The 21st century promises to hold many new possibilities and briefly into the new millennium, we’ve already hit a few obstacles. The “conflict” in Afghanistan & Iraq, our current economic “meltdown”, and the ever rising energy crisis are the big ones on everybody’s mind. But while we may not be able to do much to influence the first two problems, we can do much to combat our energy needs.
Just a few short years ago when residential solar power started drawing the attention of the main public; there were concerns about the cost in justifying their effectiveness. Estimates put a residential solar power system in the range of $ 20,000 to $ 60,000 and even with government backed incentives; the cost was just too high. The average time it would take to recoup the cost was stated to be at least 10-15 years.
However, the cost of living continues to go up and we can’t afford to keep paying out forever. There is no better time now than to reconsider installing your own residential solar (or renewable energy) system. The increase in awareness has been driving demand for alternative energy sources and as a result, the renewable energy industry is now one of the fastest growing industries in the world. What that means to you is a system that is much more affordable than it was 3 or 4 years ago.
The internet has given birth to (among many other things) online guides, videos, and e-books all on renewable energy and DIY instructions. Most are free (some aren’t) information posted by renewable energy enthusiasts looking to create awareness by making the information free. However, not everyone is equipped to teach others so not every video or guide tells you everything.
If you truly are serious about installing a solar power system, then you need to do your research properly.
1. Be honest. How skilled are you at building and installing things? This is very important as it would affect the quality and efficiency of your work and in a worst case scenario, cause injury to yourself and/or others.
2. Is the information you are working from easy to understand and informative? Does it provide enough information to answer all of your questions and concerns? Can you get feedback and support from the author of the information? Again, this ties in directly to how well your solar power system will function.
3. What is the total cost of building and installing your own solar power system? DIY kits cost significantly less than professionally built systems but will they function at the same efficiency level? Costs also include things you don’t normally think about like whether you need permits to install such a system. Some municipalities may have restrictions depending on your area.
On the other hand, if you decide the only heavy lifting you want to do involve your wallet, that’s not a problem either, as long as you do your due diligence and shop around. You want to find a reputable company who offers residential energy systems. The phone book’s a little old school but it saves you the trouble of wandering aimlessly on the internet. Pick out a couple of companies you want to work with. Once you do that, then the real homework begins.
After choosing several companies, get to know them. Research them and see if you can find out what projects they’ve done. Are they knowledgeable and professional? If you find a company that can’t be bothered to answer your questions or treat you right, then move on. Once you have narrowed your choices to 3 or 4, get them to do a quote and consult with them. Then all that remains is to decide who you want to go with.
Whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you, installing a renewable energy system for your home is a big step and the important thing is to take the time to make a well informed decision. If there are folks in your neighbourhood who have already gone green, see if you can get some tips and ideas from them. Research is key so good luck on that.
For more information about renewable energy systems and energy efficiency tips, click here.