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Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources that naturally renew or replenish themselves. Sun, wind and running water are perfect examples of different types of renewable energy. In an off-grid system, people use renewable energy to replace the electricity supplied by power companies. In a grid-connected system, people use renewable energy to reduce the amount of conventional power they use. TXU Energy supplies electricity through a grid-connected system. As a TXU Energy customer with a renewable energy supply, you can even sell any excess energy you generate back to us. This not only saves money, it makes money.

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1. Consider the Sun in Hot Climates

Solar electric systems, also called photovoltaic or PV systems, use both direct and scattered sunlight to make electricity. So before you buy, have your local supplier conduct a solar site analysis for you. Then you should measure the size of your roof, determine the orientation and tilt you need and find out what permits are required. The Department of Energy points out that since the Southwest receives the most sunlight in the nation, solar systems function quite efficiently as renewable energy in Texas.

2. Consider the Wind in Rural Areas

If you live in a windy area, you can pull energy right out of the air. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, if you have the right site, wind power could lower your electricity bills by up to 50% to 90%. And if you live in a remote area, there are other advantages as well. You don't have to incur the high costs of extending power lines to your location and, if you live on a farm or ranch, it can help you pump water. Before you buy, consult a wind resource map and always check for zoning and permit requirements.

3. Consider Running Water in Hilly Areas

Micro hydro power is often spelled as a single word, but the most important part of the word is "hydro". That's because the main driver of this type of renewable energy resource is running water. This system can generate up to 10 times the electricity that's needed to power a large house, a small resort, or a hobby farm. As with other alternative energy systems, you should always make sure that you check for zoning and permit requirements, but in this instance, you should also make sure you own the water rights.

4. Consider Hybrids for Seasonal Areas

If you live in a part of the country where both sun and wind are inconsistent, you might consider a hybrid electricity system. In the summer, when the sun is bright and the winds are down, you can use your solar system. In the winter, when the sun is hidden and the winds are blowing, you can use your turbine system. And during the spring and fall, you can use solar power during the day, wind power at night and batteries or a generator when neither the sun nor wind is available.