Do You Participate In Cap Liheap Or Any Other Low
CAP is a low-income assistance program. Funds are used to pay a part of your electricity bill if you fall below a certain income threshold.
LIHEAP is a program that assists low-income households with their heating bills in the winter. If, like us, your heat is run through electric, they can help with your electric bill instead.
This was the most frustrating part for me. I couldnt find a single company that participated in these programs. Were not on either of these programs at this time, but if youre trying to save the world, wouldnt you want to make solar and wind energy available to low-income households, as well?
I found out that its a little more complicated than that. Colarulli was the only one who took the time to explain that while they can participate in some states, they cannot participate in others. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not one of those states.
The Difference Between Off
Your utility generates and distributes electricity through the electric grid. If you install a grid-tied solar system, youll be connected to the grid. Youll be able to draw grid power from your utility when your system isnt generating energy, and youll be able to send your excess energy to the grid for credit in many states .
An off-grid system is, of course, not connected to the utility grid. In exchange for that sweet, sweet freedom, you wont have access to electricity other than what is generated by your solar system and what is stored in batteries, or what is produced by an onsite generator. However, you will be able to power your home or business if the grid goes down.
When it comes down to it, most solar energy systems installed in the United States today are, at least partly, installed to save money on electric. They are not installed with the intention of being a completely independent power source. For many people, the money theyre saving and the reliability they get makes grid-tied solar the more popular option. However, this also means that the majority of the solar systems in the United States wont be able to generate electricity when the grid goes down.
Ways To Get Solar Power In Your Home Without Putting Panels On Your Roof
Want to reap the benefits of plentiful solar power, but want or need to avoid installing solar panels on the roof of your home?
Whether youre worried about aesthetics, lack adequate sun-exposed roof, or have a homeowners association to contend with, dont worrythere are countless ways for a savvy person to benefit from solar power in 2019, from ground based solar panels in terrestrial systems to personal devices with built-in solar charging.
Here are our top 16 ways of getting access to solar power in your home, without putting panels on your roof.
Read Also: What Can You Run Off Solar Panels
The Two Methods Of Storing Energy
The limitations of solar power generation are where energy storage comes in. Notice that I didnt say batteries. That is because batteries are not the only way that you can store energy produced by your solar panels. To use energy during the night hours, youll need an energy source, but practically, this energy could also come from the standard power grid.
You might say that the whole point of using solar is to avoid the grid, but practically the goal is to offset as much of the dirty energy supply as possible. If you are producing enough energy for your needs with your system during the day, you can think of the grid as a giant battery that you sometimes take energy from and sometimes add power to freely.
Step : The Cells Produce Electrical Current
Within each solar cell is a thin semiconductor wafer made from two layers of silicon. One layer is positively charged, and the other negatively charged, forming an electric field. When light energy from the sun strikes a photovoltaic solar cell, it energizes the cell and causes electrons to come loose from atoms within the semiconductor wafer. Those loose electrons are set into motion by the electric field surrounding the wafer, and this motion creates an electrical current.
Also Check: How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Run A House
Community Solar Helps The Environment
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, , the average utility customer who enrolls in a Community Solar project by having typical home solar energy system in Lewiston will benefit the environment the same as any of the following, EVERY YEAR FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS!
- Taking 2 cars off the road
- Not driving 22,000 miles
- Not consuming 1,000 gallons of gasoline
- Not burning 10,000 lbs. of coal
- Not consuming 20 barrels of oil
- Recycling 390 trash bags full of waste
- Planting 150 trees
Enrolling in Community Solar is the simplest, most effective way to go solar power and benefit the environment!
Using Solar Power + Batteries
Adding a battery to your solar system may seem like the most obvious choice, but having the security of a battery backup comes at a considerable cost. In addition to your standard system cost, youll need to purchase the batteries, pay to install them, maintain them and replace them over time. It is an enormous extra cost if you arent 100% sure that youll need them.
