More Homeowners in Minnesota are Being Sold on Using Solar Power

sun power

The sun's fiery power can be collected more efficiently in cooler climates like Minnesota as opposed to Florida.

A workshop hosted by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERT) was recently held at the Battle Creek Recreation Center.  The event gave Minnesota homeowners an opportunity to learn about various options for converting to solar power for their homes. CERT accommodates people who are interested in switching to solar energy.  They assist people by:

  • Finding needed resources,
  • Advising homeowners of funding options,
  • Getting involved in community-wide renewable energy projects, and more

One of the most frequently asked questions about solar energy is whether it’s a feasible option for people who live in cold climates like Minnesota.  Solar technology has long surpassed the days when solar was only practical for locations such as California and Florida.  Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of current solar technology is that panels actually work more efficiently in cold climates, as long as the solar units are kept clear of the buildup of snow.

Harnessing the sun’s energy isn’t as new a prospect as many people think.  In fact, there is evidence that many different ancient people groups built structures in such a way that advantages offered by the sun could be maximized.

The use of fossil fuels is, of course, most prominent today – not solar power.  But there are many reasons why it makes sense to wean ourselves off of reliance on fossil fuels, besides rising costs, the air pollution created by dirty energy, and the fact that the supply isn’t limitless.  For example, if we didn’t require such a large volume of fossil fuels, the U.S.A. wouldn’t need to rely on foreign sources for oil; we could declare energy independence.  In addition, both oil and natural gas emit carbon dioxide during combustion.  These emissions increase the density of greenhouse gas, which is believed by some to cause global warming.

Clean energy just makes the most sense, particularly if you take a long-term view.  The technology for solar energy isn’t stagnant, though its progress has no doubt been hindered by politically motivated actions which keep fossil fuels as our energy mainstay.  New discoveries are being made all the time which make it possible to lower the cost of solar power.

More and more homeowners in Minnesota are investing in solar energy, and there are some large solar photovoltaic systems statewide.  The largest solar PV system in Minnesota is The Minneapolis Convention Center, as just one example.  There’s no doubt that the state is moving in the direction of using renewable energy sources.

solar power options

Homeowners can choose from Solar Thermal, Solar PV, and Solar Air Heat to switch over to solar power.

Homeowners have several options for tapping into solar power, those primarily being solar panels or PV systems, solar hot water, and solar heating.

Solar panels, which are typically installed on rooftops, are the most expensive route for going solar; but the cost is largely offset by federal, state, and local incentives.

Solar water heating systems are practical investments, particularly for large families that use a lot of hot water.  Solar hot water is a relatively inexpensive inroad to using sustainable energy and may be the best value in solar power.

Solar air heat systems typically require a vertical wall which gets good winter sunlight.  Furnaces powered by solar energy are usually easily incorporated into residential construction; they work well, are the most affordable solar source for homeowners, and can add to the aesthetics of the home’s exterior.

If CERTs efforts are fruitful, more homeowners in Minnesota will begin now to use solar energy as a power source for their homes.

There are many options when choosing solar. For additional help picking the right type of solar energy for your needs or to purchase solar panels near you, contact our NASS member in Duluth, Minnesota.  With over 30 years in the solar industry and as the largest Hearth and Home store in Northern Minnesota, Energy Plus is the natural choice for going solar.

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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