Energy for our homes draws on oil and coal, both of which are not the cleanest options for our environment. Some alternative energy ideas for your home include solar, wind, and more do-it-yourself ideas.
At gosolar.com there is an easy calculator to determine initial setup cost and long term yearly savings when you use an installed solar panel instead. For example, my monthly energy savings would be $105 which is $1256 a year. The installment of a solar system that would help me to save that much each year in energy costs would be $21,000 and that is after the CA state rebate of almost $5000 and the solar tax credit of $9300. This solar panel system will provide enough energy for your home to cover up to 90% of your energy needs throughout the year.
There are solar panel systems that are less money but will provide for less of your energy needs. Also, you must of course take into consideration the amount of sun in your environment. Most of these systems can charge and provide energy for your home in climates with at least two hours of sun a day and this will last through rainy or cloudy weeks as well. The upfront costs could be less if you are handy and can create your own solar panel system, but this is tedious and difficult.
Wind turbines range in size and cost as well varying from 6 feet tall to thirty feet tall. Many are solar powered. Again, it is important to know your climate and to be sure installation is in a windy area of your home’s exterior. Rooftop wind turbines are becoming more popular but many less expensive ones can be noisy so it is important to ask about that when looking for one. The prices range from $500 to $30,000 and you may receive a rebate depending on the state you live in as well as an alternative energy tax credit. Depending on the size and power, the wind turbine may cover some or most of your energy needs.
There is also just old fashioned ways to save on energy, or to utilize alternative energy ideas. For example, use soy-based candles for light, open the windows to cool your home down, and wear extra sweaters when you need to stay warm. Those types of alternative energy for your home are in the end the cheapest and perhaps the most satisfying.
I highly recommend the following book The Homeowner's Guide To Renewable Energy by Dan Chiras, if you want to learn more about installing alternative energy systems into your home.