East Coast homeowners gain access to new solar power system

As the weather heats up and the summer months begin to set in, Maryland and Virginia homeowners still have time to prepare their homes to keep them cool. While they can rely on the advice of a Washington, D.C. home inspector, who may recommend that they upgrade to energy-efficient insulation, homeowners in neighboring North Carolina have become the first on the East Coast to have access to a new hybrid solar energy management system.

The Echo system, which makes a standard home about 80 percent more efficient, is similar to those that rely on solar panels to provide energy to a home, but it does so on a larger scale. This particular system cools the area surrounding solar panels found on the roofs of homes, which is critical because molecules that go through this photovoltaic process are generally more effective when they are not as hot.

Solar panels use photovoltaics technology to power homes, which essentially involves converting sunlight into electric energy. This technology is found with wristwatches, traffic lights and many other common materials that derive power in a similar manner.

North Carolina is the first state on the East Coast to have widespread access to this technology following a partnership between a local homebuilding company, energy solutions provider EchoFirst and Southern Energy Management (SEM). The building company offers buyers the Echo technology as a standard option, which is beneficial to consumers in the state who do not have much access to financial incentives related to energy upgrades.

"There's absolutely no doubt that their homes are selling two to three times faster than the competition," said Gordon Handelsman, EchoFirst co-founder.

In states that are more generous with handing out incentives for energy updates, homeowners should contact a local provider of energy audit services to determine the most effective strategies to undertake as they cut their energy bills.