Solar made easy

Solar made easy
Solar made easy. Photo credit tupungato

Installing a solar panel system on your home may seem complex and bewildering, but a residential solar panel system required for most homes is fairly simple.

Here’s a quick summary of the components that you will need to start converting the sunlight that falls on your roof into low cost, renewable energy that your family can use:

Photo Voltaic (PV) Solar panel are the most important component of the system. It’s the panels that actually capture the light so that it can be converted into a useable power source. The panels installed on your home should be of high quality and be backed by a warranty. Investing in a good quality solar panel insures that your system will provide years of low maintenance service. The panels we use for our customers are backed by a 25 year warranty.

The PV panels will be installed on a rack that is physically attached to your roof.  To order prepare for the installation, the roof needs to be in good repair. Your installer needs to have the knowledge, skill and experience needed to do the job right the first time. You always want to deal with a reputable installer who stand behind their work.

The next step in converting the light captured by your PV panels into useable energy happens in the inverter. For residential installations, a simple device known as a string inverter is used to make the energy received into the solar panels ready for use in your home or for entering the grid if you have a grid-tied system. This step is necessary because the solar panels produce electricity that is direct current (DC) but alternating current (AC) is what we need in our homes.

Those are the two necessary components needed to start converting sunlight to electricity. Your solar consultant will go into details about other accessories and components that may be needed for your installation.

With the basic system described – solar panels plus inverter – electricity needed when the panels are not active will be supplied by the grid. However, adding a battery system allows storage of the electricity produced during the day to be used round the clock. A battery back-up system can also be used when electricity from the grid is not available, such as in the aftermath of a storm.

Converting your home to solar is as easy as 1-2-3 and the first step is scheduling an appointment to find out how you can get started saving money on your electric bills.

Quality solar panels deliver more solar energy

Quality solar panels deliver more solar energy
Quality solar panels deliver more solar energy

GoProSolar is the leading supplier of residential solar panel installations in our part of Texas for many reasons. One of them is that we use the highest quality solar panels currently on the market. Combined with our years of experience in the home construction industry and our strong, ethical business practices there’s no reason to look anywhere else.

In case you do, thought, one of the questions to ask any provider of solar panels for your home is what brand of solar panels will be used for the project.

At GoProSolar, we install high quality solar panels from Solar World. With so many providers in the marketplace, why did we choose them as our provider?

Here’s why:

Solar World is an established company with over 40 years of experience in manufacturing solar panels. In recent years, interest in the financial benefits of solar and consumers interest in more renewable energy resources has resulted in many entrants into the solar manufacturing arena. However, only Solar World has the real depth and breadth of experience it takes to serve our customers.

From an installers perspective, no other company comes close to matching Solar World in terms of service and support. That’s because they are an American company with their US Headquarters located in Oregon. Solar World is the top choice for solar panel installers who hold themselves to high quality and customer service standards.

We find that many of our customers are interested in a high-quality product that will help them save money on their electric bills for years to come. That goal can only be achieved when the panels installed stand the test of time. Solar World performs extensive testing on their panels so that they withstand normal wear and tear and are tough enough to withstand weather hazards, too.

If that’s not enough, we are proud of the track record the have established as an ethically run business that provides good jobs for American workers. In recent years, they have been recognized numerous times in such categories as the most recommended provider by US installers, sustainability in solar manufacturing, green manufacturing, and as the Manufacturer of the Year (2016) for Portland, Oregon. If you’d like to know more about their awards and recognition, you can find it here: http://bit.ly/SolarWorldAwards

Want to know more about how the GoProSolar’s commitment to quality and customer service can help you lower your electric bills for years to come? Schedule a consultation today: http://www.goprosolar.com/consultation.html

Solar energy grows from strong roots

solar energy part of mix
Solar will grow in 2018 as part of sustainable future Copyright: nexusplexus

Solar energy and other alternatives are making up a larger part of the energy mix in 2018. It comes as no surprise that Texas is a leader in solar, wind and other renewables along with coal, oil and gas. In terms of energy leadership, the Lone Star State has some significant advantages.

Geography is one of the most important. Our location lends itself to a high number of sunshine days with warm temperatures that keep snow and ice away. Beneficent geography also makes Texas a leader in wind energy as harnessing the wind that sweeps across the plains of west Texas generates clean, renewable energy. And, of course, we can’t forget the petroleum industry that first put Texas on the map.

