There’s been a lot of talk these days about renewable energy, and one of most obvious sources that people have been turning to is right above our heads. Going solar with panels for electricity and hot water will harness the energy but is a solar system really worth installing? Will you see a return on your investment?

The Greensboro III house plan incorporates passive solar technology into its design. Passive building design does not involve electrical or mechanical changes but instead windows, walls, and floors are all engineered to collect and store solar energy during the winter months and repel it during the summer. House plans like this one might be a good first step in reducing electric bills but installing a solar system has other benefits.

1. Sun vs. Daylight

You might think that if your area doesn’t have lots of bright sunny days you shouldn’t bother thinking about a solar energy system, but this isn’t necessarily so. You don’t need direct sunlight, you simply need daylight. On sunny days your system may generate more electricity but overcast skies generate power quite well. It’s virtually failsafe, guaranteed energy. Sun comes up, electric power is produced.

2. Increases Your Home Equity

If you are concerned about how long you might own your new home, you may question the benefits of adding solar panels when you might not see a direct return on investment in energy savings. But consider that adding solar panels translates to a capital investment in your home, increasing equity. Recent studies done by the National Appraisal Institute have demonstrated that solar panels may increase your home’s value by roughly twenty dollars for ever dollar shaved from your utility bills annually. So if you’re saving $1,000 per year on utility bills you’ve boosted your home’s market value by $20,000. As an added benefit, solar homes have been shown to have a faster turnaround on the housing market.

3. Decreases Your Carbon Footprint

One of the biggest reasons to consider solar is to decrease your carbon footprint. The effectiveness of your solar panel system depends on how much shade your roof gets but an open roof with no shade will not only get the maximum government rebate but will also help by reducing carbon emissions, reducing environmental impact.

This award winning ENERGY STAR® house plan makes use of south facing windows and solar overhangs to maximize solar heat gain during cold weather months. This house plan is protected from intense summer heat as well. When orienting your house plan, keep in mind that the best roofs for solar panels are south facing. 

4. No Electric Bill

You will need a backup just in case your system fails but provided you have enough space on your property it is possible to zero out your energy bill. It might be an expensive improvement but depending on your operating costs, the investment you make might be seen again.

5. It’s Not as Expensive as You Think

In the past, solar energy was perceived as being too expensive for residential use. Today however, there are far more benefits than just the environmental ones. Because of new technology that allows the sun’s energy to be harnessed in more affordable and advanced ways, solar energy technology is now accessible to residential and commercial users alike. You can even find other affordable solar powered products such as fans and outdoor lights.

Installing solar panels might seem like a lot of money up front, but with the advances in solar technology in recent years the technology is now accessible to the vast majority of homeowners. If you’d like to look into still other ways to save money, take a look at The House Designers ENERGY STAR approved house plans.

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