Solar power is now a reality and it isn’t just a pipe dream today as many people have managed to switch to solar because there are now practical implementable ways to integrate residential and commercial solar panels in your home or business, including solar power purchase agreements (solar PPA), solar leasing, solar loans, and other ways of switching to solar explained in this article. Switching to solar photovoltaic (PV) is becoming a better option because of the unpredictable electricity prices compared to the decreasing cost of solar PV. The cost of photovoltaic has been declining steadily since 2009.
1. Many have switched to residential and commercial solar panels
Some of the economic and sustainability benefits of switching to solar include reduced energy bill by about 50–75%, mitigating climate change and creating solar green jobs. With many homeowners and small businesses becoming aware of these benefits, the rate of solar adoption is increasing and in 2014, there were over 195,000 installations in the U.S. and according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), nearly 645,000 U.S. homes and businesses have now gone solar while a new solar project was installed every 2.5 minutes.
Noting this move of switching to solar PV, this article attempts to give an overview of how to solar power home and enjoy the benefits of switching to solar PV.
2. Barriers to solar PV and how to overcome them
The is no good thing that doesn’t come with its disadvantages and solar with all its advantages, it has faced challenges of adoption because of its high prohibitive cost until recently when models such as solar PPA and solar lease managed to overcome this barrier with government support. The other major barrier of solar has been its intermittent nature causing its harvest at night very problematic since solar photovoltaics generate electricity when sunlight is directly facing the solar panels. Therefore, solar panels cannot generate power at night and the only practical way to solve this problem without batteries is through net-metering which allows for storage of excess power produced by your solar system(mostly during the day) into the utility grid. In other words, the excess power generated by your solar panels offsets the energy you use at night. Through net-metering which has been approved by most states in the US, utility companies appreciate excess solar energy and through the net-metering arrangement, homeowners or businesses can sell or receive credit for the surplus power they produce. You can learn more about net-metering here and see whether your state is implementing a net-metering program.
3. Approaches of integrating residential and commercial solar panels in your home or business using solar PPA or solar lease
Having taken into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of going solar, the next step is to consider conducting an energy audit for your home or business to fix energy efficiency issues you might have. This audit will address areas of energy loss or wastage, for example switching from incandescent bulbs to LEDs which will help you to save energy and thus reduce your total energy requirements for your home.
Once energy efficiency for your home/business is achieved, solar energy can then be used to significantly increase your energy efficiency while at the same time reducing your energy bill anywhere from 50–75% based on your specific energy situation.
There are two ways of going solar:
- Do it yourself (DIY) which is basically installing the solar panels yourself and there are manuals that you could locate at Amazon.com that can guide you on a step by step basis on how to go solar. You can learn how to DIY solar here by clicking the banner on your left Also you can get the Solar Electricity Handbook 2012 edition by Michael Boxwell which gives guidance on how to install DIY solar. This book will tell you specifically what you need to know for your DIY solar projects.
- The other way going solar is by contacting local solar contractors to install the solar power system for you. Nowadays you can get a solar panel installed on your roof for free and still get free maintenance under solar arrangements such as solar power purchase agreements (Solar PPA) or Solar leases. Learn more about these financing models, if the cost of solar panels is prohibitive for you. Learn more to determine your solar panel cost and get your personalized solar panel report that includes all the costs, financing options as well as where to source certified solar energy contractors.
4. Going solar through solar PPA or solar lease process
This is the process of how to obtain your solar panels using a solar PPA or solar lease if you decide to choose these options:
- Step 1: Get a free customized quote
- Step 2: Sign your agreement (solar PPA or solar lease)
- Step 3: You solar panel design is done
- Step 4: Schedule a one-day installation with the solar contractor
- Step 5: Turn on your solar power.
The advantage of this option is that you will worry less about how to finance and maintain your home solar power system. All you need to do is sign a Solar PPA whose time frame is agreed between you and the solar contractor. However, in most cases, solar PPA can range from 6 years to 25 years based on your current situation. However, in case you decide to move or sell your house, many homeowners simply transfer their solar PPA agreements to the new homeowner and this transfer process is usually not complex. For more details, determine with this solar panel cost calculator to answer the question: Are solar panels worth it? based on your geographical location and energy consumption.