Factors to consider when going solar

It is crucial for homeowners and businesses to start taking advantage of the abundant amount of sunlight or energy that reaches to planet earth on a daily basis. This energy is one of the cleanest and safest types of energy to use for home and business energy needs because it will not cause harm to the environment.

However, many consumers have not switched to solar panels because this technology is still new and evolving and it is only recently that solar power has started to become popular as many homes and businesses continue to switch to solar. Keep reading for information about how to go solar with a solar panel cost calculator that determines your solar panel cost. 

1. How to determine the efficiency of the solar panel to going solar

The amount of efficiency of a solar panel is directly proportional to its density. Solar panels with high densities produce more solar power than those with low densities.

Therefore, it is a good practice to compare your densities of various solar panels before deciding to buy them. However, solar panels of high densities also mean they are expensive compared to those of low densities.

When the efficiency of your solar panel is high, it means that it is simple to maximize the benefits of solar panels as such panels do not completely rely on the sun shining at all times to produce electricity.

In that regard, most newer panels will be able to store some energy while the sun is up and as a result, this will provide you with solar energy any time of the day, thus allowing your system to run off solar power all night long.

2. Always have a power back-up in the event your solar panels fail to perform

It’s important to have a backup if your solar panels fail to function normally. Nowadays there are solar generators and you can have them stand-by or any other type of generator if you are not connected to the main grid, however, if you are connected to the grid, this is not a problem as you will use power from your utility company if your solar panel stop working properly. If you choose a generator, make sure to test it often and also consider keeping more than one for emergency purposes.

3. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a chilly or overcast area, you can still solar power your home or business.

It doesn’t matter whether you live in a temperate climate or areas that are cloudy during the day, you can still enjoy the benefits of going solar. This is because your solar panel doesn’t depend on the temperature, but on the sunlight to produce the electricity you need. Actually, many people feel that overcast days are the best days for solar energy production.

4.  Search for government tax credits and rebates 

The Federal government provides Investment tax credits (ITC) which can reduce the cost of your solar panel by up to 30% depending on your tax appetite while US states offer additional tax rebates to further reduce the cost of your solar panel by almost half the price.

A quick online search should turn up information on these programs and can be obtained here. Depending on which state you live you can use the following calculator to determine how much the government will offer you to reduce the cost of your solar power system.

At first glance, solar panels seem very expensive and thus it makes sense to look into different programs that can help cut down on your start-up costs. This will help cut your expenses significantly. Some of the expenses may be deductible on your taxes.

To determine these cost reductions input your address here and determine your specific solar panel costs, including financing options available to you as well as certified solar contractors available in your area that can advise you on how to switch to solar.  

5. Track numbers when getting solar panels for your home or business

It is a good thing to track numbers when getting solar panels for your house or business as the geographical location you are located will determine whether switching to solar will be a financially feasible undertaking. This will require you to do some homework well so that you can find out whether switching to solar will help you save money.

Determine your solar panel cost, including your simple payback period for your system.  The simple payback period is calculated by dividing the total cost of your system (minus any government rebates or tax credits) by the annual electricity savings.

There are also other factors such as solar renewable energy credits and net-metering that will further reduce the cost of your solar panel system.   A solar panel cost calculator used gives you a personalized solar panel report does all the homework for you to decide whether this type of energy is really going to save you money.

6. Save on the heating costs by switching to solar panels or go solar

You can save on heating costs by having solar photovoltaic panels installed or using solar water heating. In order to utilize solar panels effectively, you need at least five hours of good sunlight. One of the major costs of a pool is heat, and solar heating can greatly reduce this cost.

Also to effectively use your solar panels, consider energy efficiency options for your home or business. The best time to consider these options is before you build your house, however, you can always retrofit your existing house and introduce energy efficiency measures, for example, you can start by replacing all your incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones.

Going solar is also one of the energy efficiency options that you can consider when you want to increase the energy efficiency of your home or business. Solar energy is clean and efficient and has a very small environmental impact and thus you should at least think about adding solar panels to your home or business.

7. How to switch to solar for your home or your business

Once you have considered all the above points, now it is a good time to solar panel your home or business. You may want to start out by buying only a few panels to save money. Also, hire an energy auditor to perform an energy audit on your home to determine areas where energy is wasted in your business or home.

These are the areas that will be fixed by replacing or introducing energy-efficient equipment or appliance to allow you to make any necessary changes. By conducting energy efficiency first, it will reduce the number of solar panels you initially thought you will require to switch to solar.

Ensure that your solar panels are installed in a position where they will maximize the sunlight and hence get most out of each day. Also, make sure to perform regular inspection checks on your solar panels to prevent anything from obstructing sunlight to your panels.

