Don't use more energy than you need
(ARA) - For most people, the start of cooling temperatures in the back half of the year means more time spent at home. Take advantage of the time you're spending at home by making sure you're not using any more energy than you need to. Fortunately, there are many options to cutting down on energy use and with the tax credits expiring at the end of 2010, now is the time to take action.
One way to take action is to go solar. By installing solar panels, you protect yourself against future energy rate increases and add value to your home. In fact, The Appraisal Journal states that in the United States, a home's value increases about $20 for every $1 decrease in energy costs. Therefore, if solar panels decrease your energy bills by $1,000 a year, they could potentially increase your home's value by about $20,000.
Understanding solar systems need not be daunting. Here are the ABC's to get you on the path to saving money and lowering your energy bill:
About solar power
Solar power systems turn sunlight into electricity that is connected to your existing home electrical system - as well as the electric grid. It may surprise you to know that even on cloudy days, solar systems can generate electricity. Optimum electrical production occurs with bright and sunny weather conditions, but solar panels also work on cold, cloudy days because they work on light, not heat.
On sunny days, you not only benefit from using electricity directly from your solar system, but you may be able to send electricity back to your provider, building credits that offset your nighttime electric use. At night, your home draws on utility company power.
Through building up credits for solar electricity, solar electricity saves you money through either replacing the most expensive rates of utility electricity, or through racking up solar electricity credits in the day when electricity rates are highest - using utility electricity at night when it's cheaper. In short, you sell high and buy low.
As a bonus, those credits roll over monthly. This means if you generate excess power during the summer and use more power during the winter, you will first use up any credits before paying for additional electricity. Some states let you even sell back the excess power.
Always keep in mind the shade around your home when installing solar panels. Look for a reputable installer who can work with you on designing rooftop installations to avoid structural shading so you can get a quicker return on your investment.
Benefits without disruption
All solar power panels are not created equal. Westinghouse Solar offers innovative solar power systems that feature built-in technology that delivers safe AC power and provides consumers with what they are looking for most: high performance and reliability.
"We have always used award-winning technology in our patented panels and are proud of their continued superior performance and dependability," says Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar. "Our panels are sleek and attractive. Most importantly, they come with the trusted backing and quality of a name synonymous with reliability."
Solar panels require little upkeep, which means you get the benefits of solar without disrupting your everyday life. The only maintenance they may require is a semiannual washing, accomplished by simply hosing them down. Some solar system manufacturers also offer computer-based real-time monitoring systems that allow you to track the performance of your system from any Web browser.
Solar energy savings can be a smart investment and cut your electricity bill by 75 percent or even completely. With electricity rates increasing an average of 6 percent a year nationwide, your bill stays low and your savings rack up.
Government programs can also offset up to 50 percent of a system through a variety of tax credits and rebates. With immediate savings and tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings over the next 25 years, solar electricity is one of the most cost-effective ways to save money, cut down pollution and still fit the way you live today.
To arrange a free, on-site solar evaluation of your home from a qualified solar representative, visit www.westinghousesolar.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent