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Vince Hough
Residential Solar Energy: Your Guide to Whether Solar Will Save You Money
Vince Hough, author

Adult; Science & Nature; (Market)

Solar energy is the fastest-growing source of clean energy for the home. Today, almost 1,000,000 American homeowners reduce their carbon footprint and fight climate change with solar energy. They are rewarded with significant savings on their home energy bills. But does that mean you can also save money by going solar today? The answer is—it depends! In this book, the author shares a range of insights that guide you through the residential solar market and cut through the complicated aspects of solar proposals. He provides you with a framework to evaluate each of your solar options. You’ll learn which of the various solar energy options will save you the most money. You'll find this book is your definitive guide on how you should go solar. You'll understand how solar energy is changing how we power our homes. This guide's essential information will give you the confidence to make the most informed decision about when to go solar with your home.

5.0 out of 5 stars‘ Have you noticed solar panels installed on homes in your neighborhood? If so, you probably live in a “solar-friendly” state.’

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Environmentalist/author Vince Hough takes up the banner to protect the environment by fighting climate change and damage to the planet especially through global warming. He strongly supports adopting sustainable forms of energy, to replace fossil fuels that are contributing to climate change. His focus in this very practical and useful book concerns solar energy that offers a clean energy alternative for powering our homes. Te practical side of his book is directed to our pocketbooks as well and he gives strong advice on how to adopt solar energy. He applies his background in research and business-strategy to illuminate the dynamic changes underway in the home energy marketplace.

In his Introduction we find just how well informed Vince is – ‘Have you noticed solar panels installed on homes in your neighborhood? If so, you probably live in a “solar-friendly” state. The growth of rooftop solar has skyrocketed in those states that have created financial incentives for their residents to go solar. Rooftop solar PV systems provide you with an opportunity to reduce global warming, while also saving you money on your energy bills (“ PV,” as well as other acronyms are defined in the glossary at the end of this book). Over the past 7 years, the opportunity to save money on energy bills with solar energy has driven a surge in rooftop solar systems. However, with the growth of the residential solar market, governmental incentives have gradually decreased. As a result, you need to size up your state’s support for solar, the cost of going solar via the available options and several other factors to make sure you’ll save money when you go solar. A number of factors are at work that should result in solar energy becoming the main source of home energy across the country. The federal government, in particular, is sponsoring a set of initiatives that are driving down the cost of solar energy. With ongoing improvements in solar PV technology, the cost of electricity from solar energy is steadily decreasing. However, a solar system still represents a significant, long-term investment, so you’ll want to make sure that it will save you money. In this book, we’ll look at a variety of factors that impact whether you can actually save money with solar energy. You may be aware that for the typical home, a rooftop solar system may easily cost $ 15,000 to over $ 30,000. You may also have heard that some solar companies provide these systems for free under a lease-type contract. Whether you buy or lease, there are 2 keys to saving money with solar: Will your electric utility company tie your solar system into the power grid, so you can store excess energy you generate on the grid? Will that power company credit you for that excess solar energy at its retail energy rate? If the first condition isn’t met, then you’d need to spend thousands of dollars on a bank of storage batteries to store much of the solar energy generated during the day. If the second one isn’t met, then you’d incur a cost for storing the solar energy that your solar system has generated on the power grid. That cost is the difference between what your utility pays you for your excess solar energy and what you pay to buy energy from the utility.‘

Vince divides his book into the following all encompassing sections - Why Should Your Home Go Solar?, How Do Rooftop Solar Systems Work?, 3 Why Has Residential Solar Energy Growth Skyrocketed?, How Do You Evaluate Whether To Go Solar?, Is Now the Right Time To Go Solar?, and Which Is Your Best Solar Option?

If you can’t find the answers here then you haven’t read carefully enough. Vince cares about the environment but he also cares about us and our involvement not only in the use of solar energy but also in being financially smart about it. Excellent book. Grady Harp, November 16

Book Buzz

Monday, December 12, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About Residential Solar Energy

Residential Solar Energy

by Vince Hough

As the title suggests, the book is all about solar energy for residential property. It is written for homeowners who are looking into solar energy as an alternative source of electricity for their home.

