Category Archives for "Solar Rebates"

What Solar Panel Grants Are Available to Homeowners?

solar-panel-grants

Solar panel grants can reduce your costs to go solar

Interested in ways to drop your total installation cost? Maybe you’ve heard about solar panel grants and are wondering if there’s any you qualify for?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re focusing on grants for solar installations in the United States. Continue reading

Utility Death Spiral: Solar Raising Electricity Costs?

LED

We are all familiar with the argument being perpetrated, that those who go solar are raising costs for other ratepayers by selfishly making their own electricity so that then all the fixed costs for the shared grid fall disproportionately on the shoulders of those who don’t go solar.

Why is it that only those good citizens who go solar get the blame for causing the utility death spiral?

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Solar EV Program in Colorado: Huge Success!

nissan leaf solar ev

Solar EV: the first-ever promotion to bundle a solar roof with an electric vehicle by a coalition of municipal governments in Colorado during the last four months of 2015 was a huge success.

Colorado has innovated a marriage made in heaven: EV and PV

The program resulted in a sharp rise in EV purchases as more people were alerted to the powerful carbon-cutting synergistic relationship created by marrying rooftop solar to an EV in the garage. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) provided support.

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Net Metering: A Comprehensive Guide

net metering

Net metering is the policy that enables a homeowner to be credited by their utility when they generate more electricity from a solar array than they use.

You would think that those who go solar would be celebrated as heroes – because if everyone who could go solar did go solar, we’d all have a lot better shot at a livable climate. But instead, a nasty campaign of rumor-mongering is trying to take these true heroes down.

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What Is a Power Purchase Agreement?

power purchase agreement

As those utility bills keep continuing to climb, you know you need a way to get them under control. I began the process of learning about Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for that very reason.

  • What is a Power Purchase Agreement?
  • Are you interested in adding solar panels to your home or business, but lack the upfront capital to do so?
  • Do you want to start saving money on power from day one, instead of waiting for the system to, “pay for itself”?
  • Do you want to stop feeling guilty about how using power in your home is affecting the environment?
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Rent your Roof to a Well-Behaved Tenant: the Sun

solar_roof

In San Antonio, Texas, you can earn about $20 a month – or more – renting part of your home to the best behaved tenant you could wish for

No late night parties, no smoking, no loud quarrels, no cleaning costs when the tenant skips out in 6 months. This tenant is just no trouble at all and pays promptly every month.

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Federal Tax Credit (ITC) for Solar Energy Gets Extended

federal tax credit

The 30% solar ITC has been extended till the end of 2019!

In a truly surprising move, the US congress actually moved pre-emptively ahead of the 2016 expiration of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar to extend the ITC.

The ITC will now continue at 30% until the end of 2019 for both homeowners and businesses, and then step down to 26% in 2020, then 22% in 2021 before completely phasing out in January 2022. The ITC is essentially a 30% discount on the cost of going solar.

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New Supply Shock Will Raise Solar Cost

sunpower solar

A huge upswing in Chinese solar demand is about to rapidly raise the cost of going solar, with sold-out modules in 2016 coming from new shortages in solar supplies.

The cost of going solar has gone sharply down overall as a global solar glut due to several years of Chinese oversupply drove solar cost down over the last four years.

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Will Florida Ever Get Its Solar Energy Act Together?

We’ve talked about the problems plaguing Florida’s solar power before. Even with the building of a solar farm next to Walt Disney World, the Sunshine State has had trouble exploiting its abundant sunshine. According to the New York Times, they rank third in the nation for rooftop solar potential, but 13th in the actual amount of solar energy generated.

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Top 7 Disadvantages of Solar Energy

disadvantages of solar energy

Here’s a list of the top 7 disadvantages of solar energy

Even though we, understandably, are in favor of solar, everyone should be aware of all the disadvantages of solar energy before committing to anything.

#1 Solar power is expensive

Installing solar panels on your roof will save you money in the long run, but it’s not a cheap purchase upfront. Depending on which company you go with, it can cost a pretty penny, and is hard to figure out without input from companies and their quotes. Rebates and tax credits can help reduce the cost, but unless you’re saving up for this, it can be a huge detriment to someone looking to install solar. That said, solar prices have considerably dropped the past few years: the cost of a solar panel today is about $0.65 per watt, compared with $0.74 per watt a year ago and $4 per watt in 2008.

Related: Cost of Solar Panels Continues Massive Drop

#2 Solar panels are inefficient

If you read a lot about the solar industry you will often hear of efficiency records being broken. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what efficiency is. It is not as if a solar panel with 15% efficiency is just not working very hard. It’s easy to start to think that the ideal is supposed to be 100%.

But in fact, efficiency is simply about how much space it takes to produce the power. A 250 W panel with 15% efficiency makes the same power as a 250 W panel with 20% efficiency. The difference is the size. The more efficient panel will simply be smaller.

