When you are looking to install solar panels on your roof, there is a good chance that you want to do away with your energy bills. Mostly, homeowners will consider their average electricity consumption when deciding the size of a solar system. However, the energy that solar systems produce depends on the number of panels in the systems and the amount of sunlight that reaches the panels. Here are a few factors to help you choose the right solar system size.
Consider Your Average Electricity Use
Electricity consumption in the United States varies by both state and household. As such, you can only determine the ideal solar system size by looking at a recent copy of your own electricity bill. Solar installers will have a look at the bill and factor in the number of peak sun hours your location gets to determine the size and the number of solar panels you need. They will also need to increase the system size to account for the power lost when the panels convert from DC to AC.
Solar Efficiency And Weather Conditions
Solar panels differ significantly, with expensive premium panels being more efficient and working effectively under cloudy conditions. While premium panels are associated with a high initial cost, homeowners will recover their investment over time. The high power that these panels generate makes them a worthwhile investment for those who live in areas with poor weather conditions.
Other factors that affect the efficiency of solar systems include local weather, shading and panel placement. As much as the solar installer will assess the site and strive to achieve maximum efficiency, cloudy weather, annual snowfall and roof angle could compromise performance. This can be overcome by the use of larger solar systems.
Generally, customers in areas with snowfall or many cloudy days will need to install large solar systems. The local installer will also consider tree cover and dust to ensure that the performance of your system is not hurt.
Look At Your Roof Space And Angle
Roof space and angle will also affect the solar system size. Panels have to be tilted at a certain angle so as to optimize their exposure to the sun. Solar installers should have the necessary expertise and technology to ensure that solar power generation is optimized.
In the event that the solar installer finds that the roof space is inadequate during their site visit, homeowners can choose to install smaller solar systems that only cover part of their energy. Homeowners can also opt for ground-mounted systems if the size of their property allows. This will enable them to meet their energy needs without the limitations associated with the available roof space.
Avoid the “Rebound Effect”
The “Rebound Effect” refers to the tendency by homeowners to increase their energy consumption after installing solar panels. This can be attributed to the notion that the panels generate “free” electricity. If energy use increases, you will still owe your utility if the installation of the solar system was based on your electricity consumption.
If energy use increases, homeowners can either expand their solar systems in future or control usage through energy-efficient appliances and conscious energy-conserving lifestyle.
If you are convinced that your property has the potential to generate solar power, you should consult an expert solar power installer and get them to visit your property.Read More
The Sun’s rays of light, which can be defined as a never-ending beam of massless, high-speed photons, can be converted into electricity for residences, businesses, and public uses of electricity like light poles that light streets.
Many homes are investing in top-of-the-line solar photovoltaic panel systems thanks to the variety of important benefits they bring to the proverbial table. Further, homes that make use of the Sun’s rays through solar power utilization systems sell for thousands more dollars than homes of similar values that don’t make use of the most abundant natural resources known to man – the Sun.
Where Are Residential Solar Systems Cheaper Than Buying Electricity From the Electrical Grid?
Grid parity is best defined as when generating usable electricity via an alternative source of energy such as wind, hydroelectric, or solar power,
By 2014, grid parity had been reached across California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Further, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, and select other states across New England had similarly reached the milestone of grid parity, meaning the electricity provided by solar power systems was cheaper than the electricity available through utility companies.
As solar panel equipment decreases in price and becomes more efficient, the total number of states that have reached grid parity will continue to increase across the United States.
The Cost of Solar Panel Systems’ Components Is High
According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s 2013 study titled Exploring California PV Home Premiums, installing fully-functioning solar energy capture and conversion systems that utilize photovoltaic technology equal in output to five kilowatts adds just short of $30,000 to the sale price of homes.
Outside of every other benefit that residential solar power systems bring to the table, they add to the dollar value of homes because they simply cost lots of money to purchase and install.
Power Outages Won’t Threaten Your Family’s Access to Power
Across 2000 and 2001, the state of California suffered from a number of electrical grid blackouts during times when residents needed electricity the most. Take, for example, the California electricity crisis’ first wave of blackouts on June 14, 2000, when nearly 100,000 utility customers’ residences found themselves without power during a near-record-breaking heat wave.
In January and March 2001, blackouts affected a total of two million customers across a total span of four days.
Imagine the frustration of being one of the many residences that were affected by the rolling blackouts, especially during a heat wave. Keep in mind that while utility companies that offer access to the electrical grid are generally stable, they aren’t as stable as a well-maintained residential solar panel system.Read More
Electricity from solar systems has never been more cost-effective. This is why it’s an appealing alternative for many homeowners. When you are thinking about installing solar power to your home, it’s easy to get caught up in the details.
