Powering your home with solar energy is a great way to save energy and go green. But, solar panels are still an emerging investment in the residential market although fast growth in the solar energy industry is increasing competition and reducing the cost of these systems. On Long Island in 2009, solar panel installation grew by 38% as homeowners and commercial property owners realized the benefits of solar energy—its impact on conserving fossil fuels and decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and its contribution to reducing global warming.
Solar energy panels produce energy directly from sunlight, and then use that energy to run lighting, central air conditioning and appliances in your home. This technology is also called a photovoltaic system. The sun hitting the solar panels on your roof generates a direct current. That current is converted into alternating current, to match the frequency and voltage standards for American homes, and the created electricity powers the appliances and electricity-based systems in your home. Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has a net metering system in place, so if your solar panels produce more energy in a month than your home actually consumes, that surplus energy will be returned to the LIPA system. You receive a credit toward later months when you need more electricity than your system produces.
A chief objection to installing solar energy is the upfront investment. There are, however, many energy incentives, tax credits and rebates that can be combined for Long Island residents to decrease the cost and produce a return on the investment within a few years. LIPA offers a rebate to save about 40% off the total installation cost. New York State and Federal tax credits apply. With the combined energy incentives available, you can reduce the total upfront cost by at least 50% and you will also significantly reduce your cost of energy in the future.
To find out more or to get started, meet with a solar installer to determine the size of the system your home will need to accommodate your energy needs and your access to unobstructed sunlight. Many homeowners are discovering that harnessing the sun’s energy makes financial, as well as environmental, sense.