Go Solar in Arizona: "It Makes Good Cents to Go Solar in Arizona!"

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Why Go Solar in Arizona?
  Top 10 Reasons to Go Solar in Arizona
  Create an Energy Efficient Solar Home
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5 Steps to Create an Energy Efficient Solar Home in AZ
  Step 1: Energy Efficiency

  Step 2: Solar Thermal Hot Water
  Step 3: Zero Out with Solar Power
  Step 4: Call a Solar Installer for a Free Quote
  Step 5: Research Solar Products
What Solar Incentives Are Available in Arizona?
  How Much Do Solar Incentives Pay?
  Utility Solar Rebate Programs
  Arizona Solar Incentives
  Federal Solar Tax Credits

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1st Step: Producing "Negawatts"
Through Energy Efficiency

(click here for Step #2)

Click here to find an Energy Efficiency Installation Company

The first step in making your home on business an energy efficient, solar powered structure is to reduce your energy consumption as much as possible. Instead of using megawatts of electricity per year to power, heat and cool your home, try to find ways to generate more "negawatts".

A negawatt represents every watt of electricity that you do not have to use by cooling off your attic's air temperature, weatherizing your home, installing energy star appliances and by turning off or unplugging devices that waste energy while you are sleeping or away at work. Everybody likes to save money on monthly utility bills, right?

An easy way to see if your home is above or below the industry average, you should perform a home energy audit to see how your home's energy consumption compares to other homes. You can pay for a very thorough energy audit by hiring a professional Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Company or you can perform your own free analysis by using an online home energy audit tool.

Simply Google Search for "Home Energy Yardstick" or "Home Energy Audits" and you will find plenty of online tools that will quiz you about your energy usage, appliances, and types of energy used, and then provide a customized report on how your home compares to other homes in your area.

There are many simple ways to reduce energy consumption in order to save money on monthly utility bills. Once you start saving money, then you can afford to spend it on something smart such as a solar water heater, which will heat your home's water for free, and/or solar photovoltaic (PV) power system, which produces free electricity, that will save you even more money.

One of the most important things that you can do to reduce your home's energy consumption in Arizona is to cover your attic's joists and rafters with reflective radiant barrier materials, install the highest SEER rating insulation you can afford and install a solar power attic fan to draw a continuous stream cooler air into your attic.

Radiant heat travels at the speed of light until one of two things happens: The heat (energy) is either absorbed or reflected. A roof usually absorbs most of this radiant energy and can easily reach 165 on hot, sunny days. This heat is then re-radiated in all directions. Since this heat has to go somewhere, your attic is quickly turned into a furnace, which heats up everything inside your attic such as your air conditioner's cooling unit and your home's attic insulation on your ceiling.

Having the highest SEER-rated insulation you can afford is a good thing, but all insulation eventually heats up and retains heat similar to a hot blanket that heats the ceiling of every room in your house.

The simplest way to keep your attic and its insulation cool is to install radiant barrier reflective materials, which will redirect the sun's energy back into the atmosphere. Studies have shown that roof temps only go up between 2-10 on roofs with radiant barrier installed on the joists and rafters.

The second step is to install a solar attic fan, which produces its own free electricity to spin a fan that draws out the super-heated air in your attic and replaces it with cooler air from outside.

Using radiant barriers to deflect the sun's energy from entering your attic combined with a solar attic fan that continuously pulls cooler air into your attic should save you up to 10 to 17% on your home electricity bills!

Removing as much heat as possible from the attic will make a big difference on a building's air conditioning requirements. The less that the air inside your attic has a chance to heat up, the less money you will have to spend to cool it back down to keep your house at a comfortable temperature all year long.

Cooling your attic and sealing up the building's energy envelope is half the job.

Weatherizing a home with new windows, doors, and weather stripping and can also prevent cool air from seeping out of the house and heat from seeping in. In either case, performing an infra-red thermal scan is the best way to find potential energy leaks and insulate them.

On the inside of the house there are lots of create ways to save energy. Old appliances, battery chargers and electronics such as plasma TVs and office equipment are notorious for consuming lots of electricity even when they are turned off.

One fun exercise that you can use to teach the family how to conserve energy is to buy a $45 "Kill-A-Watt" meter. This device allows you to program the electricity rates for on-peak and off-peak electricity usage.

You and your family can use this device to see how much electricity all the devices plugged into your home's electric outlets are using and what the related on peak/off peak costs are. You simply go to each electrical outlet in your house. Plug the Kill-A-Watt monitor into the wall and then plug lights, electronics and appliances into the Kill-A-Watt device for one hour. Monitor devices for one hour while turned on and one hour while turned off. The Kill-A-Wall monitor will tell you how much electricity it used and what the cost is to power that device.

You will be shocked to see how much energy that plasma TV or home office equipment is using, even when everything is turned off. Suddenly you will see why it makes good sense to turn off lights and and unplug all electronic equipment when it is not in use.

A quick way to solve this problem is to buy a "Smart Power Strip." Smart power strips have one main control plug that turns off everything plugged into the strip when the main device is turned off.

If want to go one step further, you can buy an automated home energy management system that turns everything off when your family is sleeping or away from home during the day, including your hot water heater.

To learn more about energy efficiency and our state's incentive programs, please click here check out the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).

Click here to see what appliances qualify for energy star tax credits and rebates.

More ways to reduce your home's energy consumption:

5 Steps to Create an Energy Efficient Solar Home in Arizona


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Specified Electrical Contractors, Inc. (SECON) is a progressive electrical contracting firm specializing in design/build, commercial and industrial solar projects.

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