Solar calculators and solar checklists for going solar!

How to go solar today!

Consumers considering to go solar and don’t know where to start can now use the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) consumer solar checklist.

This checklist is targeted for residential solar consumers. It is a great tool and is downloadable as a PDF and would be a great starting point to let you know what information, questions, considerations as well as protective measures to consider before entering into a contract to install  a solar system.

The BeSolarSmart checklist has four consumer guiding concepts that will help you to shop for solar in a smart way. These concepts are as follows:

  1. Getting the most from your investment.
  2. Finding out your local utility’s policies of integrating and connecting solar.
  3. Ensuring safe installation.
  4. Securing a fair deal.

You can learn more about the above concepts by viewing the IREC checklist HERE.

How to go solar with solar calculators!

If you are just getting started, this consumer solar checklist would work well together will solar calculators reviewed here to help you tackle concepts 1 & 4 above.

For instance, getting the most from your investment is basically dealing with preliminary questions that will guide you to ensure you make the most out of your solar installation.

It is about knowing your specific solar energy potential by figuring out whether your roof is suitable for solar energy?

Is your roof shaded by trees and so on? Also it is about making solar comparisons with regards to solar installer offers in your area.

Also various financing options are presented to you based on your specific situation and you may want to know whether you should lease or buy solar.

One of the tools that is able is to help you compare solar quotes and determine your solar energy potential is EnergySage.

You can also access other online solar tools HERE that can also help you to answer questions such as how many solar panels you need? Are solar panels worth it? or other preliminary solar questions.

blogspot visitor

Are renewables essential to reach carbon neutrality?

The term carbon neutrality is becoming popular and there is a scientific consensus that the earth climate is warming. According to NASA: “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”

The electricity sector, which involves the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity, is one of the major contributors of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that cause climate change. Carbon dioxide is one of the major GHGs that is emitted in this sector, but other GHGs such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are also emitted but in smaller quantities.

To mitigate the effects of climate change, the carbon neutrality concept has been emerging and it refers to achieving net-zero carbon emissions that involve reducing the carbon released with an equivalent amount offset or buying enough carbon credits to fill the gap. Individuals or businesses mainly apply this concept to reduce their carbon footprint and help mitigate or reduce the effects of climate change.

Renewables are one way of reducing your carbon footprint, as they are carbon-neutral technologies and many organizations including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others are switching to renewable sources of energy to power their facilities or operations.

There are two common ways that are used by companies or individuals to move towards carbon neutrality. These two ways are:

  1. Buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) from green power markets.
  2. Installation of renewable energy systems in your home or facility.
  1. RECs

With buying renewable energy credits; customers buy green certificates or credits whether or not they have access to green power or not and they do not have to switch electricity suppliers. To learn more about how you can access renewable energy credits, learn more here “Can I Buy Green Power in My State?

  1. Installation of renewable energy

Whether you are a homeowner or business, installations of renewable energy systems come with questions such as:

  1. What sources of renewable energy are feasible for your specific case? That is, what resource is available and that can be harnessed for your case? is it solar, wind, geothermal or a hybrid of renewable energy systems?
  2. What are the costs and return on investment (ROI) for your renewable energy resource?
  3. What financing options are available and what option will be cost-effective?
  4. Where to get renewable energy providers or materials for running your system?

If you want to determine your solar energy potential today, this blog has identified online solar marketplaces that can help you to do this; by just typing your address in their system. You can also find solar installers and compare solar quotes while checking your potential savings and financing options available to you today. To get started, check with EnergySage and determine your solar energy potential using a solar panel cost calculator.  

blogspot visitor

When does going solar make economic sense?

go solar

Going solar is trending in many countries around the world due to the rapid decline of solar panel prices. As the solar panel price continues to decline, the cost of electricity has been on an increasing trend hence causing businesses and homeowners to consider generating their own electricity with solar.

However, going solar is not for everyone and you may need to consider several factors before making the decision to switch to solar. This blog post intends to discuss some of these factors that you may need to know and has also recommended some online solar tools that you can use to help you consider whether going solar is good for you or not? You will also be able to answer the question: Are solar panels worth it? for your specific situation once you read this blog post.

Is solar is right for you?

  1. Electricity cost

This is one of the critical factors that help to determine whether solar is right for you or not. Electricity costs vary from place to place depending on the type of power plants that are being used to generate electricity and other factors such as the cost of fuels, fuel transportation cost and the economic regulation governing the pricing of electricity for that particular state.

In 2015, the states with the highest average price of residential electricity were Hawaii (27.16 US cents per kWh), Alaska (20.28 US cents per kWh) and Connecticut (20.01 US cents per kWh).

When you are talking in terms of going solar, high electricity costs means high savings when you switch to solar because of the very low operational and maintenance (O&M) required for solar. For solar, the main cost you are considering is solar panels, as you don’t need to purchase any fuel to run solar panels.

In 2015, the states with the lowest average price of residential electricity were Louisiana (9.05 US cents per kWh), North Dakota (9.31 US cents per kWh) and Washington (9.37 US cents per kWh). When you have low electricity costs, it means the savings you would accrue with going solar will be limited as your solar power cost will almost be comparable to that of grid electricity.

However, electricity cost is not the only factor that would enable you to make an informed decision about going solar; other factors such as the amount of sunshine your roof receives, the regulatory framework of your state, as well as financing options are key to making this determination. Actually, you will need to consider all these factors at the same time to make a better judgment about going solar.

  1. Amount of Sunshine

Your price of electricity may be as high as that one of Hawaii, but if your roof is not receiving enough sunshine due to shading from nearby trees or other buildings you may want to mitigate this situation or find other alternatives such as placing your solar panels on your parking lot or in your backyard.

However, before mitigating this situation, one other factor you may want to consider is whether your location or region/state receives an adequate amount of sunshine that can be harnessed to produce solar power. For instance, Hawaii is rated very high because it receives a lot of sunshine throughout the year while Alaska is rated very low as it receives very minimal sunshine in any given year.

Without conducting so much research, today it is easy to determine how much sunlight is hitting your own roof and therefore know how much solar power you can generate. You can also tell whether there is any shade or blockage to your roof using the so-called online solar tools. Learn more about the solar panel cost calculator.

  1. Regulatory framework

If the regulatory framework supports solar, it considers mechanisms such as net-metering, renewable energy credits, financial incentives such as investment tax credits (26% ITC) and state rebates that are designed by the government to promote widespread deployment of solar power in the country. These mechanisms work to reduce the cost of going solar, especially in states where solar power generated from your rooftop is not cost-effective compared to the cost of grid electricity. Learn more about state incentives. 

  1. Financing options

There are four financing options for going solar, including cash, loan, solar power purchase agreement (solar PPA) and solar lease. Learn more about solar financing options. Depending on why you want to go solar, the type of financing option you select will influence the economic benefit you can obtain by going solar.

For instance, paying all the solar panel costs with the cash option will help you achieve more savings because you are not paying any interest and you are not sharing your savings with any investor like in a solar PPA or solar lease financing model. Therefore, with the cash option, your savings, as well as your payback period, will be favorable compared to the other three options.

However, if your biggest issue of going solar is affordability, then solar PPA and solar lease may be your best options, as you do not need to pay anything upfront to go solar. Also in all these four options, you will still save by going solar but at varying levels depending on how you decide to go solar. 

Are solar panels worth it

If you are reading this blog post, it may seem you are curious about knowing about your solar situation and knowing whether going solar will make any economic sense for your specific situation.

The good news today is that because of technology, it is very easy to pull out your energy information as well as your solar energy profile to determine whether going solar makes any economic sense for your specific situation. Get started today.