Top 5 Cities for Building a Solar House


Albuquerque, N.M.

Albuquerque has every other decent-size city beat for solar potential. The city sees 310 days of sun every year, and people who install solar panels on their residence there can get 30 percent of the cost back in tax rebates on top of the 30 percent federal rebate for the system [sources: Albuquerque, Reese].

Albuquerque's insolation value is 6.77, which should help New Mexico reach its goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to 75 percent below 2000 levels by 2050 [source: Reese].

But before you move to Albuquerque and set up solar camp, make sure you address a few other issues besides insolation. Is the area you're looking at surrounded by buildings, or does it have a wide, clear view of the sky? To get the most of the available sunlight, you don't want a lot of obstructions. And even more important, does the area allow solar setups? For instance, some homeowners' associations (HOAs) have rules about what kinds of things you can put on the roof. So before you pick a location, make sure your solar panels will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Alvarado, Mariana. "High-speed solar train proposed as Tucson-Phoenix connection." Arizona Daily Star. May 8, 2009.
  • CleanBeta. "101 U.S. Cities with Best Solar-Energy Resources." June 23, 2008.
  • CleanBeta. "Inyokern: North's America's Solar Power Capital." June 17, 2008.
  • Galbraith, Kate. "Texas Aims for Solar Dominance." Green Inc. The New York Times. March 25, 2009.
  • Infinite Power. "Solar Electricity Works for Texas."
  • Kanellos, Michael. "The greening of Las Vegas." CNET News. March 9, 2007.
  • Lord, William and Deborah. "Maine Solar House."
  • NEMA. "Phoenix Suns Go Solar." Sept. 8, 2008.
  • Quayle, Andy. "Should you build a solar power system at home?" TechBurgh. May 10, 2009.
  • Reese, April. "Incentives making solar power more attractive." New Mexico Business Journal. June 9, 2006.
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  • Ward, Mike. "Solar-energy bill gets a final go." May 12, 2009.


'The Fighting Women' of Africa Collect Plastic to Build Schools

'The Fighting Women' of Africa Collect Plastic to Build Schools

In Africa's Ivory Coast, women are collecting plastic for recycling into bricks to build schools. HowStuffWorks looks at the program.