Five Steps You Should Consider Before Building a Solar Home

Going solar has many advantages, including reducing or eliminating your home energy bill, but there are a few steps you should consider before investing the time and money into this renewable energy venture.

1. Initial Cost: Commercially installed solar panels typically start around $22,000 for a 3 KW solar system, depending on the size and design. Although rebates and incentives offered by local, county and state governments can reduce some of these costs, the savings is typically not enough for most consumers. One homeowner, who took advantage of these incentives, reduced his 3 KW system to $13,000 after rebates. With lower home values, most home owners no longer have the equity to finance a $13,000 home solar energy system.

2. Replace Inefficient Appliances: Although not necessary (but highly recommended), you should consider replacing inefficient appliances. If you can reduce your energy usage, you can install a smaller home solar energy system, which will cost you less.

3. Weather: Solar radiation varies depending on available sunlight, and the location of your home relative to mountains and trees. The less solar radiation in your area, the more solar panels are required to generate your required electrical usage as compared to a similar system built in Arizona. So the less annual sunlight you receive, the greater the benefit of a lower cost DIY home solar system verses a commercially installed one.

4. You Are Completely Green: Although there are plenty of people out there who want you to buy their DIY educational kits, most of these do not cover every detail required. So if you buy one of these kits, you may find yourself with more expenses than you thought. It is highly recommended that you buy at least two books and maybe a "how to" DVD that has reviews from consumers who have built their own home solar system. It is difficult for one educational source to answer all of your DIY questions.

5. How Long Will You Live At Your Home: If you plan to keep your home for the long term, installing a home solar system is more beneficial than if you are planning to stay less than five years. Use a good solar calculator to measure your savings over the long haul.

You can minimize some of these issues of building a solar home if you choose to do it yourself (DIY). This assumes you have done your homework, and planned wisely. But you have to ask yourself if you are a person who is up to the task. If so, do your research, and make sure you have the tools you need.

Going solar has many benefits. Enjoy the journey along the way as building your own solar home will be an accomplishment you will never forget.