Here are the three primary kinds of home solar arrangements:
They all have their advantages and disadvantages, so we’re going to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
A solar system that’s grid-tied relies on your local electrical grid. The DC power produced with the photovoltaic (PV) paneling gets transferred through a grid-tied inverter that transforms it into AC electricity. This kind of power is compatible with the grid.
If you’re buying or leasing a grid-tie arrangement, you’ll sign a net metering agreement with the utility firm. The terms are usually dependent on your state, but typically set the price of the power meter and the power transferred to the grid.
Off-grid arrangements have the ability to run independently from the grid. Additional hardware is needed to attain this standard. DC electricity produced by the PV panels gets transferred into a charge controller. This measures and controls the charge rather than the utility company’s grid.
It gets fed to a DC battery bank after that where it is placed into storage. The charge controller will figure out if it needs to full-load charge, trickle charge or stop the current from overloading the bank.
Your house links up to the battery bank with a power inverter. This inverter transforms the DC electricity from your batteries into the 120V AC electricity used by the majority of outlets.
Even though lead-acid car batteries could be utilized to make a battery bank, this isn’t advised. These batteries lifespans are very expedited, particularly if they’re used each day. Such batteries squander roughly 20% of the energy stored. This waste precious power and undermines the “green” aspect of your solar system.
If you want the best of both of these options, you could choose a hybrid solar arrangement. When you use a hybrid setup, the solar battery gets utilized as a reserve if the grid were to go down.
Because it is being utilized as a reserve rather than a full-time connection, the battery releases energy infrequently. This increases its life. The battery you won’t be replaced as frequently as the other choices and you won’t have to buy a backup generator. Remember that battery banks don’t get charged when the power goes out. Solar panels that are tied to the grid are meant to and their power production in the event that the power goes out.Read More
Living off the grid doesn’t suit everyone’s lifestyle even though it offers some benefits that everyone should go for. There is no surety as to efficiency and how long the non-renewable resources will meet your power needs. This piece will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of living off the grid.
Living off the grid means that the energy bills will be slashed down drastically. Also, solar panels are designed to last for ages and will save you money in the long run. In some cases, if you are able to harness surplus solar energy, you may sell the power to your neighbors or electricity suppliers and make some money.
Independence From Utility Grid Services
Ongoing dependency on the utility grid often limits your uses and personal desires. Producing your power gives you the liberty to shift and settle anywhere, without having to worry about electricity connection in the area you want to settle. If you dream to live in a remote area away from all the city hassle, you might want to consider living off the grid.
Environmentally Friendly Option
Conserving the environment has been a great concern in the 21st century. Every project targeted at preserving the environment must be taken seriously. Living off the grid is one of the best ways of conserving the environment. Switching to renewable energy helps reduce global emissions, which is a step forward in containing global warming.
High Startup Costs
Ideally, living off the grid will save you money in the long run. However, the initial start-up costs can be quite high. For instance, investing in a 5kW solar panel will cost you up to $35,000 while a wind turbine will have you spending up to $65,000. Also, various climatic conditions may or may not favor your choice of renewable energy. A solar panel is certainly a cheaper option, but it may not be of use in a frosty area.
Initial Setup And Maintenance Costs
Producing your energy requires you to be self-dedicated to learning about the process and systems and perform regular ongoing maintenance practices. It is entirely up to you to figure out the best renewable energy systems that suit your needs. And even after installation, the system will need a regular check-up to ensure they are performing as they should.
Insufficient Power Supply
Depending on self-harnessed energy may not entirely meet your energy needs. You might need to look for a complementary source of energy if you need a lot of power. Also, weather is prone to change and may distract your systems in some months of the year. In those cloudy days, you will harness less solar energy and this is likely to affect your lifestyle.
If you decide to get off the grid, you may want to weigh the pros and cons. Observe your area of interest and decide if it’s worth the shot. In most cases, switching to renewable energy eventually pays off.Read More
When you want to go off the grid with your PV solar system, you’re going to need a battery bank to store potential energy. Lead-acid batteries dominate the market when it comes to solar PV systems. They’ve been available for years and have the same look as car batteries. The operating principle involves using deep-cycles to produce small shots of prolonged energy.
Other than the most widespread flooded lead-acid kind of battery, a few more alternatives are out there such as gel-cell and sealed absorbent glass mat (AGM). The weakest part of any PV solar system is most often the battery. This is because they wear out faster than any other part and lower performance at the same time it is happening. Make sure your system is in top shape with a high caliber battery.
Choosing the Right Battery Bank
1. Figure out the number of watt-hours your unit is going to consume by referring to our article on how to size your PV solar system the right way.
2. Determine the number of days you want in energy for your system. One question you can consider is “how significant is autonomy to me?” Is being tied to the grid alright with you? If this is the case, batteries aren’t even something you need. After you figure out the answer to questions like these, choose the number of storage days you want and need. The majority of systems are made to fit 1-5 days of storage power.
3. Figure out what kind of battery is right for your situation.
4. Because lead-acid batteries usually lose 20-25% of their storage capacity in temperatures that reach 30ºF, intend to keep them someplace warm. The ideal temperature is between 50-85ºF and 77ºF is the perfect temperature. When storing them someplace warm is not in the picture, buy extra batteries as a safety measure.
5. The more you can simplify your battery bank choice, the better it will be. Pick one with a single series string of cells. There is less of a chance of something going wrong than with one with multiple strings. There also more convenient to replace if broken.
6. If you see yourself upgrading your system with more units in the future, purchase a bigger bank than you feel is necessary. You can’t expand this part as easily. Straining your battery bank is a surefire way to have a condition marked by chronic undercharging. This can also create a situation where the batteries fail earlier than normal. Try to fill your battery bank up to 30-40% more power than is needed for the current demand.
Purchase a battery monitor system (BMS) and set it up where you can see it easily. These kinds of tools for battery management has the ability to extend the lifespan of your batteries and give you an easier time with maintenance.Read More
Solar power for many people is considered to be the future of energy. Solar energy has a variety of long-term benefits, which include reduction of fossil fuel reliance and reduced energy bills for those that have their own panels. While there are clear benefits that come with having your own solar panels and system installed in your home, this benefit does come with some significant upfront costs. While it can seem like these costs are too much to incur upfront, there are a variety of financing options that you could take advantage of.
Today, most of the major providers of solar panels and installation services are well aware that the cost can be too much to take on for some homeowners. In order to reduce the upfront cost, a solar panel company is often able to partner with a finance company to offer attractive loan options. This will allow you to pay off the cost over the installation over several years. In many situations, the amount of money that you save on electricity will offset your monthly loan payment.
Solar Lease Plans
Another way that you can finance your solar panels is through the use of solar lease plans. When you have a solar lease plan in place, you will have a limited amount of upfront costs, but you will be simply leasing the panels from a third-party. This benefit normally will also come with maintenance and installation services. Those that have a solar lease plan in place will also have the ability to purchase the solar panels in the future based on a predetermined purchase price.
There are also a few different mortgage providers today that offer specialty mortgages that can include a provision to make energy-efficient upgrades to your home while using long-term mortgage proceeds. Through the US government loan program Fannie Mae, you can take advantage of the Energy Efficient Mortgage program. Under these programs, you can receive loan proceeds that are pegged to be used for energy-efficient home improvements. This often includes investing in solar panels. To qualify for the loan, you will need to have an acceptable LTV and personal credit score. However, the key advantage is that you will be able to make these payments over a thirty-year period, which can reduce the monthly expense.
Ultimately, having solar panels installed in your home is a long-term investment. However, you will eventually recoup this investment through reduced energy bills on a monthly basis and you could also see the value of your home appreciate.Read More
You believe that solar power would be beneficial to your home, so you wish to purchase solar panels. Should you do the job yourself, or should you hire a professional? Consider the following pros and cons before you make your decision:
Hiring a Professional
The professionals have the experience necessary to do the job right. Solar companies that have been in business for several years have at least that many years of experience installing solar panels. In addition to that, some states require that these companies obtain licenses and meet qualifications to do this job. These professionals are also in a position to know how to determine how much solar energy your particular home requires as well as the appropriate permits.
The professionals can obtain better materials. Professionally installed solar panels are of higher quality, and generally, this means that they will last longer. They can also purchase high-quality equipment that you cannot purchase at Home Depot. Professionals will also offer you a warranty, so if they need to come back in the future, your repairs may be covered.
There is a lot of paperwork when you hire a professional. The work cannot begin until after you apply for the permits and applications. The company helps you do these things, but the amount of time that it will take to complete the job will be extended. In addition, you may be denied a permit or your utility company may have too many regulations, so your choice of installer will be limited.
Do-It-Yourself Solar Panel Installation
When you purchase a solar kit rather than hire a professional, you will save a lot of money. If you were to have a 5 kilowatt system installed, it would cost between $35,000 and $45,000. If you do the job yourself, you will save on the installation expenses. Therefore, your solar panels will cost around $15,000 for the same type of system.
It’s easy to find a solar panel kit online or at Home Depot. A professional installer would need to order the equipment, and you might have to wait several weeks for it to arrive. Doing it yourself means that you can get started any time you want.
You will have to be familiar with electrical work and construction to do this job right. You have to choose the right size and then you need to buy the equipment. Then, you will have to connect the panels and the inverter and then route the wiring from the inverter to a meter or battery. If you don’t know anything about electricity, you will be in danger of electric shock or starting a fire.Read More
Many business owners — and even homeowners — are turning to solar electricity as it becomes more readily available. Solar panels can reduce electricity costs, are better for the environment, and last for about 20 years before having to be replaced. Using solar power also boosts property value and makes the owner eligible for certain tax credits and rebates.