To be fair, there is simply nothing else other than batteries that will save you during an extended power outage. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters or have an unreliable power grid, then batteries may make sense for you.
Many people have looked at the costs of running batteries on their system and have found that you will be losing a sizable percentage of your generated power to charging/discharging losses as well as not being able to compensate for the inherent losses occurring during the winter months.
Another important note about battery-only systems: most state rebates and incentives mandate that you connect your system to the grid to receive them. This stipulation means that depending on where you live, it could be at best a financially poor decision and at worst illegal to operate a solar system without being connected to the grid.
For more on this see:
Also Check: What’s The Cost Of Solar Panels
Curiosities About Solar Energy
Use of solar energy is near a solution. This was the headline in the New York Times on 4 April 1931. It turned out to be a premonition, since, 80 years later and electricity is being supplied to millions of human beings in the world from renewable energies such as solar. Humanity has now declared its readiness to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, conscious of the finite nature of fossil fuels and their prejudicial effects on the environment as the main cause of global warming.
As the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda chimed in El Sol: I am a man of light, of so much rose, such predestined clarity, I will die from shining.
Solar energy, on the other hand, will never die of shining, since the Sun still has 6.5 billion years of life according to NASA. Indeed, in rather less time, solar technology in some countries has evolved to compete with conventional sources of electricity generation. In just a few decades time, it will become the major part of a sustainable energy system for the world.
Additionally, the conditions for the development of solar energy could not be more perfect: the Sun bathes the Earth hourly with enough light and heat to fulfill global needs for a whole year in other words, solar radiation can satisfy our energy needs 4,000 times over.
As the publication Renewable Energies Info estimates, the Earths surface receives 120,000 Terawatts of solar irradiation, which represents 20,000 times more power than the whole planet needs.
What Happens If You Have Solar And The Power Goes Out
So youve got some shiny solar panels on your roof and youre making a lot of your own electricity. Your power bills are nearly eliminated and youre feeling like an environmental champion. Then one windy night, a storm blows down a huge tree on your block and the power goes out. When the morning sun shines over the horizon, will your refrigerator be running? Probably not.
If you have solar panels on your roof, youre most likely connected to the electric grid in your area. That means you draw power from the utility company at night, and when your panels cant make as much energy as you need at any given time. You also send power to the grid when your panels produce more than you need.
When the power goes out, most home solar installations are designed to shut down in order to stop them from feeding power back into the very wires that might be the source of the outage. After all, you dont want your solar panels to be the reason utility workers are injured by live voltage in downed power lines.
But what good are solar panels on a roof if they cant make electricity? Theres got to be a way to keep the power on, right? What about batteries, or preventing solar energy from flowing to the grid when its down? Read on to discover the answers to these questions.
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!
Harnessing Solar Power Without Solar Panels
- 16 July 2020 |
- read 654 times.
Solar power is at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution. This form of power typically relies on photovoltaic solar panels that capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. However, there are other ways to harness solar power without using solar panels.
Harnessing solar power without solar panels
Traditional solar panels function by letting photons from sunlight to knock electrons away from atoms. The movement of these electrons generates electricity that can be stored or sent to the grid. This form of solar power relies on the photons in light for creating power.
Another method for generating solar power known as concentrated solar power relies on the heat from sunlight to generate electricity.
Concentrated solar power stations are located in warm regions that receive ample sunlight throughout the year. These stations feature hundreds, if not thousands of outdoor mirrors that are arranged so that they all reflect sunlight onto a small area.
This concentrated sunlight is used to heat molten salt located inside a central tower to 1050°F. The molten salt is then stored in a large insulated tank where its heat is used to make steam. This steam is then used to rotate a turbine and generate electricity.
Benefits of concentrated solar power
Concentrated solar power offers many advantages over traditional photovoltaic solar panels. These include:
Easier energy storage
Gamma Solutions Markting
Also Check: How Many Years Does A Solar Panel Last
Will Free Solar Panels Save You Money
You may have various reasons for going solar. If youre like most people, saving money, eliminating your utility bills and/or reducing your carbon footprint are probably at the top of the list. The environmental benefits of going solar are more or less the same regardless of who installs your system, so its key to focus on the financial benefits.
