It is a well known fact that insulating your home from heat loses will drastically reduce your utility bill, the average home spends 46% of its energy keeping it warm/cool, it does not matter if you get your energy needs from nuclear or solar power, if you want to save money in put some effort into insulating your home, sealing your windows, and lowering your thermostat.
To get the most of your investment in solar energy, make sure your home is using double glaze windows and it doesn’t waste energy with electric apparels unnecessarily switched on all day.
1-Build your own solar panels
Building your own solar panels can be done by people without technical studies following simple step-by-step instructions and buying the necessary materials at your local hardware store, the solar panels you make yourself will not be as powerful as silicon factory made ones but they will work out cheaper and you might not need a high efficiency solar power installation for a small house.
- Tutorial on how to build your own solar panels: http://www.mdpub.com/SolarPanel/
- Online store selling DIY solar panel kits: http://www.solarhome.org/
2-Buy used solar power panels
The law in the US mandates that solar panels must be recycled, doing that it is expensive. Slightly damaged solar panels with low efficiency can be a deadweight for businesses but still useful for home users with lower needs, these solar panels can be given away for free or sold at a bargain, for companies this works out cheaper than dismantling solar panels piece by piece and recycle everything.
Another way to get cheap used solar panels is to visit your local solar panel installer and ask them if they know of anyone upgrading their solar power installation and selling their old used solar panels, you can also use eBay and other online auction sites to find used solar panels.
3-Enquire about Government grants
Federal and local grants, rebates and tax credits to pay for the cost of the installation are normally available, these need to be looked into on a case by cases basis, these programs might pay for a percentage of your costs or the whole installation depending on circumstances.There are companies offering leased solar power equipment where they install it for you free or at very cheap prices under the condition that over the life of the solar panels you will buy the generated power from the company at fixed prices.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency: http://www.dsireusa.org/
- Energy Matters (Australia):http://www.energymatters.com.au/
- European Union portal (EU):http://www.europa.eu/
4-Join a solar cooperative
Solar cooperatives work closely with their members to share costs and lower the cost of solar power installations, they also provide help with the solar installation. Find out if a solar cooperative resides near you with a quick Internet search.
5-Build your solar energy system by parts
Instead of having to pay a big lump sum to install a full solar energy system in your home, install first a solar oven, next month a solar powered shower, and the next year a solar powered water heaters, you will see that little by little all of your home is being powered by solar energy.
This method will have the inconvenience that your solar energy system will not be centralized requiring higher maintenance and ending up being more expensive to build in the long term, but it is a good way to being able to afford a solar powered home while avoiding having to ask for a bank loan that will charge you interests.