The long history Texas has in the energy industry is important to our energy future. It’s no accident that our state leads in both traditional and renewable energy production. The knowledge and skill base that allowed Texas to thrive in the oil, gas and coal era is transferable to alternative energy.

In 2018, all of these forces will continue to play a role in making Texas a leader in solar and other renewables.  Here are recent examples of how our public universities are leveraging strong programs in energy science, created originally with a focus on traditional sources, to expand into the renewable and sustainable arena. See last week’s blog post for more.

For example, the University of Texas at Austin has a Solar Energy and Renewable Fuels Laboratory that is engaged in projects ranging aimed at improving current technologies and discovering new ones to forward the goal of providing clean, renewable and cost efficient power for human needs.

UT Austin also participates in the Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics, a project of the National Science Foundation Industry. The goal is to work with research institutions and industry to refine and improve current photovoltaic technology. Visit their website for a list of all projects and initiatives they are part of.

The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Texas Sustainable Energy Institute launched LeapTran in December 2017 LeapTran. In line with their mission of creating a sustainable energy future, the institute has received significang grants for projects such as renewable energy storage and the Sun Shot initiative. They recently received a $1.5 million grant from San Antonio’s CPS to improve power technologies.

In terms of energy leadership, Texas has it all: favorable geography, historical leadership in energy production, infrastructure and institutions that support the energy industry. What might be most important, though, is the can do Texas spirit!

What can you do to create your own independent energy future? Schedule a consultation today.

Solar and microgrids have potential

microgrids with renewables
Weather and natural events point to microgrids as a solution. Photo copyright: vencavolrab78

A significant eclipse and two major hurricanes in 2017 have given rise to a new idea for keeping the electric supply more stable: microgrids.

Here are some of the highlights in solar energy news this year.

A major solar eclipse crossed the country on Monday, August 21. Coming as it did during peak load times and during the peak production season for solar electricity in the continental US, it was an opportunity to study how solar electricity impacts the grid.

While there were dire predictions of brown outs and other system failures, none of the predicted problems materialized. In fact, the temporary decrease in solar electricity production showed how resilient the grid is.

The eclipse, which obscured the sun to such a degree that solar power generation dropped to zero in some areas, gave electric utility operators hand-on experience in managing the mix of renewable and traditional power sources. This is important knowledge as renewables, particularly solar and wind, make up an increasing portion of power generation capacity across the US and around the globe.

In the late summer and fall, the future of solar was put to another test when two major hurricanes made landfall.

The first struck the Texas Gulf Coast on August 25, resulting in power outages for approximately 300,000 homes. Like the eclipse, Hurricane Harvey continued to draw attention to one of the issues highlighted by the eclipse: the stability of the electric grid when electricity production, whether from traditional or renewable sources, is interrupted.

The area where Harvey made landfall is responsible for a significant portion of the oil and gas production in the use. In the days following the massive storm’s landfall, oil and gas production experiences a significant decline because of the storm’s impact.

A little less than one month later, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, wiping out the power grid and leaving millions without electricity because the power grid, in poor repair before the storm, was effectively wiped out. Since then, the island has had a series of struggles in restoring power to many areas of the island.

Tesla founder Elon Musk grabbed headlines when he coordinated a solar panel installation that restored power to a hospital in late October. This feat introduced a glimmer of hope for the devastated island, and the current conversation about the future of Puerto Rico’s electric utility will depend heavily on renewable resources.

As we wrap up 2017, the events that have transpired this year point to a new direction for the development of solar energy: the microgrid. Microgrids are a localized system that can be connect to or disconnected from the traditional electric utility grid. The appeal of a  microgrid system is in the flexibility the speed with microgrids can be restored after a storm or other catastrophe causes a loss in power.

Get ready for 2018 and take your first step to be prepared for what every unfolds in the coming year by scheduling a solar consultation.

Productive solar panels all winter

Productive solar panels
Productive solar panels save money all year long. Photo Credit Ur Fingus

Will the shorter days of winter affect how productive solar panels are? That’s one of our frequently asked questions from people who are considering a solar panel installation this time of the year.

Solar electricity and long days with intense sunshine intuitively seem to go together, and it’s true they do. Sunny climates like ours here in Central Texas have optimal conditions for making use of the sun’s bounty as a cost-effective source of clean, renewable energy.

