Alternative Electricity for your Home
With the rising price of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal over the past several years capturing a lot of national attention, there has been a big push to get consumers more interested in renewable and alternative energy sources. While wind and solar power get most of the attention, there are numerous other ways to power homes and cars.
This form of electricity has been around for decades, but recent improvements in technology have made windmills a lot more affordable. The most common way this power source is used is by communities erecting large wind farms containing hundreds of windmills that can power entire towns. The economies of scale work in favor of these set-ups, and several communities have been able to produce wind power that is comparable in price to the power they used to generate with fossil fuels. For individuals, however, there are ways to mount rooftop windmills and/or erect full-size windmills on private property.
Originally, these types windmills were a good way to provide power to isolated properties and farms. Because many areas of the country were difficult to hook up to the power grid, older windmills are still common in many parts of the country where they provide energy for irrigation systems and other farm equipment. Newer styles of windmills, however, are capable of providing a lot more power. This means that many urban dwellers are using them to reduce energy bills.
Solar energy seems to be one of the most talked about types of alternative energy. This is most likely because unlike other forms of energy, solar panels can be installed just about anywhere. Like wind power, the technology has existed for decades, but it has only been in recent years that it has become cheap and efficient enough to be considered a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Solar panels are being installed on many businesses and homes in order to convert the suns rays into electricity. Battery systems are installed along with the panels to store excess energy so that s cloudy day or night time does not mean that a structure goes without electricity.
The great thing about both of these types of power is that they can be hooked into a local power grid. That means that property owners are able to sell their excess power to an energy company. While this means that some property owners actually make money off of their alternative energy systems, most property owners take the excess as a credit on their power bill. If the property owner uses more power in a given month than his or her system produces, it is possible to use this credit to buy energy from the power company. For this reason, most owners of alternative energy systems report that they no longer pay an electric bill.
It is also possible to install a solar panel system or windmill in pieces. This is a great options for consumers who are on a budget but want to start cutting back on their energy bills as soon as possible. Rather than have an entire system installed at once, it is possible to place one windmill or a few solar panels on a rooftop at a time. While partial systems will typically not provide all the energy needs for a household or business, they can greatly reduce its energy costs. In fact, some people have discovered that a partial system combined with some energy usage reduction strategies can get their power bills down to zero some of the time.
Geothermal heating and cooling is relatively new, but these systems essentially pump air from under the Earth into a home. This keeps the home at a relative temperature of about 76 degrees year-round. While the systems can be installed anywhere, for right now they are usually only cost effective for very large homes, businesses and warehouses.