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Questions You Might Have About Using Solar Power in Your Home

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Solar power is a clean energy source that is virtually free; other than the cost of installing the solar panels and any maintenance or repairs, most of the energy you need to run your home comes from the sun, so you don't need to worry about high electrical bills or costs for propane. If you're thinking about using solar power in your home, note a few questions you might have and then discuss these with a solar energy contractor if you need more information.

1. What if a home's roof is somewhat small?

For smaller homes or roofs with peaks and valleys that may not be able to support even the smallest of solar panels, you might be able to find pole-mounted or ground-mounted solar panels. These can be hooked up to your home while being placed in your yard, providing close to if not the same amount of solar power as standard roof panels.

2. How do you know if the system is working?

One of the best things you can do is keep track of your electric bills after you have solar panels installed. Your city-provided electricity may still be needed when your solar panels have not gathered enough energy to provide all the electricity you need, but you should still see a significant drop in your bills after the panels are installed. If not, contact the installer to note if something needs to be changed about the size of the panels or their hookup to your home.

3. Can a homeowner install their own solar system?

Solar panels don't just get screwed onto your home's roof and then plugged into a wall socket; they need to be connected to your home's wiring and installed properly so they don't come loose or suffer unnecessary wear and tear when exposed to storms, rain, and so on. If you don't have experience with home repair and improvement and have never installed something as complicated as a solar panel before, it's often best left to a professional.

4. Is the system noisy?

Solar panels work with an inverter that converts the solar power to electricity. This inverter might make some noise, similar to the hum of a refrigerator, but usually nothing bothersome. The inverter is also typically located in your basement or utility room, or wherever your furnace and hot water heater are located, so it's away from your living space. Noise is therefore not usually a concern for those considering solar panels.