Solar energy is the oldest and most reliable energy source on the planet. Every day for billions of years, the sun has risen and dispersed untold quantities of potential energy upon the earth's surface. So how and why do we harness this energy for our purposes? And most importantly, is it a viable option for supplying us with energy in our homes?

Apart from the fact that it is reliable, solar energy cannot be taxed by the government, needs no refinement, causes no pollution or harmful greenhouse gases, and is free.

Getting something for free is a pleasure everyone can relate to. Setting up a solar energy system on your property can provide you with free electricity, or can be used to supplement electricity drawn from the power grid and reduce your energy bills.

Sure there are start-up costs - the solar panels themselves are not cheap, and the system will require a design to be drawn up by an engineer and installation by a licensed electrician. But these initial overhead costs quickly pay themselves off through significant savings you will see in your power bills.

So who benefits most from solar? Solar energy can be converted into heat for your home very efficiently. If you live in an area where you have cool winters but a good level of sunlight year-round, then you are an excellent candidate to save big from solar power.

Electricity drawn from the power grid is produced primarily in large power stations throughout the country that produce electricity by burning coal and other non-renewable fossil fuels that emit huge quantities of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. This contributes to climate change and the permanent degradation of the environment.

Solar energy is completely clean and green. There is no damage to the environment; the energy comes naturally and requires no refinement and does not cause the emission of any greenhouse gases.

It has often been said that "the use of solar energy has not been opened up only because the oil industry does not own the sun," so make a choice you can feel good about and consider going solar.

It is possible to make a positive contribution to the environment through the choices you make every day, choosing to power your home with solar energy is one change you can personally make to improve the environment and slow down climate change. Choose solar energy to save big on your power bill while making a positive contribution to a clean environment and a sustainable future.