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Using Solar or Wind Energy at Home

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    LESLIE: Joe in Connecticut is looking to go green with his energy consumption. What can we do for you?

    JOE: Hi. Yeah, I am going to need to reroof my garage here and it’s a two-car garage.

    TOM: OK.

    JOE: And I had heard one of my friends who lived in Alaska that said that he had had solar panels installed and a windmill and ended up making more power than he used and I was just wondering if you could give me any information on that or vendors or that kind of stuff.

    TOM: Well, certainly; considering solar energy and wind energy are two good technologies, but you’ve got to have the right home for it. I mean you’ve got to have …

    LESLIE: And I don’t think you can just put up a turbine in your backyard.

    TOM: Well, in the more crowded areas of the northeast, the local zoning officials get rather emotional about that (chuckling), so you have to have the proper permits. That being said, if you did have clearance, certainly putting up a wind generator or adding solar panels to your roof are two good ways to reduce your reliance on the traditional electrical system.

    LESLIE: And there are solar panels that look like roofing shingles; so you could – instead of those big, giant, solar panels that you’ve seen sort of sit off on the roof itself, these sort of are the same as an asphalt shingle and they sort of get laid in intermittently across the roof and they generate power as well. I would check with your local power provider that your use currently to find out what their solar capacity is, what you would have to generate to get off the grid and start sort of feeding their power source and getting some money back.

    TOM: Also Joe, there are a lot of rebates that are available right now for alternative energy sources, so you might want to look into that and find out if, in your area and particularly in your state, whether or not there are rebate programs that you could take advantage of. I know there are many of them in New Jersey and I think Connecticut as well; so you might want to find out about that.

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