Friday, July 11, 2008

Supplemental Energy: Solar Panels

The current energy crisis seems to have everyone on the hot seat. Something of a similar nature seems to rear its ugly head every few years. Is it time for supplemental residential alternative energy? I think so. How about solar power?

The Benefits of Solar Energy

The benefits of solar energy are many. For one thing, there's no OPEC for energy captured by residential solar panels. Whereas the supply of petroleum can be manipulated, radiant energy cannot.

Installing PV (PhotoVoltaic) panels at at the home makes the homeowner eligible for certain state and federal tax benefits. The fact that this monetary incentive is provided indicates that the government might bankroll research for this type of alternative energy source.

Is Solar Energy Cost Effective?

In a nutshell, yes. There are up-front costs of course, but PV panels are extremely low-maintenance. Pay now, save long term. When you shop for panels, you'll need to consider the dollars per watt ratio.

Also, keep in mind that each panel model is rated by its conversion efficiency ratio. Taking these two analysis tool into consideration should help you make the right green electricity decisions for your personal situation.

Who Makes Solar Panels?

I found six major credible solar panel manufacturers. This isn't a totally inclusive list, of course, but I centered my research on companies that are already heavily funded in energy production. This gives them more research and development funding than a start-up might have.

The list includes BP, Kyosera, Suntech, Evergreen Spruce, Sharp, and General Electric. Suntech was recently chosen to power Bird’s Nest Stadium for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Is solar power for you? Only you can decide. But if you're considering putting a new roof on your home, this is the time to consider it.

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