Solar electricity and solar panels reimagined

solar electricity from panels
Engineers, scientists and advocates bring solar future into focus

Solar electricity is more attractive than ever as solar panels and the components used to convert the sun’s energy into cost-efficient, renewable and clean power are rapidly becoming more efficient and more cost effective for the typical residential and commercial customer.

But, in addition to the brightest minds that are currently concentrated on developing more efficient photo voltaic panels and battery and storage systems that are more effective, engineers, designers and renewable energy advocates are also working on projects that push the boundaries of what solar panels and solar electricity  are currently used for.

Here are three examples of projects currently making headlines:

Emirates Insolaire, a joint venture between companies in Dubai and Switzerland, is producing solar panels in colors like gold, terracotta and gold. The company as also liberated the solar panels from the roof, installing them as part of the buildings façade and other design elements, too. While the company markets the panels with an eye toward esthetics, these products meet productivity standards, too.

It seems natural that as solar panels increase in visual appeal, they will gain wider adoption. Source: http://bit.ly/GineersNow

A scientist in California is developing a device that allows solar panels to collect light from the sun and to filter water out of the air, providing both solar electricity and clean water to the home! The device uses nano-materials to capture water vapor while the solar panels condense it and minerals purify it. The developer of the system, known as Zero Mass, may hold the keys to providing clean drinking water for communities in the United States and around the world. http://bit.ly/ForbesZeroMass

While some scientist and thought leaders are thinking on a grand scale, someone must put their ideas to the test. A father/son pair from England are doing just that, setting off on a 600-mile journey to Antarctica, powered only by solar electricity and wood-chip biomass fuel. Solar panels and a device developed by NASA will allow them to melt water for cooking and drinking. Their aim is to prove that renewable energy is reliable and efficient enough to allow them to successfully complete their trip. http://bit.ly/Reuters_trek

As 2017 ends, the future of solar energy seems brighter than ever. Schedule a solar consultation today and start creating your renewable energy future now.

Residential solar storage necessary to reach energy goals

Residential solar storage is one of the keys to increasing the use of solar energy. Solar storage, provided by battery systems, makes energy produced during sunny days available so that it can be used at night and on days when sunshine is limited.

Using current technology, it’s possible for homeowners to customize the residential solar power system so that the solar energy they generate can be used in emergencies. To get the best coverage, a qualified solar consultant can help.

Here are a few things to consider in designing a residential solar storage (battery back-up) system

  • How much capacity does each battery provide, or how many kilowatt hours of energy can be stored?
  • What is the batteries power rating? This tells you how much power the battery can deliver at one time.

The answer to these two questions is used to determine how many batteries are needed to reach your goals. Residential solar batteries are designed to be highly customization to individual needs. For example, if your goal is to keep a few crucial appliances running for a long time, then your residential solar storage system should have higher capacity and a lower power rating. However, if you need to keep all your appliances running for a short time, then lower capacity and a higher power rating would be recommended.

An additional factor to consider in designing your residential solar storage system is the depth of discharge (dod) of the batteries. Dod is shorthand for how much of the battery capacity will be available. The depth of discharge also determines how long your batteries will last before they need to be replaced. The dod of the batteries in your system are a critical factor in how well your system meets your needs.

In designing your system, your solar consultant will provide you with choices that match your goals, along with information about expected life of and warranties for all components in your system.

In 2017, much of the research related to solar power generation is aimed at reducing the cost of storage of solar generated power. The Austin SHINES program is part of that effort. Of course, SHINES is an acronym – it’s shorthand for Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV. This initiative, funded by the Department of Energy, is aimed at improving storage and other technologies so that Texas and other states can take advantage of their abundant solar resources. The potential for our state is huge, with most cities across the state receiving approximately 200 days of sunshine per year.

Get started now in taking advantage of that abundant energy by scheduling a solar consultation.

Photo copyright: zstockphotos

Solar investment makes good sense

Solar investment is growing as residents, business and cities alike find that renewable energy makes sense. Texas is becoming a leader in solar energy, adding solar capacity that includes residential solar rooftops, large infrastructure projects and major businesses making significant investments in solar energy.

Though solar and other renewable energy sources may initially attract attention because of environmental concerns, it is their bottom line impact that is most frequently sited when the decision is made to invest in renewable energy. Helping to reduce pollution and contributing to a cleaner environment are secondary to the economic benefits.

Across Texas, cities are recognizing the power of solar to save their residents and businesses money on their electric bills. In addition to Austin, here are some other Texas cities that have recently made headlines for their commitment to or exploration of the benefits of going solar.

Houston was recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Partner for their initiative that incorporates renewable energy into the cities electric utility program. With the aim of saving Houstonians money on their monthly bills, the city created a plan to use both wind energy and solar investment to save over $1.9 million dollars during the life of the project.

