More Residents are Choosing Solar
Ben Kunz, a resident in Cheshire, Connecticut, wanted to do “the green thing” and save on his electric bill without paying a lot of money up front. So instead of buying a solar system for his house, he leased one.
“I thought it was a pretty good deal,” he said. “I lean a little environmentalist, so I’m concerned about global warming.”
An increasing numbers of United States homeowners are relying on the sun to meet much of their electricity needs. In fact, residential electricity produced by solar in the first quarter of 2013 was almost 10 times higher than that generated in 2008, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Consider this: “The amount of solar energy falling on the United States in one hour of noontime summer sun is about equal to the annual U.S. electricity demand,” the Energy Department says in its SunShot Vision Study.
“Saving money and being energy efficient rank really high with consumers today,” said Kit Selzer, a senior editor at Better Homes and Gardens.
A Gallup poll in March found that 76 percent of Americans thought the country should put more emphasis on producing domestic energy from solar power.
So what’s stopping more folks from going solar?
“We found that a lot of people were afraid to go solar because they were too afraid of what they didn’t know,” said Ketch Ryan, who had a solar energy system installed in her Chevy Chase, Md., house several years ago.
To help neighbors, Ryan and Kirk Renaud founded a cooperative, Common Cents Solar, “to make sure we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can do it together, and we can do it more efficiently.”
The first thing is to get your roof assessed to see whether it’s viable for solar. The roof’s condition, material and angle are among the considerations.
One misconception is that you need a south-facing roof. While a south-facings roof is optimal, solar panels can be utilized on roofs facing east and west as well. As long as there is sunshine, power can be harnessed.