If you are thinking about installing a residential solar energy system in your home, you will need to know how much energy you are currently using. Usually, you can obtain this information from the local power company. By using this information as a baseline, you can design your solar energy system in accordance with the needs of your house. Your region's weather will influence energy use, as well as which direction your windows face, the number and placement of your trees, and the kinds of appliances used. Even the type of light bulbs you use can affect energy consumption.

An additional significant factor will be your area's temperature extremes. If you're residing in an area with temperature extremes in winter or in summer, you will use more energy to cool or heat your house than if you were in a fair climate.
In a cold climate, south-facing windows help lower your heating bills. In a hot climate, north-facing windows help reduce cooling costs.

Full-grown trees can provide shade and help reduce cooling bills during the summer, while the denuded tree branches let in sunlight in in the winter months. All of these factors influence your general power use. And installing energy efficient insulation in walls, roofs and floors help reduce utility bills in any climate.

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If you can, convert all of your appliances to energy efficient models. Newer models can use up to 50% less energy than older ones, paricularly if they are in need of repair and are not performing at peak effiency. Changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs also makes a significant difference in reducing electricity use.

After you have evaluated your house for these factors, you can plan to build a solar photovoltaic system by multiplying your average daily kilowatt hour usage by about .25. This will help you estimate the daily kilowatts the solar panels have to generate to support your current energy requirements.

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Author's Bio: 

Learning to live in a more ambient environment is so important these days. The energy crises has dumped us with so many environmental issues. However, we can, as individuals, take it upon ourselves to play our part and get active. This project is one dear to my heart and one which I believe will help us all.
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