Tag Archives for " solar basics "

Dallas Solar – Everything You Need to Know

solar panels dallas

Information about Solar Panels in Dallas, Texas

Texas’ electricity infrastructure is quite an anomaly when compared to most states. Instead of one electricity company both generating the electricity and maintaining the equipment to get it to you (poles, wires, transformers, etc), Texas is a deregulated market.

As such, Texas residents can purchase electricity from any electricity generation company they choose, though one company (Oncor in Dallas) is responsible for maintaining the local electricity grid.

Deregulation was meant to lower electricity prices for customers by introducing competition into an industry that has historically been dominated by quasi-monopolies regulated by the state.

In Dallas, you can choose from dozens of electricity providers. Some provide the cheapest electricity possible, while others are more expensive but offer incentives or bonus programs. Some even sell 100% clean energy (Green Mountain Energy, for example).

All this is great, but what if you want to produce your own electricity by installing solar? In this unique market, what kind of return could you see and how much would it cost? Does Dallas or its utilities offer any special incentives for going solar?

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Sunlight vs Intensity: Calculating Sun Hours Per Day by Zip Code

sun hours per day by zip code

How to determine if you get enough sun to make solar panels worth it

Do you live in a sunny state and think that solar panels may be a good investment to cut down on your energy bills and improve the value of your home? Or maybe you live in a less sunny state and believe solar panels would be suicide from an investment perspective. In reality, the decision to go solar is more complicated than just calculating sun hours per day by zip code.

Let’s figure out what is important to know about sunlight before you decide to go solar. Continue reading

Is it Possible for Solar Panels to Run Air Conditioner Units?

solar-panels-to-run-air-conditioners

How to ensure your solar system can manage AC – the biggest energy hog in any house

Can you use solar panels to run air conditioner units? In a word, yes. If your home is connected to the grid and your solar installation is net metered, it is possible to use solar energy to cool your house. Many homes already do this!

However, in another word: maybe. An AC unit requires a lot of electricity. If you live off-grid and have no method of backup power, your solar/battery system will need to be quite large.

Let’s take a look at AC energy requirements and typical solar production to see if solar panels can really run air conditioners in each setup.Continue reading

Solar Inverter Efficiency – What is the Most Efficient Solar Inverter?

solar-inverter-efficiency

Comparing the expense of an efficient inverter against what it would save you in the long run

Solar inverter efficiency determines how well an inverter converts the DC electricity created by solar panels to AC electricity that can be used in our homes and by the grid. Inverters are an integral part of any solar installation. Without them, our installations would actually be useless, since we couldn’t use the electricity they produced.

No inverter is 100% efficient, as there will always be at least some loss of energy during the conversion process. However, inverters today enjoy very high efficiency, converting between 95% to 98% of all the DC electricity generated into AC, with manufacturers always reaching for that next step in performance.

Is solar inverter efficiency really that important? Is it worth spending a couple extra bucks for the most efficient solar inverter you can find? Let’s take a look at inverter efficiency to answer these questions and more!Continue reading

How Big and Expensive is a 5kW Solar System?

5kw-solar-system

An average-sized installation for the average home.

Residential solar installations run from a measly 2kW to a monstrous 25kW (or even bigger). Twenty-five kilowatts (kW) is a huge solar installation (at least for residential projects), equal to about 100 solar panels.

Don’t have that much space on your roof? Don’t worry! Most installations, such as the 5kW solar system, are well below that size. Most of us don’t even use enough electricity to warrant an installation that big! In fact, according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (p.5), the average installation is about 5.6kW.

Today, let’s take a peek at a 5kW installation to understand exactly how big that is, how much you can expect to pay for one, and how much you can save by installing a system of this size.Continue reading

Is Purchasing Solar Panels in Cash Better than a Lease or Loan?

Purchasing-solar-panels

Looking to install solar, but not quite sure how to pay for it?

There’s actually a few different options for purchasing solar panels, from simply paying cash to taking out a loan or lease.

Which one’s best? Let’s run through each and discuss their pros and cons, as well as which one you should choose and why.Continue reading

Virginia Solar – Everything You Need to Know

virginia-solar

Information about Solar Panels in Virginia

Despite having some terrible gaps in their overall solar policy, installing solar in Virginia is still quite a lucrative investment thanks to the state’s decent net metering policy and sunny southern skies.

Saving over $15k by going solar in Virginia isn’t difficult, but of course, you need to do your homework first. What incentives are available? What do you need to connect your system to the grid? How much can you save?

We’re here to help with all these questions! Below, you’ll find all the information you need to make an informed decision on Virginia solar: savings estimates, info on solar policy, and a rundown of all incentives available to Virginia homeowners going solar.

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Tennessee Solar – Everything You Need to Know

tennessee-solar

Information about Solar Panels in Tennessee

Despite the state of Tennessee taking virtually no positive steps to encourage or reward homeowners to go solar, Tennessee homeowners can save over $17k with a mid-sized solar system -- thanks largely to TVA’s Green Power Provider program.

If you're looking for everything you need for Tennessee solar, you're covered! We’ve collected all the necessary information on going solar in Tennessee, including solar policies, available incentives, and savings estimates for average-sized installations. Ready to learn all about Tennessee solar? Let’s do it!

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Why Are Energy Prices Important to Your Solar Savings?

energy-prices

How much you save by going solar is directly related to your cost of electricity.

If you’ve received quotes or savings estimates from solar installers, you’ve probably noticed that your current electricity price is listed somewhere on the page. Next to or below that price, you’ll probably also see the phrase estimated utility rate increase, expressed as a percentage.

Typically, it’s something like “Current electricity price: $0.13 per kWh. Estimated utility rate increase: 2.5%”. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what this rate increase is, and if it’s really that important.

To keep it simple: Yes, it is!

Today, you’re getting a crash course in energy price increases. I know, I know. It sounds boring. But, by the end of this article, you’ll be able to rest assured knowing that your savings estimate is – or is not – an accurate look at your future savings. It’s that important!Continue reading

Washington, DC Solar – Everything You Need to Know

district-of-columbia-solar

Information about Solar Panels in Washington, DC

In Washington, DC (District of Columbia) solar is an excellent idea. With their fast rising electricity rates, fantastic REC program, and net metering regulations, homeowners in our nation's capital can save over $22k by installing an average-sized solar system.

Interested in going solar, but not sure where to start? We’ve got all the info you need below! Read on for savings estimates, financing options, available incentives, and relevant solar policies.

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