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Solar Energy State of Mind: What Is a “Typical” Solar Home?

What’s your idea of the “typical” solar home? You might think of a home powered by solar panels as a log cabin “off the grid” in an extremely rural area with no power lines or high-speed Internet capabilities… Perhaps the homeowners live completely sustainably, raising cows and chickens for milk and eggs, with a large farm to provide food for their family.

While a solar PV installation is a great way to live sustainably in areas that have no public utilities, the vast majority of solar installations are in more populated areas, on houses located in suburban neighborhoods.

The Renewable Energy Long Island Solar Tour that took place earlier this month proved this. You can’t get much more suburban than homes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, yet 14 different homes on the tour showcased solar panels to provide all or part of their energy needs. Some homeowners promoted a completely green lifestyle, with solar cars, geothermal heating systems, and more, while others just had an array or two to help defray the high costs of conventional electric systems.

Urban Solar PV Installations
More and more solar PV installations are finding their way into the urban landscape today. It’s true that neighboring skyscrapers may block some of the sun but, in most cases, enough sunlight gets through to make a solar array worthwhile. It’s the same as having a solar array in a cloudy city — and places like New Jersey, Germany, the UK, and Seattle all have thriving solar industries.

Urban planning for solar power is becoming more common place in U.S. cities, where new buildings are being erected that will have plenty of south facing roof real estate to mount a solar array.

Like to Pay Less for Electricity? You’re a Solar Candidate
You also don’t have to be particularly “eco-conscious,” “green,” or “crunchy” to enjoy the benefits of solar power. You just need to appreciate the following:

  • An extremely low maintenance energy system
  • Lower electric bills each month
  • A system that will last 25 years or more (your roof will probably wear out before, or at the same time as, your solar array!)

Solar for All?
Of course, there are some circumstances where a solar installation just won’t pay off, but don’t count yourself out until you speak with a local solar PV installer. Solar panels can fit into any and every lifestyle, and on every type and style of home, in virtually any location.

Who’s the “typical” solar customer? Anyone who wants to save money on their electric bill and also have the peace of mind of knowing that their electricity source is renewable and environmentally responsible.

Post Written by
A full-time freelance writer, Dawn frequently covers energy efficiency, green living, and topics like LED lighting and whole home control systems for a number of blogs and technology trade magazines. Dawn is proud to live in New York as the state vies to beat out New Jersey as the East coast top dog of solar energy and is waiting for the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate legislation to pass before installing solar panels on her Long Island home.

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