How to Build Cheap Solar Energy Systems

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Solar power is more affordable than you think if you are willing to do some research for alternative sources and used equipment.
Solar power is more affordable than you think if you are willing to do some research for alternative sources and used equipment. (Image: Solar Panels image by alessbonaventura from Fotolia.com)

You may have been considering solar power for some time but have been putting it off because of the high initial investment. Reconsider solar power with options that will allow you to achieve almost complete energy independence by using a leasing service, used solar panels or rudimentary solar devices that can be assembled for a pittance. Solar cooperatives are also an extremely cost-effective option, depending on where you live and how much you can afford to invest in your home.

Investigate net metering and leasing. Net metering is a utility meter that can both receive and send energy. If you have a state that has mandated net metering, then you qualify for leasing solar equipment through companies such as Citizenre, which rent you solar equipment. In exchange, you pay 80 percent of the cost of your current electricity bill to the solar company in exchange for the equipment. The rental company then makes a profit by selling the excess electricity generated at your home back to the utility company. You are not responsible for installation or maintenance.

Look into purchasing used solar panels. Solar panels are mandated to be recycled. This is an extremely expensive process, so many companies that have used solar equipment that has sustained minor storm damage or is not at optimum efficiency will give the panels away for free. These panels are still operational and, although not at optimum efficiency, still can provide you with a good deal of free solar power. Most solar panel installations are completely DIY, so if you are halfway handy, check it out. Call a local commercial solar power contractor and ask if they know of anyone who wants to part with used solar panels.

Join a cooperative. Solar cooperatives provide an excellent network of support for those interested in inexpensive solar energy. These groups work closely with each other to lower the cost of solar power and help with installation to promote the greater good. You will find solar cooperatives are concentrated in such states as California, Arizona and Texas. Look for a cooperative by asking around at your local library.

Start saving for a solar energy system by incorporating small solar projects into your home to lower your utility bills and free up money for investing in inexpensive solar equipment. These include solar ovens and rudimentary water heaters such as solar pool covers. Also make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible before investing in any solar power system. Solar power is largely supplemental in nature, so having a home that doesn't lose energy as quickly is important for getting the most out of your investment.

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