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With the high cost of living, especially pertaining to electricity, many homeowners are turning to solar panels or cells. Amazingly, solar cells do more than just work to heat or cool a home. They literally draw from the sun�s power and can heat your hot water heater, run appliances, and take over all of the work that paid-for electricity produces. Instead of paying a high-energy bill each month, you can pay to have solar cells installed on your home and cut your bills by 80%! Although having solar cells is an initial investment, the savings will pay for themselves in no time. Additionally, most solar cells will store energy so on cloudy winter days you can still rely on them. You may need to use your standard electricity on occasion, but very seldom.

The most popular choice for solar cells is what is called photovoltaic, or PV. This is when the natural sunlight is converted to electricity. This particular technology has been around since the 1960 although it was used at that time primarily for the NASA space program. Today, this form of technology is what powers solar calculators, telecommunication systems, and so on. Because of its reliability, the industry is growing an astounding 25% a year.

This growth is directly linked to the fact that utility companies are charging a fortune for energy. Additionally, in the late 1990s, a bill was passed that stated homeowners could have PV solar cells installed and connected to a power grid. The excess production of energy not used in the home could be sold to the utility company. The homeowner then receives a monthly electric bill showing the credit, which is identified as �net metering�. Depending where you live, you can also receive a tax incentive and/or rebates for using a PV system.

The only drawback to solar cells is again, some states or other areas of the world do not enjoy bright, sunny days. For example, California is sunny most of the time as are states such as Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. However, as you move further east and north, you have states such as Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska that have many sunny days but also have cold, overcast days. By the time you reach the eastern states of North Carolina, New York, Washington, and northern states of Washington State and Oregon, you have an unbalance of overcast versus sun. For this reason, the PV system is great for many homeowners but not all depending on where you live.

Because the system is expensive, you want to purchase it only if it will pay itself off quickly. Many countries are finding that the PV solar cells are the perfect solution for clean energy that is convenient and reliable. Japan and Germany for example are two countries that have started taking advantage of this technology and with great success.

If you are interested in installing solar cells in your home or business, you will find that many reputable manufactures are now offering pre-engineered systems. With this option, you simply choose the size of system you want and a battery backup if you like. The package includes the cells as well as inverter and required mounting hardware. You can generally save from 5% to 10% by buying this way and if you need technical support, most manufacturers offer this as well.

If you are handing and skilled in wiring and roofing, then you should have no trouble with the installation process. However, if you prefer, you can hire a skilled contractor who can do the installation for you. Just remember that what used to be a complicated process is now much easier to follow. For example, the wiring portion consists of working with 30-pound panels and a module mounting system that is much like a computer �plug and play�.

To recoup the cost of your solar cells will depend on the amount of sunlight where you live, the size of the system, and so on. One option is that many lending institutions will allow you to finance the cost of solar cells with a home loan or home equity loan. When it comes time to sell your home, studies have shown that on average, you will get on average a 20% increase by having a solar cell system.
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