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Green Energy: Can Solar Panels Work For Me?

Green energy is all over the news. With the rising costs — both financial and environmental — of fossil fuels, many people are looking at green and sustainable power solutions to save money. In sunny areas like the Chattanooga region, solar panels can be an efficient and cost-effective solution.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of solar energy and whether or not they can work for you.

What are the benefits of solar energy?

Solar energy is renewable. The use of solar energy decreases reliance on fossil fuels, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Solar energy also provides opportunities for green jobs in regions that implement it, helping to create a future-ready workforce. Solar panels on a home can reduce power costs for consumers, and increase the home’s resale value.

How do solar panels work?

Although there are multiple types of solar panels, they all share a basic premise. Light from the sun hits the panels, which contain technology that converts the sunlight into electricity. The electricity created by the panels is then used, or stored for later use.


Solar panels only generate electricity when the sun is shining on them, so they work best in flat areas with little cloud cover. However, solar panels are designed to work in almost any climate. Most regions can produce part of their energy from solar, even if they cannot fully convert.

Can I get solar panels at my house?

Many people are able to utilize solar panels at their home to offset some or all of their electricity costs. However, there are a few things to consider.

First, you will likely need to own your home in order to install solar panels. It is typically recommended that solar panels be placed on south-facing, sloped roofs to maximize energy production. If your roof does not face south, or is shaded, this will reduce the effectiveness of your solar panels. The size of your roof will also affect your ability to install solar panels.

Another consideration when adding or converting to solar energy is the upfront cost. Although the price varies, consumers in Tennessee can expect pay around $15,000 for a full solar conversion. Most homes using solar are still connected to their local utility. However, some people need to store their excess solar energy for times of lower production. If this is the case, you will also need to purchase a solar battery. This adds an additional cost.

A final consideration is any installation charges you may accrue. There are grants, tax credits, and financing available for people who want to add solar panels to their home, but it can still be cost-prohibitive.

If you are unsure if solar is the best option for your home, it may be helpful to meet with a professional, such as the EPB Energy ProsSM. Solar consultations can help you determine how many solar panels you need, direct you to solar funding options, and even recommend trusted contractors.

How else can I use solar?

If rooftop solar isn’t for you, don’t worry! There are still ways you can benefit from solar energy.

One easy switch is purchasing solar chargers, which allow you to charge your phone or laptop using energy from the sun. These are also a great backup to keep on hand for power outages or camping.

A similar solution is a small solar generator. These are generally used as backup power during emergencies, or during camping. However, they can be used to power small appliances, such as fans.

Another great way to benefit from solar power is through community solar. Community solar allows you to purchase or rent solar panels from a larger solar project.


You will receive a credit on your power bill for the amount of power the solar panels you have leased produce. You can purchase just one or two panels, or enough to offset your entire bill.

Community solar is ideal if you are not a homeowner, do not have start-up costs for solar installation, or your home isn’t suitable for solar panels. Currently, 41 states and Washington D.C. have community solar projects; the likelihood of finding one near you is high. In Chattanooga, you will find EPB’s Solar Share project, which allows you to license panels from the EPB solar field for as little as $3.50 a month.

Solar Energy Can Work For You

No matter how you invest in solar, you will also want to make sure you are taking other steps to reduce your electricity costs. Purchasing energy efficient appliances, unplugging devices while they are not in use, and sealing gaps around windows and doors can help you make the most of your solar savings.

If you have questions or want to learn more about green energy options including solar available for your home, EPB Energy Pros offer free consultations to help you make the most informed decision.

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