People who reside in the southwest benefit greatly from solar panels as this region receives the most sun all year round and this means they will get great financial benefits when they switch to solar. This region receives the most sun all year round and it is a good thing to start considering to go solar if you live in this region.

In addition, it is a best practice to change your solar panels’ angles at least four times annually to get the most out of them all the time. As the seasons change, the amount of sunlight hitting your solar panels changes because the direction of sunlight is slightly changed. This calls to adjusting the angle of your solar panels to increase the amount of sunlight captured by them increasing the cost-effectiveness of utilizing the panels as well as their return on investment.

In conclusion, the above tips for how to solar panel your home or business will only be useful if you can apply them by going solar and start saving money. As mentioned before, solar energy has very many benefits and the only way to start enjoying is by acting now. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by leaving your comments in the comments section below. Also if you are looking for solar panels for your home or business use this solar panel cost calculator to obtain your free solar panels quotes. 

Energy poverty in Africa

Can we end the energy poverty in Africa?

Many countries in Africa remain not connected to the main grid and they never will be. Why do I say this? These countries may leapfrog from using power from the main grid to use of decentralized renewable energy packaged solutions. Just the same way Africa leapfrogged from using grid type connected telephone lines to use of cellphones—there is a potential and the technology is available to use to help homes or businesses in going solar through the use of packaged solar PV solutions, that may include smart grids, smart meters, financing, service, warranties, etc.

With electricity, children would not have to gather wood in order to boil water – a simple electric stove could do that. A light could be turned on at night so that they could read before bed. And the aged grandparents or infant sibling could enjoy the breeze from a simple fan on sweltering, 40+ degree Celsius days – it could make a difference between life and death.

I believe we can make this happen by offering decentralized energy solutions to these homes. Governments alone cannot solve this problem, because we are talking about 600 million people without electricity and this translates to $19 billion a year in energy investments. This huge population of Africans without electricity is almost twice the population of the USA.

Therefore, this problem could be solved by the private sector with support from the governments and civil society. The solutions would center around creating decentralized renewable energy solutions rather than constructing massive power plants or grid extension which may take time to develop and may require huge investments.

It would take simple renewable energy-based packaged solutions that come with power, financing, service, warranties and energy-efficient appliances (in this case solar PV or wind technologies where there is a good wind potential).  This solution has failed in the past, because of the mode of delivery or approach. In the past, the donor approach failed to deliver; because development agencies would provide “free stuff” which would stop functioning at some point, maybe because of lack of maintenance, no training and lack of after-sales service by the provider. This model, therefore, proved it couldn’t work because the donor approach is reliant on “targets” rather than provide a service to the people that would develop a long-lasting customer relationship.

If it was a private sector entity providing this service, this would change because a truly private sector would want to develop a relationship with the community or village, then train the villagers on how to use the equipment, install, and then provide after-sales service if needed. This model would work because the private sector entity is incentivized by profits they make as well as the number of sales they obtain. Hence, it is to the advantage of the private sector to provide a better service for them to remain in business and expand in other areas.

Just like the telecommunications sector changed from the grid type of sector to mobile phones, a similar paradigm shift could take place when it comes to energy access in Africa or other developing countries. These countries may leapfrog to the mobile type or renewable energy packaged solutions. In this regard, solar will play a major role in technology advancement, solar will become cheaper and affordable to reach millions of individuals in rural Africa and other developing countries.

The government and development agencies like the World Bank would provide the regulatory and policy frameworks to eradicate the barriers of inferior quality of solar products entering the market and encourage fair competition among the private sector companies. Also, governments would set up financial mechanisms and schemes to overcome the investment or cost issues by the private sector or the end-user.

Since the initial cost is a huge barrier for rural communities, and a solar set could cost up to $200, the private sector can be provided guarantees or other incentives by the government to allow people to pay small installments or buy in credit in order to overcome this barrier. This lowers the risk for the private sector entity and encourages them to invest in decentralized renewable energy solutions. The communities would get service from the private sector and in-return the private sector will get paid by communities. On the issue of quality, communities distrust solar solutions, because they have been sold cheap products that don’t last long or they’ve bought appliances and haven’t been taught how to use them properly. Private sector companies that are service-minded can help solve this problem.

In conclusion, I would say this issue is solvable and currently many players including the World Bank are already applying these models, but to accelerate and solve this problem will require targeted campaigns that would raise awareness about this issue and how to solve it. It will take you and me to raise this awareness about the best models for energy access, the best financing solutions available, the best technologies to adopt and how or even how to solve the energy access problem. The private sector also needs this information, as most of them may not have the capacity to conduct meaningful data analytics to determine what models work or how to fine-tune them and get the desired results.

To get started in knowing about the benefits of going solar, you can learn more about this solar panel cost calculator.