Small steps, multiplied thousands of times, can have a significant impact on the production of greenhouse gasses. We have installed a grid-tied solar system that currently provides us about half of our electric power. In addition, most of our lights are either compact fluorescent or LED. LED lights last a very long time, use very little power and contain no mercury.
For the technical-minded, our system is composed of a Sunny Boy 4000 inverter and 12 175 watt Mitsubishi solar panels. We plan to expand the system with another 12 panels.
Heating water with a solar heater is the most effective way to reduce your electric bill.
Our hot water is produced in a passive solar hot water heating system. Two panels on the roof heat the water, which is stored in an 80-gallon tank mounted higher than the panels. There is a back-up electric heater but it is seldom needed.
The State of Hawaii has taken the lead on solar hot water, mandating that beginning in 2012 all new construction must have a solar hot water system.