Solar Installation: How To Find A Qualified Installer
Its important you choose a certified installation company because they will be able to advise you on all regulations. It’s best to talk to a few installers and get their estimates. Most of them will give you an idea of costs over the phone before arranging a survey on your home. Ask them how long the work will take as well as what the warranty and/or guarantee for their work is. If any guarantees are insurance-backed this will help you avoid any surprises later. If you’re looking to qualify for FiT then your system will need to be installed by a Microgeneration Certification Scheme accredited installer.
How Does Grid Connection Work With Solar Panels
Though electricity generation with solar panels may make sense to most people, theres still a lot of general confusion about how the grid factors into the home solar process. Any home that is connected to the electrical grid will have something called a utility meter that your energy provider uses to measure and supply power to your home. When you install solar panels on your roof or on a ground mount on your property, they are eventually connected to your homes utility meter. The production of your solar system can actually be accessed and measured by this meter.
Most homeowners in the U.S. have access to net metering, a major solar incentive that significantly improves the economics of solar. If you have net metering, you can send power to the grid when your solar system is overproducing in exchange for credits on your electric bill. Then, during hours of low electricity production , you can use your credits to draw extra energy from the grid and meet your household electricity demand. In a sense, net metering offers a free storage solution to property owners who go solar, making solar an all-in-one energy solution.
The Cost Of Solar Power Systems
Most homeowners in the U.S. can expect to pay between $18,000 and $20,000 for a solar panel installation before any incentives are considered. This works out to between $2.75 and $3.35 per watt of solar installed, and is over 70% cheaper than what solar cost just 10 years ago!
Learn more: Solar panel cost
Once you consider the federal solar tax credit, which covers 26% of solar installation costs, the average total cost of a solar installation drops down to between $13,320 and $14,800 – not bad!
Many states and utilities throughout the U.S. offer additional solar rebates, too. You can use our solar panel savings calculator to get a better idea of how much solar incentives can save you in your area.
Find out if going solar is worth it based on your location
Despite being cheaper than ever, solar is still a pretty substantial investment. Luckily, there are several ways that homeowners can finance a solar panel system including solar loans, solar leases, and solar PPAs. Plus, you don’t have to worry about substantial maintenance costs when it comes to solar – once your panels are installed, system maintenance is minimal.
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Solar Trackers: What Are They
You might have observed some solar panels tilting towards the changing position of the sun in the sky. This is done by a solar tracker to maximize exposure of the solar cells to sunlight.
But is this investment worth it? It depends on your needs. Typically, the tracking hardware costs way above the solar panels! So if space is not much of a concern to you, simply invest in more solar panels.
Large-scale solar power farms can use this technology as the cost will drastically reduce as you scale the operation.
How Does Net Metering Work
Net metering works to send any extra energy that your solar panel system produces back to the power grid, and you are credited for that energy at a 1 to 1 ratio . Those credits can be used on future electric bills. Note that some utility companies do not offer net metering. Overall, this is a great incentive for solar energy use.
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So How Do Solar Panels Work To Generate Electricity
Ready for your second science lesson? Each PV cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semi-conducting material such as silicon. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it prompts electrons to be set in motion which initiate a flow of electric current known as the photovoltaic effect.
You got distracted thinking about BLTs, didnt you? Dont worry, it happens. Lets get back on topic and break down how it works:
Guarantee Major Savings With Solar Panels
If you want to start saving money on electricity, the first place to start is comparing solar panel system quotes. Thats where EnergySage can help: when you sign up for a free account on the EnergySage Marketplace, we provide you with custom quotes from installers in your area. So what are you waiting for get started with your own clean energy journey with EnergySage today!
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Solar And Your Utility Meter
Another important component of your system is your utility meter. It will track how much solar electricity your home produces. The more electricity your panels generate, the less electricity you will need to buy from your utilityand the lower your utility bills will be.
2021 Homeowner Savings Guide
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Are Pole Mounts Viable Options
Pole mounts are still a viable option in countries experiencing icy winters. A pole mount is essentially a tall-standing pole that raises the solar panel above the ground. The high height ensures the winter ground snow doesnt bury the solar panels array. The poles also allow the solar panels company to tilt the panels so that snow can easily slide off. The poles may be of variable height depending on proximity to obstructions.
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How A 100% Green Electricity Plan Is A Great Alternative To Solar Panels
With its perpetually sunny climate, Texas ranks in the top 10 U.S. states in its cumulative solar capacity. As a result, the Texas solar industry has grown rapidly in terms of electricity generation and the number of people it employs. With it, household enthusiasm for solar panels has also increased. However, the two main concerns people have when it comes to solar panel installation are production capacity and costs.
Solar panels in residential settings currently face limitations since most homes have no way of storing extra solar power on sunny days when solar panels create more electricity than the home can use. Thankfully, further technological progress will likely address this storage problem, as it plagues the entire industry.
In regard to costs, regular electricity companies can offer lower rates on traditional electricity plans than those powered by solar energy because of an economic concept called economies to scale. In essence, the costs for each additional unit of output decrease as more output is created. In other words, because more households are connected to the Texas electricity grid than use solar panels, the average cost of electricity is lower for each household than it would be with individual solar panels.
Click here to learn how Chariot Energy is cutting out the middlemen and providing customers 100% clean, renewable solar energy.
Solar Power Is A Free Source Of Energy
The sun provides us with more energy than we could ever use, and no one can monopolise the sunlight. Your solar power system will start saving money from the moment its turned on, however, the advantages of solar power are best visible in the long-term. The longer you have your solar power system, the more you enjoy the benefits of solar technology and support the environment.
