Adding solar panels to a home is considered one of the most eco-friendly choices.

Solar power isn't just for going off the grid anymore. More and more homeowners are finding solar panels are a great option to supplement their existing power source and lower utility costs.

If you have the cash to make the up-front payment, installing solar panels can be a smart long-term investment. They last for up to 30 years with minimal maintenance. By generating your own electricity, you can reduce or even eliminate your power bill to the electric company. Furthermore, there are federal and state tax credits that can reduce your initial installation costs, making it an even better deal. At the same time, you will be reducing your carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels, making your own contribution to the health of the planet.

How It Works

Your solar system will hook right into the power grid. On sunny days, when you generate more electricity than your house needs, you will actually send the excess out along the power lines. Then at night or on overcast days, you will draw conventional energy from the grid. If your conditions are favorable enough, you can make a profit by creating more electricity than you use overall.

The panels can pay for themselves in saved electricity costs in anywhere from two to 15 years, depending on how much energy you create and your state's incentive programs. Many companies also offer financing options so you don't have to come up with all the cash up-front.

Solar isn't a good solution for every homeowner, however, so consider the following factors when making your decision:

  • The Orientation of Your Roof
    For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the best sunlight is captured with a roof facing south. Roofs sloping east and west can also capture some energy. Sloped roofs make for the easiest installations, while flat roofs require you to tilt the panels in order to capture the best sunlight.
  • Your Roof Quality
    What's on your roof matters too. Gables and chimneys can limit the amount of space you have to work with, and if your roof is tile or shake it can add to the installation costs. Finally, consider the age of your roof. If it's due for replacement within the next ten years or so, it might not be the best time to install expensive panels, which will need to be removed when it's time to tear up the shingles. But don't forget, while the roof is usually the best place to install a panel, if yours isn't suitable there are other options like poles or ground mounts.
  • The Shade
    A solar panel won't do much good if the direct sunlight is blocked by a large tree or tall buildings surrounding your house. Unfortunately, there is little you can do about most blockages other than arranging your panels to accommodate them the best you can.
  • The Climate
    It goes without saying that sunnier climates produce more solar power, and a rooftop setup in San Diego will be more lucrative than one in Seattle. However, if you do live in a part of the country that tends to be gray and overcast, don't despair. Solar panels can still pick up the sun's energy through the clouds and rain, just not as much.

Lead the Way with LED Lighting

Going green can be as simple as changing a light bulb when you make the switch to LED (light emitting diode) lighting in your home, garage, and even outdoor lighting.

LED lights last longer than traditional bulbs, which means that there is less manufacturing needed and that can help to reduce environmental impact. Click here to learn much more about this eco-friendly choice.

Use Your Power Wisely

Mister Sparky wants to help keep the lights on and all of your electrical wiring safe under all conditions. However, one way to be more energy efficient is to just remember to turn your lights off when you’re not using them—as well as other devices that can be a drain on power.

A University of Wisconsin study found that using less power can reduce energy bills and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Not only is there a financial savings to individual households, there can be benefits to communities as power plants—a source of air pollution—are having less of an impact when there is less demand, according to the study.

Vroom, Vroom: Electric Vehicles

Being energy efficient goes beyond the home too.

Plug-in electric vehicles (EV), which are powered by electricity, are a great example of going green. Both all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (which are vehicles powered by electricity and liquid fuels) reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and lower the emissions that contribute to pollution. Often, purchasing an electric vehicle comes with tax incentives.

Plus, these types of vehicles are convenient. You can find charging stations everywhere, from Walmart to your parking lot at work. If you have an all-electric car, you can power up your car while you shop or during the workday, saving you a trip to the gas station. Nowadays, you can control charging from an app on your smartphone.

And you can charge it yourself, at home. According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable energy, 80% of electric vehicle drivers charge their cars in their home garage. A home electric vehicle charging station allows drivers to benefit from low, stable residential electricity rates. The cost to run an electric vehicle over the course of a year can be less than running an air conditioner.

Installing a home EV charger might seem like a daunting and complicated job. And it is. That’s why it’s important to have a professional electrician with expertise in EV chargers to install a station in your home.

More consumers are adding smart home technology to their homes to make their lives easier and more energy-efficient. Mister Sparky is here to make that transition easier.

Our professionals at Mister Sparky can install and set up your EV home charging station for you. And we will help you maintain your system, so we’ll be there to help if problems arise.

Book an appointment for an electric vehicle charger at Mister Sparky.