Solar power has been available for decades. Safe, relatively clean energy, but the cost of the panels has long been too high for the average consumer. They're also the one problem with solar power, for those wondering about the relatively clean energy part. But the recycling of them should improve over time.
Many people would love to go solar in their homes. It's a practical energy source in many places, even ones where you wouldn't expect it to do all that well. And in places where homes aren't built near a pre-existing grid, solar power is often much, much more reasonable than having wires run out.
The fact that energy prices have been steadily rising also helps solar power appear more reasonably priced. The cost is almost all upfront, which is perhaps the greatest challenge. A good solar power system sufficient to heat the average home in the United States runs many thousands of dollars. However it also offers tremendous savings over time.
Some people even generate enough excess to where they sell electricity back. It doesn't bring in much money on the average, but you must admit that having the power company pay you has an appeal, especially if you aren't paying them anything anymore.
Is solar power ready to take off at long last? It could be. We've been hearing for a long time that the day would come when solar power became affordable, something the average family could do, rather than something strictly for the affluent and environmentally aware.
States are becoming more interested in encouraging solar power as well. Many offer rebates or tax incentives to homeowners who install solar panels, and some are starting to look at businesses as well. May as well put those rooftops to good use, after all!
Unfortunately, not all states do this yet. It sounds like they will soon! There is federal legislation requiring states to consider adopting net metering standards by 2008. How this works from state to stat can be tricky, but since 40 states already have net metering, which allows customers to sell excess electricity back, paying only when they need more than they produce, things are looking better all the time.
Solar power is starting to fare better politically too. While it still lacks the funding of the coal or oil industries, it has popular backing. That does make a difference.
Choosing solar power still isn't the easiest thing. As with other home improvements there's a lot of paperwork, plus finding a reputable contractor with good solar panel installation experience. But things are definitely looking up.