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Solar Energy

May 23, 2017 | Helpful Tips, Energy Saving Tips

Why use solar? 

It’s good for the environment.

Unlike conventional power, solar produces no harmful emissions that hurt the environment. It’s a clean, renewable process that uses the most natural of all resources: the sun.

It’s a solid home investment.

It’s fair to say that many of the home improvements that you will make won’t add quite the equal value to your house as the money that you put into them.  Solar energy, on the other hand, will save you money from your energy bill each month.  

In addition, the investment that you make in solar, will add its exact property value–or more–to your home, should you decide to sell it later on.

Solar Energy systems are durable.

Solar panels have no moving parts, and so are not damaged easily.  This lowers the chance for an interruption in service.

All solar panels are exhaustively tested to ensure that they can withstand high winds and extreme weather conditions, such as hail and heavy snowfall. Every solar panel used by skilled installers such as 1st Light is guaranteed to be as strong or stronger than your roof itself.

Even if something should occur that damages your solar panels, most systems come with a 30 year warranty, guaranteed by the original installer, that covers serious damage to the panels.

Solar can actually make you money!

Some states, the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires electricity suppliers to secure a portion of their electricity from solar generators. Rather than investing in systems of their own, in applicable states this has resulted in what is called an SREC market. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) are created for every megawatt-hour of solar electricity created. So if your system is consistently generating more energy than you are consuming, you have the opportunity to sell that energy back at a premium.

Solar could help you afford that home improvement you’ve been wanting.

Installing a home solar system offers an opportunity to design other home improvements with that addition in mind. For instance, some people consider a swimming pool or hot tub with renewable energy in mind. According to a report from the National Resource Defense Council, pool owners typically pay $500 more per year in energy bills. By combining the two home improvements, your solar system can be designed to cover the extra energy usage, using one investment to pay for the other.

Solar has a fixed energy cost.

Electricity from utility providers is never guaranteed a set price, rising and falling seemingly without cause or effect. And without any other option, consumers have no choice but to pay whatever the current price is.

The cost for a solar system, on the other hand, remains the same. If you choose to lease or finance your system, then you have a set, minimal monthly payment that replaces your electricity bill. If you purchase your panels in full, from then on your energy cost becomes $0.

Being ahead of the curve.

The signs are everywhere. Even pushing against the agendas of fossil fuel companies and dirty energy generators, the future of energy is renewable and clean energy.

You can use your Solar Energy all day.

One of the many myths about solar power involves perceived limitations on the energy-generating potential of solar panels. Solar energy is generated from daylight, not sunlight. So even on cloudy, rainy days, your panels will be working to produce energy. All that energy accumulates in the morning and afternoon hours, the whole time that the sun is up, producing more electricity than you can use.

Currently, all solar energy providers keep you connected to the grid. So any excess energy is pushed back onto the grid, actually causing your utility meter to spin backward, crediting your account. Then, in the evening hours, you will be using the credited energy from the meter. This excess energy does not expire and is similar to rollover minutes with your telephone company.

Solar Energy keeps you cool.

Let’s face it, what’s cooler than the sun powering your home?

And that is quite literally true. One study by UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering found that PV panels act as “roof shades” to keep buildings cool, in addition to supplying them with clean power. This makes sense. Solar panels soak up the sun’s rays, directing them away from the roof, whereas a roof without panels would allow heat to penetrate through it into the inside of the building.

Either way, you can’t keep the money.

Whether you’re spending money to make an investment in solar energy, or giving that money to your utility provider, it is still money that is being spent. Deciding to go solar is very much similar to deciding to purchase a home.  You can invest in yourself and take control of your energy costs, or continue to pay your utility provider for rented energy monthly, owing them frequent payments and remaining subject to their fees and requirements.


How much does it approximately cost to install solar in your home? 

On average the total cost of solar installation can be between $15,000 to $29,000 for average sized systems sized between 4kW and 8kW.2

When you purchase a residential solar system, the cost of your system also depends on its size. Larger systems will cost more as they require more panels.

A photovoltaic system is more than its panels — it's made up of many other components, including wiring, racks, an inverter, and often a solar monitor and meter. The balance of systems and installation labor costs can drive up the overall cost-per-watt of a system.


How do I know how many solar panels I will need for my home? 

Frequently people want to know how many solar panels they will need based on the size of their home. However, the amount of electricity you use is more important for solar electric system design than the square footage of your home. This is mainly because people’s use of electricity varies in so many different ways.

For instance, let’s say two families live next door to each other in 2,000 square foot homes. A young man lives in Home A with his fiancé; they both work long hours and often spend evenings out with friends. As a result, they don’t use much electricity and pay about $40 a month.

In Home B, two parents live with their two teenage children. They are either running the heater or air conditioner and use electricity to filter their pool, meanwhile the teenagers are always on their iPads, opening the refrigerator or watching TV. Since more people live in the house and their lifestyle requires more energy, their electricity bills run at about $325 a month.

Even though they live in homes that are the exact same size, the family in Home B would most likely need to invest in more solar panels to bring down their electricity usage than the couple living in Home A.  Even if the households were identical in electric consumption, one home may have better solar exposure or less shade than another, which can mean more or fewer panels.

Electricity usage is also important because most utility companies in Los Angeles and Orange County limit the size of your solar system based on the amount of energy you currently use. This number is usually determined by looking at how much electricity you have used in the last 12 months.

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