Harness Solar Power for Your Home and Garden

Solar cells on a roof behind a sun flower

The sun. It is the only power source that remains constant. It is essential for the life of every creature on our planet. Early civilizations worshiped the sun, and modern man has only recently learned how to harness the sun's energy.

Today there are incredible choices for the person who decides to take control of the escalating costs of non-renewable energy. New technology has given all of us realistic choices to not only reduce our energy costs, but also to maintain the beauty and integrity of our little oasis under the sun.

Cost-effective and reliable, your next home improvement project might just save you a bundle on your electric bills. Here are some of the incredible solar choices available.

1. The Solar Garden

Solar power is the newest trend for the garden. Along with solar lighting, there are solar-powered ponds, waterfalls, fountains, and birdbaths. Beautiful, as well as functional, these solar power features are the perfect gardening choice for your yard. Create a pondless waterfall anywhere, without wires and cables stretched across your lawn. Big yard or little yard, there is a solar water treatment that is perfect for your needs. There is even a "solar sipper" that can be attached to your deck, so that winter birds will have water at the perfect temperature. The initial expense for these miracles of modern technology is more than compensated by the savings on your electric bill for years to come.

2. Solar Outdoor Lighting

Everyone loves outside lighting, whether to set the mood or to keep from breaking our necks in the dark. Along with the familiar solar landscaping lights, there are now solar lamp posts, solar floating pond and pool lights, solar driveway lights, solar flood lights, and even solar lighted stepping stones.

3. Solar Indoors

Inside the home there are numerous choices for the use of solar power. Today you may choose a solar-powered electric hot water heater. This is where most of our winter electricity dollars go — heating that water. Once you add electric heat, dishwasher, and the washer and dryer to that bill... good grief, the mid-winter bills can climb into hundreds, even thousands of dollars. And if you like to decorate with twinkling lights for the holidays, your potential savings on your electric bill will make anyone a believer in solar power.

4. The Solar Roof

This is my favorite home improvement dream come true. For approximately the same price you would pay for an ordinary upscale roof, you can purchase a solar roof. It is worth the acquisition of a home improvement loan, and the interest is most likely tax-deductible. There will be an extra initial expense, such as hiring a licensed electrician. Be certain to hire someone who is experienced in integrating the solar panels with your present household current. You may elect to have a partial solar roof, which would kick in if your power company should have a black-out. You may receive a tax credit - depending upon your state law - for upgrading your home to greater energy efficiency, and you will be producing more than half of your own electricity. In some states you can even sell back your overflow energy to the power company, so that you receive a check from them.

5. Future Solar Technology

The future of solar energy is very bright. Recent advances have produced "spray-on solar cells" which turn anything into a renewable energy source. This unbelievable technology uses not only the sun's visible light, but also the sun's invisible ultra-violet light. As long as there is energy from the sun, even your clothes could become solar powered. How about a solar book bag? That's right, I did not make this up. There is now a solar powered backpack for college students. You simply plug your laptop into the adapter, and it recharges as you hike to your next class. Pretty amazing, but that's not all. There are also solar powered outdoor holiday decorations, solar-powered attic fans, and many more solar possibilities in our future.