Georgetown, Texas has made numerous headlines in recent years as they invested in solar and wind production facilities. For this Texas city just north of Austin, a rational evaluation of all the alternatives showed that investing in the production of wind and solar would be the best way to manage the cost of energy over the coming decades. Like residential consumers, the city decided to invest in solar because they take the long view. Over time, owning the means to produce your own renewable energy protects against the ups and downs in the marketplace.

In late October of this year, the city of Denton attracted positive notice as they revealed the plan presented by a consulting group tasked with determining the best way to manage their public utility for the benefit of residents. The analysis predicts that by purchasing a combination of solar and wind generated electricity, Denton Municipal Electric (DME) can convert to using solely renewable resources in the near future. DME is a public utility, owned by the residents of the city. The utility board is currently evaluating adoption of the proposal.

For Texas residents, business and municipalities, solar, wind and other renewables represent an opportunity to grow something every city needs: jobs. Today, renewable energy production and associated services bring jobs to local economies. Who doesn’t want to save money, keep our environment clean and produce jobs for Texans?

Curious about how a residential solar investment can benefit you? Schedule your consultation today. http://bit.ly/GetaSolarConsultation

Solar energy is good for business

Solar energy is good for business. That’s why companies are making significant investments in solar systems. In the past few years, Texas has had three large employer’s who have upgraded their facilities to add solar to the mix of energy sources they currently use.

International shipping giant FedEx recently completed a large solar installation at their plant in Hutchins, Texas. The solar panel system is comprised of over 4,500 photovoltaic panels and will produce about 20% of the electricity need by the facility. It currently covers half of the available roof space of the warehouse. The company used incentives offered by their service provider, Oncor, and government incentives, too, in completing the project. This facility, south of Dallas, joins FedEx locations in New York, New Jersey and California in utilizing solar power.

Campbell Soup is developing a variety of sustainable energy projects for their facilities throughout the United States, including their location in Paris, Texas. The Paris plant will add both wind and solar electricity to their energy plan. The company is going solar at their world headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, too. That solar array will be the largest in the city, producing over 5 million kw hours annually. The system is designed to generate approximately 20 of the power needed by the corporate headquarters.

The most recent, and most ambitious, corporate solar energy project in Texas is at the new Toyota Headquarters in Plano. In partnership with SunPower, they just brought the largest solar array in the state on line. Made up of over 20,000 panels, it represents a one-billion-dollar commitment by Toyota. This project is part of Toyota’s plan to use only sustainable energy. To accomplish that goal, the facility will supplement the electricity produced by the solar array by purchasing wind generated power.

Large business facilities are more committed to sustainability than ever before. Expect to see more facilities of all kinds add more solar, wind and biofuel capability in 2018 and beyond. There are two important reasons that companies like FedEx, Campbell Soup and Toyota are committed to using sustainable resources.

  • It makes a positive impact on their bottom line. By making an up-front investment, they can predict their energy costs better because they have more control.
  • Working toward a cleaner environment creates better relationships with the surrounding community, employees, investors and other stakeholders.

These are the same reasons that most homeowner decide to invest in residential solar energy systems. Are you ready to take control of your energy costs and contribute to a cleaner environment?

All it takes is a phone call to get started.

Residential Solar System: Sunlight to Electricity

Do you know how a residential solar system converts sunlight to electricity? The photovoltaic (PV) panels collect sunlight, then use a piece of equipment called an inverter to turn the light into usable energy for you and your family. It’s a fairly simple system, but putting all of the components together into a productive system requires special expertise. That’s why you want to work with a professional solar system company.

The inverter is one of the most critical parts in your residential solar system. It takes the direct current (DC) electricity created from the interaction of light on the photovoltaic cells and converts it into the alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in your home and by the grid.

What determines the inverter that your installer will recommend?

As with any home improvement project, it depends! The first part of your solar consultation will be about what your solar power goals are. Here are just a few of the questions you will cover:

  1. Do you want a grid-tied system?
  2. Are you planning to create a battery back-up plan so you are protected in case of catastrophic weather?
  3. Is your home at a remote location that requires a free-standing system (not connected to the grid)?

The decision about what size and type of inverter to install depends on your answer to these questions, along with some others that will guide the design of your system. Your solar consultant will have recommendations of inverters and will include that information in your proposal.

In general, you will want to purchase an inverter large enough to cover demand now and in the future. As your needs change, you can add additional panels for increased capacity if your inverter will accommodate the expansion.

Important points to remember about your residential solar system inverter:

  • The inverter should be covered by a warranty, just like the other components of the system.
  • Your PV panels will last much longer than the inverter, so expect to replace it during the useful life of your system.
  • As a critical part of your residential solar panel system, any financing, rebates, incentives or tax credits you qualify for will help cover the cost.

Schedule your consultation today – there’s no better time to go solar!

