From Dean Dowd on May 29, 2009 in Green Remodeling
These days home improvement has taken on a sunnier disposition. The scalability of solar power is so diverse that its applications range from the smallest of keychains to the largest of photovoltaic arrays. No longer is solar energy some esoteric field of science relegated to researchers and idiosyncratic millionaires. While solar electric power has been around for many years, in just the last decade it has traversed from the space station to the corner store. Following are some examples of the many solar products now available for the home:
Solar Garden Lights
Photo credit: Solar Cynergy
Solar lighting has had a profound effect on home landscaping. Flood lighting used to require a lot of digging, cable laying, and plain hard work. Nowadays, thanks to solar power, you need only stake the light in the ground and let the sun do its electrifying work. Not only that, solar garden lights are cheap, coming in under 10 dollars per light.
Solar Water Heaters
Significantly cheaper than their photovoltaic counterparts, solar hot water systems are an increasingly affordable product. With water heating second only to space heating in terms of utility costs for the average home, these systems are incredibly advantageous. They cost anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000 depending on the system, but are eligible for federal and state tax incentives and immediately start saving money. Solar water heaters are now Energy Star rated as well.
Solar attic fans are another beneficial application for many homes. They are wireless and therefore easy for most homeowners to install. They keep the attic ventilated, which saves money on home heating and air conditioning costs and they save further because they require no grid power to operate.
Photo credit: Greenlaunches.com
Photo credit: Horizon Energy Systems
The big kahuna of solar energy. Residential solar photovoltaic systems can provide 100% of your home electricity needs. You can even sell excess power produced back to the utility via net metering. Solar electric systems are also the most expensive solar application, but they’re growing cheaper by the minute, and eventually they’ll pay for themselves in savings.
Solar ovens can be a fun family DIY project or you can buy one from a manufacturer. Not only are they providing warm and healthy food for millions in the developing world but they promise to permanently change our ideas about the afternoon barbeque.