Top Ten Cost-effective Renewable Energy Systems

  1. A solar thermal system to heat your hot water pays for itself in two to three years depending on your location.
  2. A solar water heating system for your pool or hot tub also pays for itself in two to three years.
  3. Solar photovoltaics to power your home or business, using government incentives, will reduce your monthly electricity costs significantly, in some areas. In some countries, such as Japan, solar is a viable alternative to fossil fuels. In North America, fossil fuels will continue to rise in cost and solar will continue to decline.

  4. A portable solar system for an RV will cost less than a thousand dollars and provide you with power for many years.

  5. Solar panels for remote electricity (electric fence, lights, monitoring station, etc.) are much cheaper than hooking up to the grid.
 6. A solar photovoltaic system for your cottage or remote location can cost much less than connection to the grid.
  7. A geothermal system will pay for itself in five years or less and provide you with heat energy for the lifetime of your home or business.
  8. A backup power system to cover your essential electricity needs, when a power outage strikes.
  9. A wind energy system to power your farm, home or cottage could make your farm energy self-sufficient, in some geographical areas.
  10. A micro hydro power station can provide you with limitless energy, if you have running water on your property.

Top Ten Important Solar Energy Power Tips

1. Whatever solar power system or product you plan to utilize, always ensure that the solar panel faces in the direction of the sun. In the Northern hemisphere the panel must face south and at an angle to the horizontal equal to your latitude plus 15ยบ.

2. Before meeting a consultant regarding the installation of a solar power system, always have on hand a list of all your electrical appliances together with their wattage and the hours of use. Any dealer worth his salt will need to know this information.

3. Before committing to a specific power system always check to find out exactly what the local, state and federal incentives are in your town. All this information can be found at the DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy) database at

4. Always have a local licensed installer put in your system (but make sure he has experience with Grid connected systems) - they know all the local regulations and will be able to give you valuable information regarding these rules.

5. Keep solar panels clean - even if it means getting up onto your roof once a month. A thin layer of dust or dirt on the glass cover will effectively block off some solar power and the system will operate below its maximum efficiency.

6. When calculating the number of panels you need, do so using winter sunshine hours rather than summer hours - there are roughly twice as many hours sunshine in summer and the wrong calculation could leave you needing to use backup power in winter more often than you would like.

7. In any solar system keep your panels as close as you can to the batteries to avoid losing power in the cable. Always make sure that your panels are not shaded.

8. When planning a solar heating system, always consider the use of solar shades or smart glass to augment your system - their use can save you a lot of energy that might otherwise escape from the house.

9. Many states organize tours of homes that are fully converted to solar. Try to get yourself on one of these tours so that you can see a solar home in its working state.

10.Before installing a solar system try to make your home as energy efficient as possible - install double glazing, add new insulation where possible, replace incandescent light globes with fluorescent etc. By reducing your needs you can reduce the size and cost of the system you're installing.