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.

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