The first step in any solar power program is to reduce your demand – the obvious benefit is that you will then need a smaller solar power system to meet your needs.
How do you reduce your electricity demand?
Start by analyzing where your power use is coming from – does your AC billing crease your power needs in the summer, do you have a pool pump that requires hours of electricity each day and does your gas bill go up in the winter?
Most homeowners will get the most cost effective benefit from better insulation, energy efficient windows other low cost upgrades.
Here are some examples:
How do you figure out your energy efficiency? By getting an audit from a certified energy efficiency auditor. Part fo the Obama stimulus plan was to create more efficient households by providing tax incentives to homeowners and business pople to reduce their demand, creating jobs and further stimulating the economy.
Energy auditors take a class and there are certified by the BPI or Building Performance Institute.
There are several company that provide training for energy auditors.
Everblue Training Institute at http://www.everblue.edu/energy-auditor
They offer 3 courses:
BPI Building Analyst Training – there are no pre-requisites – START HERE
BPI Envelope Professional Training
BPI Weatherization Training