Exciting ways to use solar power in your home

Solar power technology is getting more powerful and affordable each year, and for homeowners, this presents a number of exiting possibilities. As a form of green energy, this is a quick way to lower your family's carbon footprint and environmental impact. Likewise, because solar energy is so freely available, you can greatly reduce your monthly utility bills. 

There are many options when it comes to installing solar panels on your home. You may opt for a smaller set up to tackle a specific need around the house or invest in a larger system for greater capacity. Check out some of the ways people around the country are using solar power to meet their energy needs:

Powering your entire home
Some states around the country offer enticing tax credits and other benefits that make it easy for families to afford several solar panels. This makes it possible for your home to capture the most amount of energy. This can be used for your household electricity needs, heating needs and other activities. Solar panels require sunlight, not heat, so you can still generate plenty of energy in the winter.

On the sunniest days of the year, you may notice your meter actually running backwards. This is because your home solar panels can generate so much electricity that extra energy is actually sent out into the grid to power your neighbors' homes. This, coupled with government subsidies, makes it easy for homeowners to get a return on investment when considering solar panels. 

Opting for rooftop solar gives your home the ability to generate its own electricity.Opting for rooftop solar gives your home the ability to generate its own electricity.

Boosting an electric car
An electric vehicle is an excellent way to reduce the amount of CO2 and other pollutants you produce, but if you are charging your car with traditional fossil fuels, you can still have a considerable carbon footprint. Installing solar panels on your home or garage is a way to boost the environmental benefits of an electric car and lower costs at the same time. 

According to Revision Energy, a mid-level charging station can charge your electric car's battery in as little as four hours. Once the system is in place, you can eliminate paying for gasoline altogether, and it takes just two years to cover the costs of your solar panels. Over the course of 20 years, the cost savings associated with an electric vehicle are the equivalent of paying $0.32 per gallon of gas.

Upgrading your water heating system
Even a modest solar installation can make a positive impact on your monthly utility bills. For example, you may be able to provide energy directly to your water heater system without sacrificing your morning shower. If you opt for an electric tankless water heater, you can make this system even more efficient and still enjoy endless hot water. This is true even in the case of a power outage or blackout.

Even a small solar panel set-up can be valuable to homeowners.Even a small solar panel set-up can be valuable to homeowners.

Making an A/C system more efficient
Alt Energy Magazine found that solar powered fans in your attic can be a great benefit to your air conditioning system. Because heat rises, stuffy, poorly ventilated attics can negatively affect your home's temperature and make your air conditioning system work harder. With a solar powered fan, however, you can easily ensure that air flows cleanly through your home without using more electricity. 

Setting up outdoor lighting
Even small ways to reduce the amount of electricity you use from traditional sources can have a positive environmental impact. For homeowners who may not have the option to install larger solar panel systems, there are affordable options when it comes to outdoor lighting. These work with existing fixtures, and make it possible to illuminate an outdoor area without worrying about extension cords or inflated utility bills.

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