I am a real estate broker, licensed to sell residential property since 1989. My involvement in real estate now is that of a consultant only and writer for real estate articles and blogs. Occasionally, clients ask about matters associated with home ownership and I take pride in being able to point them in the direction that will provide the best answers for them. Now, when someone asks me how I feel about solar energy or whether or not they should invest in solar panels, I have the perfect book to recommend to them.

Residential Solar Energy is written authoritatively, providing information about:

  • Feasibility analysis
  • Financing
  • Billing 
  • Metering (and whether or not you will save money or make money)
  • Laws and ordinances for city, county, state, or federal government
  • Tax credits
  • Solar energy programs
  • And much, much more

There is a glossary at the end of the book. I found this to be most helpful.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. It is well-formatted and easy to navigate. I view this book as a guidebook for homeowners to keep handy and to use as a reference for understanding the concept of solar energy. If you are thinking about whether or not going solar for your energy source is right for you, this is the book you need to get started on discovering how to do an analysis, how to design a solar energy system, how and where to get financing, the pros, cons, and much more.

Net Galley

Before I even read this book I could tell I was going to appreciate the author because the subtitle is ‘your guide to whether solar will save you money’. I like his way of thinking! 

Let me explain about myself a bit: I’m not crunchy and green. I don’t freak out if some plastic gets thrown in my garbage can and I don’t crank my AC up to 85F so we don’t use the electricity. I want to be moderately comfortable and I want to save money while still doing things to help keep a cap on pollution but I don’t go nutty about it, okay? Right away the author appealed to my sense of cents, as it were, and I appreciate that a lot. You’re not going to sway me to put in solar just to give up our hydroelectric wattage to save penguins in Timbuktu.

This is not a book on HOW to build a solar grid for yourself but it will help you to assess whether solar is right for your needs so if you’re thinking about solar cells for your house I’d look at a book like this first thing. Otherwise you might get overwhelmed with all the options and choices and not know where to turn like we did several years ago and decide that it’s just not worth the bother. But after reading this it gave me a new view on solar energy and I think we’re ready to give it another go this year.

Mr. Hough lays out everything so you can understand the basics and he even explains ways that you can get solar power set up on your house for free. For those who are serious about building a self sufficient homestead, having a reliable source of energy that doesn’t rely on the vagaries of local government or stability of the infrastructure is a must. I would suggest picking up this book along with one on wind power and hydroelectric for those who live on the water.

Reading Glutton

Residential Solar Energy, by Vince Hough

Like anyone else, I'd like to save some money on my utility bills.  I have wondered from time to time if I would benefit from solar energy at home.  I see the panels on houses here and there but don't know much about it.  Then along came Vince Hough's Residential Solar Energy: Your Guide to Whether Solar Will Save You Money.  That sounded like just what I needed!

Hough has done his homework, and we get the benefit.  He covers how solar works, which was really more than I wanted to know, but it's important to have some understanding if you're considering a major commitment like installing solar panels.  More importantly, he discusses the variety of regulatory and financing issues to be considered. 

The problem is that every state is different, and regulations may even vary on the local level.  The good news is that Hough's treatment will give you an understanding of the options that are out there.  Once you begin to research what is available in your area, you will have the knowledge to compare programs.  The bad news is that with the variety of programs that exists around the country, finding what you need on the local level can be a challenge.  Hough gives some tools to get there, including web sites, books, and other resources.

At this point, I'm not sure solar makes sense financially for my house.  Hough says "a very rough rule of thumb says that you should adopt solar if the local utility retail rate is more than $.12 per kWh."  My last bill shows I pay $.1161, so it's probably a wash.  Plus, I would have to consider the initial outlay of purchasing a system, versus leasing or renting a system.  But, as Hough points out, solar power is becoming less expensive, and is the "most cost-effective clean energy alternative for replacing the residential energy provided by fossil fuels."

Solar power keeps getting cheaper and more efficient.  I suspect it won't be long until many of us power our homes from the abundant energy of the sun, and Hough will be leading the way.