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Making Solar Power Work For Your Baltimore Home

(credit: Thinkstock)
(credit: Thinkstock)

The idea of solar powered homes was once just a dream or some fantasy on television. The reality of creating electrical power by concentrating the power radiation rays from the sun is here. It is available and affordable, and the number of companies offering solar services is expanding. As more people look for ways to lower their electric bills, solar solutions are growing. More people are also becoming more environmentally savvy. They realize that a safe, renewable source of electricity is through solar options. Knowing where to start when dealing with this exciting new technology can be challenging, but start here and you'll be walking on sunshine in no time.

Switching to Solar

Investigating your options is a good place to start when considering switching to solar power. Decide whether you want to convert your whole house. It might be better for you to take it step-by-step and convert one system at a time, such as your hot water or your heat. Have several companies come to your home, do an energy audit and then present options for you to consider may seem like a waste of time, but it's essential to know your options and the applicable price ranges. Some companies only accept contracts for a full-conversion. Others may insist you replace your aging roof before installing a single panel on it. Still others will work with you step-by-step to ensure you get the most out of your system on a budget you can afford.

Installing Solar Panels

As you surf the web, gather company brochures and listen to sales presentations. You will find there are many options for installing solar panels. The most likely place is on the roof of your house. They are closer to the sun and most likely out of harm's way as they quietly go about saving you money. Some companies may offer to install just two panels on your roof for minimal use within the home, perhaps just your heating and air conditioning needs. Others will insist on doing the entire roof and converting the whole house in one easy installation so you immediately see a major difference in your electric bill. Still other companies check your local zoning laws and may offer to install panels in an old cornfield or a large backyard. Wherever the panels are installed, they must have optimum exposure to the sun. You, as the owner of the panel system, also want to ensure the system is safe from children, lawn mower accidents and vandalism.

Reaping the Benefits

While it may take a few years to see the major benefits of switching to solar, the immediate benefit is knowing that you are making a big difference environmentally. Using less coal or oil-based fuel sources causes an actual reduction in fossil fuel depletion and reduces your carbon footprint. Over a period of years, you will make payments to the solar company you choose rather than the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company. Once the bill for the installation has been paid off, you then reap the bigger benefits of a much lower bill to pay for maintaining the system. If you are able to install a very large system, you may produce enough energy to see your meter start running backward, creating more power than you use. You may then sell that energy back to the company to be used by someone who does not have a similar system. You will be paid for that electric your system has produced.

Below are two local resources that may be able to help you get started.

Greenspring Energy
30 W. Aylesbury Rd.

Timonium, Md. 21093
(433) 322-7000

Greenspring Energy is the fastest-growing solar energy company in the Baltimore region. It has opened showrooms covering the states of Pennsylvania/New Jersey and North Carolina/South Carolina, as well as a showroom in Delaware. It provides full solar and efficiency services to ensure customers get the best energy savings at the most affordable price. Greenspring installs both residential and commercial systems. 

Simply Solar of Maryland
(443) 402-0930 

Simply Solar of Maryland installs photovoltaic systems to residential and commercial customers. Simply Solar is here to address the current energy crisis in America with a green alternative to providing electric power to meet your daily needs. Family owned and operated, it promises customers a more personal service experience.

Related: U-Md. Unveils New Rooftop Solar Power Array
Related: Maryland Farm Turns to Solar Power to Cut Costs

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit

Anna Renault is a life-long resident of Baltimore County. After a 31 year career, Renault has re-careered into the world of journalism. She writes a weekly column for The Avenue News, her local paper. Her work can be found at

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