Regardless of its do-good image, the solar industry is an industry like any other: the companies offering products are looking to turn a profit. Providers of solar leases make their money by selling you electricity, usually at a lower rate than what you pay your utility.
Although companies like SolarCity once dominated the market for solar leases, countless other players have since entered the space and begun competing with each other. Some solar leases will save you more money than others. You as a solar shopper can now take your pick of company based on their offer. So even if financial gain is secondary to environmental considerations for you, you should still shop around to make sure youre getting the best deal.
Interested in learning about your local solar options? By shopping on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace you can compare not only solar lease options, but also purchase and solar loan options. Sign up today to get quotes from solar installers in your area.
How To Go Solar Without The Rooftop Panels
Next Avenue Contributor
Bill Rice says his solar array covers 80% of his electricity use in upstate New York.
As the winter of 2019 bore down on the upstate New York suburb of Guilderland, Mary Anne Bettcker, 65, got a curious letter in the mail. A company named Arcadia was pitching solar power not from her roof, but from an unspecified new community solar project.
One of the things that struck Bettcker as odd was that Arcadia was a long way from her community. It was based halfway across the country, in Tulsa, Okla. To sweeten the deal, the companys letter offered a $75 gift card, as well as a 5% discount on Bettckers electric bill.
It was almost like a come-on, like sales for a car, she laughs. It just seemed ridiculous.
Also on Forbes:
Recommended Reading: What Is The Cost Per Kilowatt Hour For Solar Energy
Meaning & History Of Solar Energy
Solar cells capture the suns light and convert it to electricity . This process is known as photovoltaic. It can be used to power businesses, cars, homes, calculators, and other appliances.
Traversing the history of solar energy, solar cell technology got pioneered during the industrial revolution. In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerellar explained the concept of the photovoltaic effect and its ability to convert solar energy into electricity.
Albert Einstein also took a deep interest in this subject and explored the effect of photoelectric, for which he won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. This theory helped the world understand how light produces energy.
Option : Power Your Small Appliances Only With Portable Solar Panels
If none of the other options provide a solution for you, it’s still possible to invest in smaller panels that charge your devices. The benefit of these small panels is their portability. You can move them around to follow the sun and take them with you if you move house.
If you’d like to learn about the types of everyday products you can use to offset your electricity bill, take a look at this resource.
Although this option won’t make a massive dent in your electricity bill, the benefits will slowly stack up. Solar technology is getting cheaper and cheaper with each passing day, while the panels become even better at harnessing the power of the sun.
Don’t Miss: Do It Yourself Solar Water Heater
Cheap Ways To Get Solar Power At Home Asap
Not everyone needs large-scale solar panels. These budget alternatives offer the benefits of solar energy without the big price tag.
Did you know that the cost of installing a solar power system for all of your electricity needs can be as much as $20,000 ? Ouch. But wait, don’t give up on solar just yet. If making your entire home solar is out of your budget, you can still add smaller and less expensive solar elements that help save on electricity. Let’s take a look at the options.
Looking For Free Solar Panels Try Financing Your System With A Solar Loan Instead
The revolutionary thing about solar leases was that they made it possible for virtually anyone with a roof to go solar, regardless of whether they had cash in the bank to purchase a system. Solar leases were crucial in removing barriers to entry back when solar system prices were prohibitively high.
But times have changed substantially since solar leases were introduced. Solar systems are now more affordable than ever, now that financing options other than solar leases have become viable. The most important of these is the solar loan, which combines the zero-down aspect of the solar lease with the benefits of system ownership .
The falling cost of solar
So before you sign up for the first free solar panel or no cost solar program deal that comes your way, make sure you understand what youre being offered and that youve considered all of your other options. In other words, be a smart solar shopper.