It would be great to get all your home’s power from the sun. But that’s an expensive proposition… up to $40,000. If you’re short on cash, though, there are cheaper ways to go solar.
“Your hot water bill is about 30% of your electric bill, so, if you go to a solar domestic hot water system, it’ll cost you less than $5,000 and it’ll give you free hot water forever.”
-Paul Farren, The Energy Store
That’s one idea, another is tubular skylights: basically light tunnels that take sunlight from your roof to a dark area of your house. Average cost? $150 to $600
Keeping your attic cool can reduce your A/C costs, and a solar-powered attic fan can do it. Average cost? $300-$700 each.
Give your cell-phone, laptop or other small electronics a charge with a solar charger. Especially handy for outdoors people. Cost? Anywhere from $20 to $200.
Last and least expensive: Solar outdoor lights. They’re not only cheap (as little as $10 a piece) but they also allow you to add outdoor lighting without digging up your yard for wiring.
Bottom line? One day solar may be affordable for all your electricity needs. But there’s no reason you can’t use the sun right now to save a little money and reduce your carbon footprint.