Jun 27, 2008

Let the Texas Sun Shine with Solar Power

The folks a D Magazine point out this report from McKinsey research that predicts when it will be financially feasible enough to replace traditional fossil electricity in different parts of the world with solar power. We should see it here in Texas by 2020. Wouldn't it be nice if some tax credits made it viable sooner?
With rising energy prices and concerns about the environment, it’s no surprise that more people are already looking to harness the sun’s energy for use in their homes. Solar energy is no longer considered more expensive or solely for granola-loving environmentalists.
Thankfully, Solar is going mainstream and can increase your home's value. The most common home options are:
  • Photovoltaic (PV) solar roofs. PV roof panels can be installed instead of traditional roofing and they look different. They are sold in kilowatt increments at a cost of about $8 to $10 per watt. Eight to ten kilowatts should cover an average home’s energy requirements.
  • Solar shingles. Like PV systems, solar shingles collect light. They are designed to blend in better with the other roofs in your neighborhood.

You can decide to rely on solar power alone or go “off the grid” or a combination of both. If you go all-solar, you may need to supplement it with wind, hydro, or geothermal power for consistent energy. Or if we hit a rainy spell, you could just rely on normal electric power.

Another solar option for the home are solar water heaters. Learn more about the benefits of solar water heaters from the U.S. Department of Energy. Hawaii now requires all new homes to have solar water heaters (and they give solar rebates and tax credits).

According to Ideal Bite, just one hour of sunlight that hits the earth can provide more energy than everyone on the earth uses in an entire year.

To see if the sun's energy will work for you, visit Findsolar.com. They have formulas to help you find out what you can do with solar energy, what size of system you might need, and costs. Another great source is the Solar Living Institute.

Why not use the sun's power today? Recharge your cell phone, ipod, or camera with the Solio solar-powered charger. Soak up the sun this summer!
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