep South, the greatest expense is often from cooling the house during the hot, humid spring, summer and fall months. Solar power systems lower these expenses and even help in the cost of hot water generation and cooking.

Perhaps the simplest solar power system to install is a solar hot water heater that can produce some or all of the household needs. In most households, however, this is a small share of the utility expense compared to heating and cooling. Simply solar hot water heating systems can be built in a weekend and installed by a good handy person with tools that are probably already around the house.

To turn the focus on to production of solar electricity, however, is a bit more complex. Solar power systems that collect the sun's solar rays require a roof-top solar collector panel or panels. In most cases where a good share of the home's electric power is to be generated by the sun, several collectors are often required. These can be purchased or home-built using designs purchased from online sources or found in the local library. The engineering is reasonably simple and construction is not that difficult.

The challenging part of solar power systems for home electrical use is the fact that the power generated must be stored and discharged to appliances inside the home at the correct voltage and amperage. The storage system is usually created from batteries, not unlike those used in vehicles. This holds the electric power until called upon for use. Voltage regulators control the amount of voltage sent to the appliances through the household wiring.

It can be cost effective to contact a local contractor to design and install your solar power system for home electricity. Because a system that is not properly installed will not pass inspection by local officials and has the potential to cause a fire, this is a job for a skilled person that is well versed in the engineering involved in home electrical systems.

This doesn't mean that you can't buy and install or build and install your own solar collection devices for the roof-top. This can greatly reduce the cost of having solar power systems implemented in households. However, keep in mind that contractors frequently provide guarantees and warranties if they install the entire system but your protection from these warranties and guarantees may be reduced if you provide or install some of the system yourself. Balance the money you can save with the benefits of having full warranty protection before you decided which the right path is for you and your particular situation and skill level.

To ensure that you get the most savings from your use of the sun's power to provide for your home's needs, you should check the insulation of your house and, if needed, increase or improve the insulating material. Loss of heat and cooling through poorly sealed windows and doors and un-insulated attics can add large sums to the cost of keeping a home comfortable. Once your solar power is operational, you'll get the most savings and recoup your investment at the fastest pace possible.

About the Author: Anita van Wyk strives to make make more people aware of the benefits of using solar energy through her website

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