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Is Solar Energy Right For You? Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

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Three secrets to knowing if solar energy is right for your home

We hear a lot about the need for Americans to protect the environment. From promoting the merits of natural gas cars to reducing food waste to using solar energy, society is slowly taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint.

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Solar energy has long been the little darling of alternative forms of electricity—with good reason. It relies on an unlimited source of energy, it crushes expensive energy costs, and it increases the value of your home. According to Intermountain West solar company Legend Solar, there are boundless benefits for the community and environment as a result of switching to solar. Year after year, the installation of solar paneling becomes more cost effective, which is why many residents are considering converting. But is solar energy the right choice for you? Here are three things to consider before making your decision:

1. How much does it cost?

Yes, sunlight is free, but there is a cost connected to harnessing that energy. Based on general estimates of $10 per watt installed, you could be looking at a $5,000 to $45,000 investment.

A big selling point is the government incentives for converting to solar energy. It’s true that the federal government will extend a tax credit equivalent to 30 percent of the gross system costs. And most states offer incentives as well. But you still need to cover the initial installation costs. Most solar paneling companies will offer financing, and some advertise zero down at installation, but the long-term financial commitment to this system is worth thinking about.

2. What is the condition of your home?

To maximize the cost-saving benefits of solar energy, one must first consider additional ways to make your home energy efficient. For example, it makes little sense to install solar paneling when your home is poorly insulated. Rather than going big at the beginning, take a moment to evaluate your home and identify smaller, yet equally impactful, ways you can make your home more energy efficient.

Does your freezer need to be replaced? Or are you still using the washing machine you bought in college? When you have made smaller investments in your home’s ability to conserve energy, then the impact of installing solar paneling will be huge.

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3. How’s the weather?

It makes sense that in order for a solar energy system to be truly worthwhile, you must live in an area that gets large amounts of sunshine. As technology improves to help areas in the Midwest or upper Northwest regions optimize the moderate amounts of sun they receive, it’s the warmer regions that benefit the most from solar energy. An ideal customer has lots of southern exposure with no obstructions, such as trees or tall buildings. Basically, if you can grow an orange tree, you will enjoy the optimal benefits of solar energy.

Converting to solar energy is a popular and profitable option for many Americans. However, it may not be the ideal choice for everyone. By considering the investment costs, the condition of your home, and your location, you can be sure your decision will lead you toward a bright, energy efficient future.

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