Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Residential Solar Energy, by Vince Hough

Like anyone else, I'd like to save some money on my utility bills.  I have wondered from time to time if I would benefit from solar energy at home.  I see the panels on houses here and there but don't know much about it.  Then along came Vince Hough's Residential Solar Energy: Your Guide to Whether Solar Will Save You Money.  That sounded like just what I needed!

Hough has done his homework, and we get the benefit.  He covers how solar works, which was really more than I wanted to know, but it's important to have some understanding if you're considering a major commitment like installing solar panels.  More importantly, he discusses the variety of regulatory and financing issues to be considered.

The problem is that every state is different, and regulations may even vary on the local level.  The good news is that Hough's treatment will give you an understanding of the options that are out there.  Once you begin to research what is available in your area, you will have the knowledge to compare programs.  The bad news is that with the variety of programs that exists around the country, finding what you need on the local level can be a challenge.  Hough gives some tools to get there, including web sites, books, and other resources.

At this point, I'm not sure solar makes sense financially for my house.  Hough says "a very rough rule of thumb says that you should adopt solar if the local utility retail rate is more than $.12 per kWh."  My last bill shows I pay $.1161, so it's probably a wash.  Plus, I would have to consider the initial outlay of purchasing a system, versus leasing or renting a system.  But, as Hough points out, solar power is becoming less expensive, and is the "most cost-effective clean energy alternative for replacing the residential energy provided by fossil fuels."

Solar power keeps getting cheaper and more efficient.  I suspect it won't be long until many of us power our homes from the abundant energy of the sun, and Hough will be leading the way.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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