While the roof is the logical place to install solar panels, it isn't an option for everyone. Maybe your roof is at a bad angle, maybe your homeowner's association is blocking the installation, or maybe you don't own your home and don't have the authority to install the panels. However, there are still ways you can make use of this extremely valuable resource.
Pole Mounted Panels
If you have yard space but not roof space, you do have another great option for mounting traditional solar panels. While most residential installations come with roof mounts, commercial installations will often make use of rooftop or ground-based pole mounted panels. While it might take a bit of effort to find a contractor who does residential work and is familiar with pole mounting hardware, it will be well worth the effort.
This type of installation has some serious benefits. First is that working on your roof will remain simple. Getting a roofer who can work around solar panels safely is not always easy, and even simple repairs will be costly. Secondly, you can keep your home shaded, which helps your HVAC system stay efficient during the hot summer months. Finally, by investing a bit more, you can get a system that adjusts the direction and angle of the panels to follow the sunlight, You will get more power from the same number of panels.
Solar Water Heaters
Sometimes the electrical work required to install solar panels in your home is what is stopping you. An inverter is a major expense, as is the transfer box that integrates your solar power with the electricity coming in from the traditional grid. Not every power company is required to buy back your excess power, and batteries cost too much to be a reasonable alternative. While it is not the most common issue with installing solar power, it is one that does come up.
Solar energy can be converted into several different things. One of them is heat. Using that heat to warm water for your home or pool is a simple way to make use of that energy without changing your home's infrastructure too much. Work with a plumber to see if you can get away with a purely solar system, or if you want to work with a combo system that uses another heating system when the sun isn't shining.
So far, the only options that have been discussed are variations on the theme of permanent installations. If you don't own your home, you usually don't have this option. This may lead you to believe that this will prevent you from taking advantage of solar power, but this is incorrect. There are still small ways that you can take advantage of solar energy in your life. Here are a few that are already readily available:
- More and more small devices use USB ports to charge. There are plenty of solar chargers that use solar power to charge a small battery. That battery can then be used to top off any number of USB powered devices.
- If you like to travel, you can get fold up panels you can set up quickly anywhere. You can power any number of small appliances in your travel vehicle with these sorts of panels.
- Batteries are still used in many devices. Rather than throwing away dead batteries all the time, invest in a solar-powered battery charger. Just leave it in a sunny window to have a nearly unlimited supply of freshly charged batteries.
If nothing else, this article should have made you realize that anyone can use green energy, no matter their situation. These resources are not only renewable, they are available to everyone in some form. Sometimes it just takes a bit of creativity to find the perfect solution for your life.
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