Though they can help save on monthly bills, installing solar panels can be expensive. It can cost between $25,000 and $35,000 to install a solar panel system in a home. Many factors go into this price, such as how much roof space the building has and the distance from an electricity grid connection.
Luckily, many financing options are available specifically for solar panel installations.
Solar loans allow for the owner to pay for the solar installation over a fixed term. They are usually offered by a solar energy company or traditional financial institution with a low interest rate and fast approval time. A solar loan is a good way to avoid the upfront expenses of using solar energy. The borrower is generally given complete ownership of the solar panels as soon as they are built, so he or she can start benefiting from them immediately.
PPAs versus Solar Leases
Like solar loans, PPAs (power purchase agreements) and solar leases are a way to avoid the cost of solar installation. But they differ in that the ownership of the panels goes to a third party, to whom a monthly fee is paid for use of the panels.
The difference between a lease and a PPA is that with a lease the equipment is being rented, and with a PPA the power being generated by the panels is being purchased at low price. Anyone who wants to someday own the solar panels should get a lease.
While leases and PPAs will help save a lot on power bills — between 10 and 30 percent — all tax benefits will go to the owners of the panels. On the plus side, the owners are also responsible for all repairs and maintenance.
Purchasing Solar Panels Outright
Of course, anyone can purchase solar panels with cash. But if someone doesn’t have the cash and doesn’t like any of the previous options, he or she can apply for an Energy Efficient Mortgage. They are available through the United States government and certain financial institutions. One may qualify for one of these if he or she is purchasing a property that is already eco-friendly in some way. However, some may also qualify if they are simply looking to upgrade their current property.Read More
What are SRECs?
SRECs are credits that you can obtain from your state when you produce energy produced from a home solar arrangement. A single SREC can be earned if your solar panel arrangement generates 1,000 kWhs of power.
When you happen to produce 5,000 kWhs of power from solar sources a year, five SRECs would be yours. Every SREC you gain is available to be sold back to utilities.
Tip: SRECs are not the same power your home solar energy system makes. This is the reason you could’ve consumed all of the power you generated from solar sources and earned SRECs at the same time.
What is the worth of an SREC?
SRECs are tradable commodities. This means their market price is brought about by supply and demand.
When the amount of SRECs grows, the price decreases. The less SRECs there are in the hands of solar owners, the more the prices increase. Prices could vary from less than $50 to over $300 an SREC. An increase in price will be the year of your best interest, but limits have been established to make sure the state of the market is sort of stable.
A significant element that helps the SREC market are solar alternative compliance payments (SACP). SACPs are basically fines that are paid to the state through utilities when the SRECs are sufficient to fulfill state demands.
Tip: You could look over bid prices in New Jersey from SRECTrade to view an example of SREC prices. You will see prices that increase year by year for the Garden State.
SRECs and the Renewable Portfolio Standard
SRECs are available in states that have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). An RPS needs the state to provide a predetermined amount of power from sources of renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.).
Tip: When a state’s RPS has special determinations for solar power, it is usually designated as a solar carve-out. If you’re looking for more information regarding your state, look at the database of State incentives regarding renewable energy (DSIRE). They have a site for RPS data and various other state regulations.
Getting SRECs Up and Running
Your home solar arrangement has to be registered and certified to be able to sell SRECs. The process involved with registering your home’s solar system is it going to be determined by your state. Make sure you look over each one of the requirements prior to installation.
You will usually need to register your home’s solar system before the installation even starts. To find out more about registration, look up more information about DSIRE. Certain government websites have more information on SREC registration.Read More
It is estimated that one million homes have solar panels. The price of solar panels is decreasing while the value of them is increasing. If you plan on buying or selling a home with a solar panel, then there are several things that you will need to take into consideration.
Buying a Home With a Solar Panel
You will be able to reap the benefits of a solar panel without having to install one if you purchase a home that already has one. However, you should check to see if the solar panel has been purchased or leased. If the solar panel has been purchased, then you will own the solar panel.
It is harder to buy a home with a leased solar panel. The lease can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. You will need a contract if you buy a home with a leased solar panel.
Selling a Home With a Solar Panel
Solar panels can increase the value of a home by $15,000. Many people prefer a home with a green feature. That is why if a home has a solar panel, then it will be more likely to get sold.
However, the benefits of a solar panel apply to the ones that are purchased not leased. Fannie Mae has stated that solar panels cannot be included in the value of the home. Before you put the house on the market, you will need to go over the details of the purchase or lease.
If you purchased the solar panel with a secured loan, then you will need to pay it off before you sell the home. You will still have to pay off the remaining balance if you have an unsecured loan. If you have leased the solar panel, then you will need to decide whether you should pay off the solar panel or get the buyer to take over the lease.Read More