Unlike grid power, where all of energy comes from a single source, solar power is delivered in a number of different ways to take up individual tasks.
Start by analyzing components that will be needed. Systems like sun tube skylights can nearly eliminate the need for lighting in dim interior spaces. A thermal water heater reduces your overall heating bill by one third and removes water heating from the household energy load. Installing a solar attic vent reduces your heating and cooling costs triggering further reductions in overall power consumption. Here are a few ideas for turning your residence into a solar powered house.
Financial Incentives - There are a number of tax rebate and financial incentive programs available for energy efficient modifications especially for solar projects. US residents can check DSIRE USA to see if your projects qualify for grants.
Reduce Energy Needs - Although prices are steadily declining, powering unnecessary energy consumption will cost you more than its worth. It’s a good idea to trim every area possible until you’re on your way to an ultra lean energy machine. When it's time to replace your household appliances buy the most energy efficient models available on the market.
Passive Solar Power Home - A well designed solar powered house makes use of as many free passive techniques as possible to reduce overall energy needs. Much of your heating and lighting need can be addressed naturally, by manipulating the sun’s rays.
Alternate Heating Sources - Wood heat falls into the renewable energy category as long as trees are continuously replaced. Studies have shown that the amount of pollution released in the burning of wood is more than offset by the positive impact the tree has had while it lived and exhaled oxygen.
Size the System - Size your photovoltaic system for the month that your home uses the most energy. In cold climates this will be mid-winter and in hot climates it'll be mid-summer. Take into consideration such things as roof orientation, adjacent structures, trees and landscape features, seasonal access changes to the sun, latitude and local weather patterns.
Choose an Installer - Installing solar power for home use is a job for professionals. Unless you have sufficient skills, establishing a home solar system is not a DIY project. Look for Solar Energy Installers in your area and interview 2 or 3 just as you would for any project and check references before making a commitment.
Additionally, some rebate and incentive programs will only pay you if you've hired a professional installer. Always check the conditions of programs you intend to apply to before you make any decisions.