While commercial installations have to get the most energy per dollar, as well as requiring energy generation that is as consistent as possible, homeowners are not limited by these restrictions. Grid tied systems allow you to generate your own power when it is easy, and make use of the traditional electrical grid when it isn't. Even so, green energy sources are becoming increasingly attractive to homeowners as technology improves. Here are some of the options available to you.
Solar is the most common and best known source of home electrical generation. Because this form requires little more than an open space, and all homeowners have a roof they can use, it is easy to see why this route is a favorite for homeowners. Improvements in technology allow for most homeowners to get solar energy for about the same cost as what they pay the electric company, which makes it an even better option. The efficiency of the panels has also gotten to a point where even people living in northern climates, or with roofs that are less that ideal can greatly benefit from solar electricity.
Whether you are building a new home or working on a major remodel, it is worth having your home evaluated for solar power. Working with an experienced technician, you can get a very accurate view of what a solar installation would cost you, as well as what kind of power generation you can expect. Even if your home simply isn't well suited for solar power, you will leave the consultation knowing what efficiency level solar panels need to reach before they are a good choice for your home.
If your home is located on or near a geothermal hot spot, you are lucky indeed. Properly installed, a geothermal electrical system can generate nearly free electricity for decades. Most construction done in these areas includes a geothermal system, so you probably know whether or not this is an option for you. However, if your home is older, it might be worth taking a few minutes to check into this possibility.
Even if your home is not able to make use of geothermal heat, it can definitely make use of geothermal cooling. Just a few feet beneath the surface, the ground stays a consistent temperature all year long. While this isn't terribly useful for generating electricity, a heat pump can be precisely calibrated to work at this temperature so it can heat and cool your home with a minimal amount of additional energy usage. While this is an indirect technology, it still results in a significant decrease in your energy bills.
Wind power is probably the least common choice for homeowners because it takes up so much room, is less efficient at lower altitudes and is often considered unreliable. This does not mean that you shouldn't consider it. If you have the option of installing a wind turbine in your backyard, and you live in an area with a consistent breeze, you can certainly take advantage of it. Again, a grid tied system will ensure you maintain power, even when the wind isn't blowing. Also, similarly to solar power, a discussion with a professional is in order to find out the real costs and benefits to installing a windmill in your location.
Of course, you may simply decide that you are not ready to take on a green energy source quite yet, and there is nothing wrong with this. However, since the industry is changing so quickly, it is worthwhile to evaluate your options every few years, as well as putting in an electrical infrastructure you can easily expand to include green sources of power in the future. Click here to investigate more about your options.