Indiana & Yoga Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 1 - Page 30

CONSCIENTIOUS LIFE factors to consider before running out and buying modern solar equipment. Most reputable solar photovoltaic installers will come out to your home, inspect the site, then sit down to discuss options, and even the feasibility of a solar panel system for your home. Rachel Shultz, Sales Consultant for Icon Solar Inc., says she will analyze the potential customer’s electric bills and the weather history specific to the installation site dating back as far as 10 years. This will help forecast how beneficial a solar panel might be. Other factors to consider include trees that may need to be cut down, or other structures that produce shade on the installation site. Rooftop panels may be the only option for some, but those with more space on their property could benefit from a ground-mount system, in which the panels are placed about 4-5 feet off the ground, and can be angled to the most efficient position. In fact, homeowner Jim Mahoney of Westfield, Indiana has two large systems on his property, and small adjustments to his panels four times each year give him maximum exposure to the sun. The “Going Solar” Checklist for Homeowners √ Look for ways to reduce energy usage in your home. √ Have a qualified photovoltaic installer analyse your property for solar panel installation. √ Consider budget and timeline options. Can you afford the upfront costs or the financial burden of credit? √ 28 Research energy advocacy groups, such as the American Solar Energy Society (www.ases.org), the Indiana Renewable Energy Association (www. indianarenew.org), or the Solar Energy Industries Association (www.seia.org). √ Get multiple bids from installers and consider their experience and expertise, not just the price. Take into account that equipment will need to be serviced for the next 20-30 years, and ask about warranties and expected lifespan of the system. √ Talk to references, former customers, of the installer before signing any work order. √ Make yourself a cold drink on a hot summer day and watch in amazement as your electric meter runs backwards! INDIANA & YOGA MAGAZINE ISSUE I