Higher efficiency is very important in powering small electronics because of the space issue. But a roof is generally large enough to make enough power for the average household use, so for rooftop solar it only comes into play when roof space is tight. More efficient panels are generally more expensive.

Related: Why Are Solar Panels Inefficient?

#3 Solar doesn’t work at night

Before going solar you have a one-way connection to the grid. When you go solar, you create a two-way connection, meaning you both consume and generate power. Since most people are away during the day when solar is producing energy, and home at night using power, the typical home will draw some power back from the grid when you need it just as you do now both day and night. Power produced during the day is in essence ‘stored’ in the grid.

In rare cases it makes sense to get a battery backup system. Currently adding a battery backup system can add tremendous cost to the solar system (think $10k+) and doesn’t make sense unless it’s crucial. If you choose to have your own battery backup with your system, your system and your battery would be sized so that you are 100% self-sufficient.

#4 Solar doesn’t work in cool, cloudy or foggy climates

Solar panels work just fine in ambient light and will produce significant energy in the fog or on overcast days. In fact, solar panels are actually more efficient at cooler temperatures than hot ones. Although this might seem counter-intuitive, consider that solar panels on a rooftop in cool, foggy San Francisco produce only one percent less electricity than one in nearby Sacramento, where it’s sunny and hot. Consider too that Germany leads the world in residential solar right now, and doesn’t have a sunny climate.

Related: Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

#5 You can’t move if you get solar

When you move, the solar leasing or contracting company will simply arrange to have the lease or the PPA switched to the new owner. Since the new owner will be continuing to pay less for their electricity than if your house didn’t have the solar system reducing the utility bill; they have no reason to want them taken down.

The larger solar leasing and contracting firms have specialists on staff to work with realtors and home inspectors and title agents to ensure the transfer is straightforward.

They can even educate realtors on the lifetime value of the lower electric bill and let them view the monitoring that shows how much is being saved. Realtors already know that home buyers understand the value of a good neighborhood public school, because that lowers education expenses over time. Similarly, a lifetime of lower energy bills has the same kind of long-term value for a potential buyer.

If for any reason, you prefer to take the solar system and take the lease or contract with you, that can be arranged too, but there would be a de-installation and re-installation cost of course in that case.

Related: Appraisals Up to $22,000 Higher for Solar Homes

#6 Solar panels have a negative energy balance

A study from Stanford researchers says that all the solar panels installed around the world produce enough energy to make up for the energy it took to make them. The future looks even brighter, according to the study, with researchers projecting that the industry will be generating enough power between 2015 and 2020 to offset all of the historic creation costs. Their full results were published today in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

#7 Solar panels are made of polluting materials

The fact that it is possible, even today, to recycle virtually all of a PV panel is not widely known. New products can be made of the recycled glass, aluminium, copper and plastic. Solar has a useful life of half a century, and is such a new industry that we’ve yet to see much end-of-life recycling, but it is a responsibility that must be addressed as time goes on.

Related: Recycling Solar Panels It’s time to think ahead!

Again, we’re a bit biased, but we think there are plenty of great reasons to support solar. We’ve written all over the site about the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy, and here are a few highlights.

Here are 4 Advantages of Solar Energy:

#1 Solar saves you money.

That’s right, adding solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of your home is going to save you tons of money. On average over 20 years, you’re likely to save up to or over $20,000, and even more if you live in particularly sunny or populous states where energy costs are higher. If you live in Hawaii, project savings are nearly $65,000! It doesn’t just save you money in energy, however…

#2 Solar can earn you money.

Recent reports indicate that homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for homes that have already installed solar panels. That means if you install rooftop panels on your house now, and decide to sell in a few years, your home could see an increase of up to $22,000!

#3 Solar offers energy reliability and security.

The sun goes up, and it goes back down, every day. Even with cloudy days, you’ll still experience enough sunlight to gather enough energy to power your house. And because the sun belongs to everyone in every corner of the globe, it can’t be monopolized. One day, there may be a monopoly on solar energy companies that create panels or sell back energy to utility companies, but you can’t patent the sun. Thus, your energy is safe and secure so long as you’re able to capture it. You essentially become an independent source of electricity, giving you energy independence!

#4 Solar power creates jobs.

As a source of energy, solar power has been steadily — even exponentially — creating jobs. The money invested into solar power creates new jobs in manufacturing and construction, along with research and development. Plus, an annual $150 billion clean-energy investment would generate a total of about 2.5 million jobs, according to the Political Economy Research Institute  at the University of Massachusetts. By contrast, spending the same $150 billion within the fossil-fuel industry would produce about 800,000 jobs.

#5 Solar power helps us build an environmentally friendly future.

Solar panel systems, when used efficiently, allow us to produce electricity without contributing to pollution. By investing in solar, the world over is investing in clean energy that will help reduce the negative effects of traditional energy and offer long-term benefits that help fight climate change.

What do you think gives solar the advantage? What makes it less beneficial compared to other clean energy? Tell us in the comments!

Image credit: via Pexels under CC license