Awed by the enormous power of the sun, many civilizations have celebrated and harnessed its resources for warmth, light and other necessities. The sun continues to help our agriculture flourish and to our benefit some recent technology developments allow it to help us in our cities and suburbs; by generating power to light up our homes and businesses. A small panel installment on a commercial building can produce anywhere from 150 – 750 kWh per day or enough to meet the needs of a dozen plus homes.

Solar is about as natural a source of energy you can get. It’s sustainable and renewable and unlike our current fossil fuels which release greenhouse gas, carcinogens and carbon dioxide, solar energy does not contaminate our atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

Electricity is not storable and demand for electricity fluctuates by the minute, this can cause electricity prices to be very volatile. Solar and other renewable energy help reduce volatility in electrical rates because the fuel is free, and does not fluctuate like the price of oil, gasoline or natural gas.

The use of solar energy for homes and businesses is gaining in popularity, and manufacturing costs of the eco-friendly systems have been on the decline. Between the two types of solar technology currently available, solar thermal, which converts the sun’s radiation into heat and photovoltaic solar, which converts radiation into electricity, many builders are now including these systems in new home constructions and new commercial developments.

While solar installation involves upfront expenditures the return on investment can be tremendous – just a couple of months depending on the size of the system. It can help save money on energy bills and in the same process a solar energy system can help make you money. That is if your solar panels generates more energy than you can use, you can ultimately make money by selling it back to the grid.

Now is a great time to get into solar energy thanks in part to rebates that are readily available by, local, state and federal governments. On average, rebates usually cover 20-30% of the system cost. Time is really of the essence though since these incentives are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

New technologies and renewed interest in the solar power market are driving important advances in solar technology and as the non-renewable resources are depleted, it’s really important to look toward renewable sources of energy.