Happy New Year, dear reader. Have you made any resolutions for 2009 yet? Broken any? Sure, we all resolve to lose weight, exercise more, call our parents more frequently, and eat better. Why not break out of the mold and really accomplish something that will make a difference in the lives of thousands of people instead of just your own? I’m suggesting that you should resolve to go solar.
On its own, a resolution to start using more (or even some) solar energy is meaningless without a plan. Frankly, that is one of the biggest reasons that any New Year’s resolution does not succeed. Who was it that said,
“Failing to plan is like planning to fail”
So, let’s make a plan!
First, you will need to make realistic goals if you resolve to go solar. Consider your current energy needs. What do you spend each month on heating and electricity? Review your past utility bills to get a clear picture of your energy usage. How much longer will you stay in your house? How much increase in value will you enjoy by installing a solar energy system?
Next, consider what type of system you may want to install. Do you want to put solar panels on your home or business? What about thermal collectors for a solar hot water system? Perhaps you just want to make incremental changes in your energy usage by installing solar powered lights or using other solar gadgets.
The third step is to contact a solar contractor to get a bid for the work. Will you buy your own solar panels, or have the contractor purchase them for you? Most solar contractors have a solid understanding of tax incentives and rebates that are available when you resolve to go solar. Some will even prepare and submit the paperwork for you!
Finally, make a realistic timetable for you to go solar. How about getting your bids by March and having the work done by June 2009?
Above all else, don’t worry if you get behind a little bit. Going solar takes a fair amount of planning and investment of both time and money. But the payoff is far greater than with just about any other resolution you can make. I am wishing for you a happy, solar New Year!