Thanks to technological advancements and a push from society to go green, renewable energy is bigger than ever. Especially here in Southern California, people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and be more energy efficient.
Thankfully, there’s an easy (and obvious) answer: the sun! Whether you’re interested in lowering your electricity bill, getting off the grid, or simply running a more environmentally friendly home, solar energy is the answer.
Keep reading for 6 of the most common ways homeowners in Southern California are harnessing the energy of the sun to help power their homes. Then, contact us to find out how easy it is to implement solar energy in your home, too.
How Solar Energy Works
Before we jump into the specific examples, let’s take a moment to discuss how solar energy works.
The most common type of solar energy for homes is called Photovoltaic or PV solar. Solar panels are the most important part of a PV system as this is what converts sunlight into direct electrical current. These panels come in various sizes and can be a stand alone system or directly implemented into the device needing powering. For example, solar landscaping lights.
So how exactly are we able to harness the energy of the sun and convert it into power? Here are the basics:
- Sunlight shines down on the solar panels
- Photovoltaic (PV) cells located on your panels convert this sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity
- The DC power will then flow down to an inverter where it converts this electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity
- The panel sends electricity to whatever it is you’re powering
If you’re interested in learning more about how solar energy work, give us a call at (661) 245-3224. We’d be happy to answer your questions. You may also be interested in this blog post on common myths about solar panels.
Now, let’s dive into a few ways you can use solar to power your home.
1. Rooftop Solar Panels
The most popular (and effective) method for naturally powering your home is to install rooftop panels. Conversely, if you have the space, solar panels can also be installed on the ground near your home. However, most people prefer having the panels up and out of site.
A typical solar panel system consists of solar panels, an inverter, and a meter. This system requires little to no maintenance and will give you an accurate reading on how much electricity is being generated as well as how much you’re using.
Rooftop solar panels can be used for powering your entire home, or supplementing your electricity use, depending on how much energy you use a day and how large your panels are. It is the best way to eliminate your electricity bill and power your whole home naturally.
These systems are an investment, however financing options are available to make it more affordable. Plus, here in California, there are various tax credits available as well.
2. Solar Water Heaters
Did you know that heating water in your home uses a lot of energy? This is true whether you have an electric or gas water heater. Solar water heaters are a cost-effective method for generating hot water for your home.
Solar water heaters uses a solar thermal collector and can be used independently or as a hybrid with your electric or gas heater. These systems are typically fueled by solar panels which are installed on your roof. You can choose to have an active or passive solar water heating system. The one you choose will depend on how much you want to spend and whether you want a system with a circulating pumps and controls or not.
If you’re wondering if a solar water heater is a good option for your home and are interested in calculating your current water heating costs, check out this calculator from energy.gov.
3. Solar Swimming Pool Heating
Speaking of water heating, solar energy can also be used to help warm your outdoor pool. Even though we live in a warm state, many Southern California residents like to keep their pool at a consistent temperature – especially during the winter. And don’t forget about your hot tub, too.
From simple solar pool covers to elaborate heating systems – there are many options for cutting costs and warming your pool naturally.
4. Solar Air Conditioning
Solar powered air conditioning is a huge cost-saving benefit to homeowners in Southern California. Keeping your home cool– especially on hot summer days – is a big energy suck and can cost you a lot. Solar air conditioning is a great way to take advantage of the sun while at the same time protect your home against it!
There are a few different types of solar air conditioning units for you to choose from, however most units will require at least some electricity from the grid in order to operate. Still, the amount you’ll end up saving in both energy and cost is worth it.
5. Solar Backup Systems
Many areas in Southern California are prone to blackouts. During these times, as well as during severe weather storms or natural disasters, having a generator system in place for your home is helpful. Why not make sure this system is solar powered?
Solar battery backup systems are a great way to keep your home completely off the grid. Solar panels are used to charge high-capacity batteries at your house. Whenever the power is offline, these battery backups will kick in and keep your home running smoothly.
6. Solar Appliances
Solar powered appliances allow you to easily eliminate some of the large energy sucks in your home. For example, fridges and ovens use quite a bit of energy–especially in homes where these appliances are older–so a solar powered option will immediately eliminate that cost.
There’s also outdoor lights. Solar powered landscape lights can be left on at all times for both security reasons and aesthetics without the worry of a large electrical bill. And don’t forget about those extra small appliances like solar flashlights or speakers.
It’s easy for every homeowner to even slowly start cutting back on their energy bill, and even small steps will start to make a difference.
Ready to Cut Your Electrical Bill and Become Energy Independent?
At Inter Faith Electric & Solar, we specialize in helping homeowners throughout Southern California save thousands on their energy bills through high-quality, professionally installed solar panels.
If you’re interested in learning more about installing solar panels at your home, contact us. We’d love to help you on your path to becoming energy efficient and running your home through solar energy.