Residential Solar for Bottom Line Results

Solar energy has been around for millions of years, but it’s only been in the past twenty years or so that residential solar technology has been able to harness it for cost efficient use. The good news is that in the past decade, several breakthroughs have allowed more people to take advantage of this amazing, cost effective and renewable resource.

Did you know that most homeowners make the decision to use solar power because it helps them save money? However, residential solar panels produce a “triple bottom line” result:

1) Number one, of course, is that it helps homeowners and business save money on monthly bills. Everyone likes to complain about ever rising energy bills. Now you can finally do something about it. When you install a solar panel system that you own, you have some control of your energy costs, regardless what happens with other energy sources!

2) Solar energy is clean energy that generates less pollution than fossil fuels.

3) Solar energy adds to the local economy by creating jobs right here in Central Texas. Jobs in a wide variety of professions and skill levels, right here in our community, result when homes and business go solar.

If you considered using solar energy several years ago, it’s time to revisit the issue. In 2017, solar power systems are more efficient and can generate more electricity with less sunlight. So, even if were told your home doesn’t have an ideal orientation for residential solar in the past, improved technology might allow you to do so now.

Because of the increased efficiency of today’s solar panels, smaller panels generate more electric energy that ever before. If you have a small home or less space available for panels because your home’s design or placement, you may still be able to benefit from solar energy now.

Even though you will still be tied to the grid, solar panels can significantly reduce your electric bills. And, you will still be able to take advantage of those additional bottom line results, too.

Don’t hesitate another minute to find out more about putting the clean, abundant and cost effective energy from the sun to work so you save money, help reduce air pollution and maybe even improve the local economy.

Contact @goprosolar now and schedule your consultation.

Solar Benefits Year Round

Did you know solar benefits don’t disappear at the end of summer?

Fall is here, and the days are getting cooler and shorter. While your solar panels are most productive during long summer days, you can gain solar benefits year round.

First of all, even though days are shorter and the sun is less intense, solar panels are actually more productive in moderate temperatures. It seems counter-intuitive, but photovoltaic cells are capturing and converting light, not heat, into electricity. Temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees are perfect for solar panel productivity. This means that shorter cooler days can equal the energy output of longer, hotter ones.

The real key to having your solar panels at maximum productivity is the design and installation of your system. The size and placement of the panels on your roof and the angle of adjustment make a big difference in how much power is generated. That’s why you want to choose a company that has expertise and experience in solar system design and installation.

An additional reason that fall is a great time to go solar is that a solar system with battery back-up is the best way to deal with power outages. There are a range of weather related causes for power outages:

  • Hurricanes – what’s referred to has Hurricane Season stretches from June 1 through November 30. These storms can cause power outages from high winds and flooding, too. As we all know from recent experience, a big storm can leave thousands without power for several days.
  • Freezing temperatures – while we don’t experience the long stretches of winter that our northern neighbors do, every Texas winter generally brings some freezing temperatures. Even a slight dip below freezing combined with rain can result in dangerous roadways and downed power lines.
  • Lightning storms – Texas experiences more lightning strikes than any other state and has 15 deaths from lightning so far in 2017. Lightning can cause power outages in several ways ranging from issues such as trees falling across powerlines and power surges that knock power out. These outages are general of short duration.

Getting your solar system up and running makes sense. And, don’t forget, you can claim tax credits you might qualify for on your 2017 return. Check out this blog post for information about tax credits, incentives and rebates: http://bit.ly/SolarIncentivesEtc .

The solar company you want to do business with has a knowledgeable, trained staff who spend the necessary time and have the skills they need to create the best, most productive installation for your home. Your solar consultant should also be able to discuss the technical aspects of your specific installation with you.

Contact us today!  http://bit.ly/GetaSolarConsultation

Austin’s Solar Energy Win

Austin solar energy commitment is good for Austin residents! Because of the high level of commitment to solar and other forms of renewable energy, Austin has been recognized at the national and international level.

On September 21, the Capitol City was named as one of 11 US cities who are finalist in the Cities4Energy category for the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards 2017. Austin earned the nomination by their strong commitment to solar energy and their commitment to keep electricity price increases to no more than 2% a year.

The C40 Cities Initiative focuses on increasing the health, well-being and economic opportunity for urban citizens around the world. Austin’s commitment to solar earns high marks in all those areas. Austin Energy is committed to educating and informing students, community groups and other stakeholders about solar energy. And, of course, this effort to increase the utilization of solar energy has added $370 million to the local economy. Find out more at http://bit.ly/AustinC40Profile

Austin solar commitment means working to achieve their renewable energy goals by:

Austin offers solar panel incentives for residential customers who purchase (no leased systems!) and install qualifying systems on their home.

