When you're ready to make the big investment in going solar, there are several offerings that could get you the biggest bang for your buck.
On Tuesday's The Early Show environmental lifestyle contributor Danny Seo (www.dannyseo.com)(http://dannyseo.typepad.com) points to some he feels make the grade, as they use the power of the sun to create energy.
In Part One of a three-part series, he looks at the biggest and newest solar devices that can power your home.
On average, a homeowner can expect to spend $20,000 to $40,000 to install solar panels on a home. The bigger the home, the more expensive.
When you install solar panels on your home, you're not taking your own home off the electrical grid. On cloudy or overcast days, when your panels aren't generating optimum electricity, you don't have to worry about your lights going dark. Instead, you're converting your home into a hybrid-powered home: one that uses solar energy and then supplements the excess with traditional electricity.
On days that you're actually overproducing solar electricity, your home becomes a mini-power plant, putting electricity back into the grid. That generates a credit on your utility bill. You could eventually be making money from the power company.
If this new form of energy interests you, here are a few choices for your home:
Installing Sharp solar panels is a two-step process. First, Sharp does an in-home analysis of your current electrical needs, along with a diagnostics check of your roof's sun intensity. Sharp also offers a quote that includes federal and state rebates and what your true energy goals are: to be completely powered solar or to simply supplement your existing needs.
Sharp also coordinates building permits, inspections and rebate forms and then finally installs everything.
If you're building a new home and you're not ready to install solar panels, you can do the next best thing: pre-wire for solar technology. Having pre-existing wiring installed during construction will eliminate the hassle of running wires from the rooftop solar panels to your electrical system in the future.
CruiseCar ($6,500, www.cruisecarinc.com is a manufacturer of solar-powered golf carts called SunRay. While the cart itself can be recharged traditionally by plugging it in, it can also be recharged entirely by a rooftop solar panel in as little as three days.