Aside from solar electricity, solar energy has a second application. We often associate solar energy with electricity, which is acquired through PV panels, but its also possible to use the energy generated by the sun for heating purposes. This process is accomplished by deploying solar thermal systems that simply convert the sunlight into heating solutions.
The acceptance of solar technology is at hand and we can start by increasing our use of solar panels.
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Charging Batteries With Solar Power
Virtually any device that operates on a battery can be charged with solar power via some type of photo-electric panel system. The nature of photo-electric solar panels is to generate DC current, which is the same form used in most batteries. Many basic and inexpensive solar panel kits have connections that allow you to plug in cell phones, pad devices, and laptops for direct charging. And by adding a simple inverter that converts DC current to 120-volt AC current, you can also plug in the chargers for other batteries.
On a much larger scale, as we’ll soon see, a large bank of solar panels can charge a whole bank of storage batteries that can power nearly any 120-volt AC devicesright up to serving your entire house.
What Are Solar Panels
Solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells, which turn sunlight into electricity. This electricity can then be fed into your home’s mains electricity supply.
The technology behind solar is relatively old, despite their futuristic appeal, but while the basics are the same the efficiency of solar panels has improved greatly in recent years.
Itâs worth noting that solar panel suppliers often have two types of solar panels on offer: thermal panels and photovoltaic panels. The former are used only to heat water.
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Building Your Panel Box
Conserve Solar Electric Energy
Make changes in how your family uses electricity to maximize the benefits of your existing solar electric system. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that appliances and home electronics account for around 20 percent of average household energy bills . Turn off and unplug electronics, such as televisions, computers and kitchen appliances, when not in use to avoid “phantom loads” — small energy consumption that results even when electronics are turned off .
Trim lighting consumption by 50 percent to 75 percent by switching out incandescent light bulbs for CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps . Save energy on outdoor porch lighting by changing to motion-sensor units that only turn on when you need them. Install stand-alone solar garden lights that collect their own energy during the day and turn on automatically at dusk rather than lights wired into your electric system.
Trim your energy use on other household appliances. Adjust your thermostat to use less air conditioning or heating. Put your clothing on the line instead of expending electricity to run the dryer. These and other easy, sensible modifications in your electric consumption help you use solar power comfortably and sustainably.
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How Can I Use Solar Power In My Home
The use of solar power in the home is becoming an attractive proposition for a growing number of people. Many people use solar power by harnessing the sun’s energy to heat their homes and to run different appliances. It is an economical and earth-friendly way to bring power into the home, and can cut external power consumption by 50 to 70%. There are a number of ways you can use solar power in the home, including through solar heat systems and solar panels that generate electricity.
Once implemented in the home, solar water heating can be used to heat the home and to generate hot water. A collector mounted on a roof or other elevated area is used to absorb the thermal energy from the sun, often magnifying the heat and storing the resulting hot water. This heat can be used to supply hot water to the home, or it can be piped through radiators to provide warmth. This can not only lower utility bills, but also add value to your home when you come to sell it.
Can Solar Panels Be Used Anywhere
Yes, solar panels can be used almost everywhere. However there are some key factors that make it an efficient source of energy including , solar panels are more efficient in places or geographic areas that receive more sunlight and solar energy is inherently variable i.e. it is dependent on the time of day and also weather conditions. So its important to take into account the solar irradiation where you live to determine how cost-effective solar power is for your location.
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Annual Savings When Using The Electricity You Generate
Most households will use about 15-25% of the energy you generate, though this can change quite dramatically based on:
- Whether you work from home.
- How many people are at home during the day.
- Whether you have an electric vehicle.
- Whether you heat your home or hot water using a heat pump or other electrical heating.
- Whether your cooking is done using electricity.
Instead of sending surplus electricity to the grid, a PV diverter switch can power the immersion heater in your hot water tank, storing hot water for you to use later. On its own, excess solar energy is unlikely to meet all of your hot water needs, but it can help reduce your bills.
The Most Efficient Era Of Solar Panels Yet
Solar panels become more sophisticated every year. In fact, modern technology has ushered in the most efficient era of solar panels the world has ever seen. These new panels convert at an astonishing rate of 21-22%, which not only allows them to generate more energy for your home it also helps you potentially save more money!
More efficiency and lower production costs paint a bright future for solar energy. According to a 2019 report conducted by the International Energy Agency, solar power could potentially make up 60% of new renewable-based power capacity across the globe within the next five years.
Simply put, solar is here to stay because it works. Request a free quote today to see how it can work for you.
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When You Might Not Need A Solar Battery
If youre fine with drawing from the grid and not particularly worried about power outages, you might not need a battery. Most outages in the U.S. are fixed within a few hours or a day or two at the most.
A typical solar batterys storage capacity is sized to provide electricity to critical loads for about one or two days in case of a power outage. So, while a solar battery could smooth out that power loss, its a matter of weighing the cost of a battery versus the benefits to you.
Using solar power alone without energy storage and just pulling from the grid will still significantly reduce your carbon footprint. But if youre bothered by the idea of pulling power from fossil fuel plants at all, another option is selecting to use only renewable energy sources from your utility company when your panels arent producing. These renewable programs arent available everywhere yet, so check with your utility provider to see if its an option for you.
Lastly, although batteries themselves can qualify you for state rebates, such as Californias SGIP, some state, and local rebates and incentive rates are only available for systems connected to the grid. So, if you were counting on tax breaks and incentives, make sure you know whether or not you qualify if you go completely off-grid.
If you have any questions about any of this, Solar.com Energy Advisors know all the ins and outs. Feel free to ask away!