Homeowners looking for immediate ways to add green power can now turn to electrical contractors to install ready-made devices in as little as one day.
According to Electrical Contractor magazine at www.ecmag.com, the latest small-scale, preassembled wind and solar products cut installation time and costs in half, with a minimum chance of installation error. Small wind turbines and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can also be used together as a hybrid system to offset the variability of both natural resources.
"Electrical contractors are helping to make it easier for homeowners to go green in a fraction of the time and cost," said John Maisel, publisher of Electrical Contractor by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md. "They're recommending and installing off-the-shelf wind and solar products on rooftops and in backyards that can provide all of the household energy."
The latest installations include Ready Solar's new Solar in a Box™ modular system that offers a simpler installation compared to a traditional PV system. Residential installations are commonly sized for an average 2,000-square-foot house and are attached to rooftops or the ground.
Residential wind generators are also increasing to help reduce electricity costs and generate surplus energy. Southwest Windpower's Skystream 3.7® is a backyard-sized wind turbine that includes a built-in inverter without extra components that can generate 30 to 80 percent of the required power for an average home. With little or no wind, power demands switch to the utility provider.
In addition to wind and solar devices, electrical contractors are also helping to choose and install high-efficiency lighting, lighting controls and low-voltage display devices that monitor the energy usage in homes. If homeowners can monitor their energy usage, they can lower their thermostats during peak hours and have a snapshot of the kilowatt-hours being used.
Electrical contractor-recommended products also include programmable thermostats; tankless water heaters; self-powered, wireless light switches that can be placed anywhere and moved anytime; dimmable outlets and plugs; wireless, motorized blinds and shades to reduce heat gain and fabric damage; and wired and wireless fan speed controls.