The Austin Solar initiative helps consumers:

  • Receive a rebate based on kw production installed
  • Qualify for Federal tax credits
  • Earn solar credits for energy sent into the grid

In addition to rebates and solar energy credits to help families go solar, Austin Energy has programs to help residents weatherproof their homes, upgrade appliances and learn how to manage electric consumption to save money.

Because of the commitment the city of Austin to a sustainable energy future, they have a participating contractor program. Go Pro Solar is one of those companies. That means you will be doing business with a company that meets high quality standards and follows industry best practices. When you schedule your consultation, be sure to ask your Solar Consultant about the incentives, rebates and other incentives, rebates and other programs currently available.

And it doesn’t stop there. Austin Energy offers solar energy programs designed for small commercial (which includes non-profits), medium commercial and large commercial customers, too. One of the recent updates to Austin Energy’s commercial program was the introduction of Value of Solar credits so that businesses pay lower electric bill when they send energy onto the grid.

If you are considering putting the sun to work in your business, visit http://bit.ly/AustinEnergyBiz to learn more.

If you are interested in going solar, you want to act quickly. Because there is such high demand in the Austin community, fund set aside for rebates and incentives disappear quickly.

Getting started with your solar panel installation is easy follow this link http://bit.ly/GetaSolarConsultation and schedule a consultation with a professional Solar Consultant.

Solar companies are all equal, right?

Glad you asked! Solar companies are not all the same. In fact, choosing a solar panel company that installs the best quality solar panels will make a huge difference in how successful you are in reaching your goal of saving money on your electric bills.

Solar energy, of course, has been available since the beginning of the solar system. Inventors were intrigued by the idea of harnessing the sun’s powerful energy since the early 1800’s.

Along the way, there were some bumps and bruises. In the beginning, panels were less efficient so they required too much roof space for practical use.

Today, scientists and engineers have developed the technology to harness that amazing energy and use it to power our daily lives. In the past 10 years, the efficiency of solar cells has increased rapidly, and the cost of production has declined.

Three things that you want to look for in solar companies

There are significant differences in solar panels and the companies that install them. The best solar panel companies use cutting edge technology to create custom panels for each installation.

  • They work through a network of companies that depend on trained solar technicians for the design and installation of systems.
  • And, they back up their products and service with strong warranties to protect their customer’s investment.

If you think it sounds like this would cost more than buying “generic” panels that are frequently offered as part of a gimmicky sales pitch, just the opposite is true. While the initial cost is more, the performance of the system quickly makes up for the initial outlay. And, don’t forget that rebates and incentives and tax credits might be available to offset the investment you are making in your home.

As with any home improvement, the pain of a poorly done installation or even dangerous installation or a faulty product lingers long after the “savings” have been forgotten.

Here at Go Pro Solar, we only install the highest quality solar panels, custom designed and backed by the best warranty in the business. Our goal is not to install a solar system and move on. It’s to delight each of our customers so that they share the advantages of doing business with us around the community.

If you would like to find out how going solar can benefit you, give us a call to schedule your consultation.

http://bit.ly/GetaSolarConsultation

Solar Panels Keep Working

Solar panel maintenance will be one of the easiest routines on your end of summer checklist!  Did you know that solar panels are one of the most maintenance free assets in your home? After installation, solar panels keep working for years, even decades, almost maintenance free.

Even so, there are a few, easy tasks that need to be performed on a regular basis to keep the panels producing the maximum amount of clean energy. Most of these tasks can be incorporated into the routine seasonal chores you already perform to keep your home in good repair year-round.

Solar panels are virtually maintenance free because they have few working parts. When you work with a company that does a professional installation of top-quality panels, expect years of energy production from them.

The focus will be to help the panels produce the maximum amount they are capable of by keeping them free of dust, dirt and other debris that can accumulate during the normal course of the year. Spring may bring a heavy coating of pollen. Sometimes our central Texas summers can be dry, resulting in a layer of dust that can reduce solar panel productivity. This year, however, there was plenty of rainfall, so that’s not a concern.

As we move into fall however, leaves, pine needles and other plant material can find its way onto your roof and solar panels. If this sounds familiar, it’s the same list of “stuff” that can clog the gutter system around your home. The remedy is the same, and can be handled at the same time. Some homeowners enjoy the fall ritual of climbing a ladder and cleaning the gutters, others prefer to find reliable pros to do the job.

If you decide to tackle the job yourself, keep in mind that while solar panels are tough and durable, rakes and other sharp implements can cause damage. Do your research by consultant the materials you received from your installer before climbing up on the roof. Be sure you understand the tools and techniques for maintaining your investment. Or, ask your solar installer about the best way to handle the job. You will also want to get their recommendation about maintenance routines for the inverter, which is never a do it yourself job!

Start planning now, and adding these simple chores to your fall to do, or to hire, list will pay dividends as your solar panels provide low-cost, reliable energy for years to come.

Photo information: http://bit.ly/photocreditlevkr