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My uncle is an electronics engineer who did a lot of R&D in wind and solar power, so I kind of grew up around it. A few years ago he turned me on to Home Power Magazine, which is an absolute treasure trove of information on renewable energy and energy efficiency. I highly recommend a subscription to those of you who are serious about solar and other renewable energy sources.

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Dina Taylor

I live in South Africa which has an electricity crisis (due to no maintenance of existing plants over the past 20 years, backlog in development of new power plants, endless stories of corruption) with regular electricity cuts (not great in a country known for its crime rate, plus huge negative impact on our economy) and high electricity rate increases anticipated for many years to come. I have always been keen on 'going green', and installed a hot water solar geyser and rainwater tank some 4 years ago. I am also worried about the long term rising costs of electricity. Ideally, I would like to install solar panels to power my alarm system, kitchen, TV and wireless internet, with a system that can work both on and off the Eskom grid. If any S. African Houzzers have installed photovoltaic panels, please would you let me know about your experience? Do you have installers you can recommend? What should a budget of around R50,000 cover?

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Shoshana Bloom

I live in Israel where all houses and buildings have solar heating. It is mainly for heating water but can be had for all heating at an extra cost. There is a switch to change over to electricity on cloudy days. My electricity costs are very low. I have also changed over all my light bulbs to energy efficient and only have lights on in the room I am in. Cooking is by gas which I have always used wherever I have lived.

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