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How to Determine if Renewable Energy is Right for You

It doesn’t take long for any homeowner to start wondering why they’re paying so much for utilities when the sun’s energy is free. If you’re sick of cringing at your electric bills and have been considering something more renewable, it’s time to upgrade to solar energy!

Harnessing and using power from the sun or wind is much easier than most people assume. With renewable energy products ranging from handheld, portable receptors to full rooftop systems, there are a ton of ways to add some sustainable power sources to your home.

Review your energy needs

The first step in deciding what to change is to assess your energy usage. Doing a basic home energy audit and reviewing your previous electric bills can help you figure out how much power you’ll need from any renewable upgrades. Consider any other changes you might make in the near future (like buying an electric car that needs charging) that could increase your electric usage.

Identify your financial goals

Adding renewable energy sources to your home can be a great way to reduce (or even eliminate) your utility bills. Some regions have also implemented tax incentives and grants for residents to power their homes with solar or wind energy. The amount you’ll save depends on several factors, including climate, power usage, local electricity rates, and size of your renewable energy upgrades.

Calculate how much you can potentially save by analyzing these factors and using some basic energy data. The average U.S. household uses 909 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per month. A typical residential solar setup generates between 350-850 kWh per month, reducing electric bills by up to 90%. Regions with consistent sun or wind access can shrink their bills the most.

... Warm climates with long, sunny days are perfect for switching to solar.

Be sure to factor in estimated costs for purchasing and installing the energy sources. It’s often assumed that upgrading to solar or wind energy is always a large upfront investment, but it completely depends on the type of changes you’re making. Installing solar panels on your entire roof will cost more than adding some portable solar lighting sets to your deck.

Determine the solar location(s) and type(s)

Putting solar panels on a roof has completely different requirements than adding a wind turbine to your yard. It’s crucial that the location(s) you choose can support the solar or wind power upgrades. An older roof, for example, isn’t ideal for adding solar panels or wind turbines. (The best time to add renewable energy sources is when you’re already working on the roof!) Solar providers and roofing experts can help assess the options for your property.

... There's a wide variety of solar panels, with some customized for one device or light.

Solar panels can be installed on rooftops, lawns, and other spots on your house to power almost anything in your household. They work best on south-facing areas that aren’t blocked by trees, buildings, or other shaded spots. If they’re going on your roof, make sure the slope is between 15-40°.

Small portable solar sets can power common household devices and systems, like exterior lighting and generators. These come with customized solar panels that can be set up wherever the appliance is. There are a variety of options for driveway lamps, security systems, shed/shop lighting, pool/landscape lighting, generators, and other portable chargers.

Wind turbines are another popular option for powering air conditioning and heating systems, lights, water heaters, and appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers. If you have a flat, open area of land without wind obstructions, a pole mounted wind turbine is a good choice. Building mounted wind turbines are better for smaller spots as they’re usually installed on roofs.

... Freestanding wind turbines can provide huge amounts of power.

Obtain any necessary permits or inspections

Once you’ve decided on the location and type of renewable energy update, check if there are regulations in your area about adding solar or wind power to residential properties. Inspection and permit processes can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to complete, depending on the requirements. Be sure to contact your local government for further information or applications.

Purchase and install the receptors

It’s time to choose your solar or wind energy products! Depending on the renewable energy products you purchased, you can either set these up yourself or hire a professional installer. Just make sure the locations have been cleaned and prepared for the new products. Solar and wind products send their currents to an inverter, which should be installed in your garage or an exterior wall.

Add a Customized Renewable Energy System

Country Home Products is proud to offer a full assortment of solar panels, solar-powered lights and generators, and wind turbines. Help the environment and your electric bill by upgrading to renewable energy!

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