However, solar as an energy source is growing across the US, including places like New York, Boston and Seattle. Improvements in technology make going solar more attractive even in less than ideal climates. One of the world’s leaders in solar energy production is Germany – a country with sunshine days roughly equivalent to Seattle, but with a huge commitment to clean energy.

This also means that today’s solar panels are productive throughout the Texas winter. When days are shorter and temperatures are cooler, a well designed and installed solar panel system remains productive. Cooler temperatures tend to enhance solar panel productivity because the chemical reaction that converts light to energy is more efficient at cooler temperatures. This higher efficiency works to balance the effect of shorter periods of sunlight.

Did you know that even a snowy day can be a productive day for solar panels? Because the panels are converting light to energy, a bright, sunny day following a snow storm can be highly productive. Of course, the panels need to be free of snow to take advantage of the opportunity.

To take advantage of this benefit and keep saving money all winter long, you need to pay attention to these areas:

Have you cleaned your panels of all debris, like last fall’s leaves, pine needles, etc.? If not, plan to do that (or have it done) as soon as possible. Also trim any overhanging branches and git rid of anything that might obstruct the maximum amount of sunlight from reaching your panels.

Are your panels properly adjusted to take advantage of the available light? Taking care of this is a top priority if you want your panels to be as productive as possible this winter.

Minimize the amount of electricity you use by adjusting thermostats, using energy efficient lightbulbs and manage use of appliances wisely.

Your productive solar panels are an investment that will continue to produce a return year in and year out. Want to know more? Schedule a consultation today.

Solar energy and passive solar = more savings

solar energy
modern sustainable design

A well designed solar energy system is the place to start saving money on your electric bills. But it doesn’t stop there.  There are passive solar features that can be retrofitted into your current home as part of a remodeling project.

There is growing interest in creating homes and other types of buildings that are easier and more efficient to maintain at comfortable temperatures so that reduces energy use and more saving is possible. If you are willing to make and investment and a commitment to using more passive solar energy, consider creating a sunroom or a sun space along that wall of your home.

A sunroom or a sunspace is an enclosed area designed to capture and utilize sunlight. In the past, such spaces were commonly used for additional casual living space. Today, homeowners are seeing these spaces as a means of capturing passive solar along south facing walls. When carefully designed for this purpose, sunrooms produce heat that is vented back into the primary residence.

An architect or designer who is a specialist in this type of project can design a system that uses vents and other air movement techniques to move the warm air from the sunspace into the interior of your home. In the ideal situation, air circulation is accomplished without mechanical devices. However, if that proves to be inadequate or impractical, fans and other methods can circulate air as needed.

The passive solar captured during cold winter months is a benefit, but keep in mind that the space will capture heat year-round. In the summer months, an awning, shades, etc., will need to be installed to combat the effect of sun on south facing glass. It is also important to consider factors such as humidity and how the space will be used so that appropriate features are included in the design. For example, using a few plants in the room is recommended, but too many will raise the humidity and reduce or even eliminate the passive solar potential of the room.

The use of solar energy is being improved year after year with the advancements in technology. Scientists and researchers are discovering new ways to use solar power to the fullest.

As the technology continues to improve, there is little doubt that solar will offer more opportunity for improving the efficiency and comfort of our homes.

A solar consultation is the first step to taking advantage of the savings available.

Photo (c) aNdreas Schindl

Saving Money with Solar

saving money with solar
Saving more money with solar is possible

Saving money is the primary reason to go solar, and it starts with solar panels to lower utility bills. Photo voltaic solar panels are the most frequently used method for actively harnessing the suns energy and converting it into electricity.

A well-designed solar panel array with a battery back up system can significantly reduce electric bills. But it doesn’t stop there.

In addition to using solar panels to generate electricity, there are many ways to increase the impact of your investment in solar that will also enhance the comfort and appeal of your home.

As with any type of solar energy investment, the place to start is scheduling a solar consultation to assess your current situation. From there, you can determine what provides the quickest path to reaching your goals.

Did you know that your windows play a key role in how efficiently you use energy resources to heat and cool your home?

In creating a more energy efficient home, taking stock of your windows is a first step. Make sure that you have the right type of windows, that they are in good repair, that weather stripping is installed and that any leaks are sealed. When windows basics are all covered, there are a wide variety of products available to help windows do their job of regulating the amount of air and sunlight that enters your home.

Awnings are a great way to regulate the amount of sunlight that enters your home. Modern materials and design features can be used to make awnings attractive and adjustable, so they deliver maximum protection against the elements.

In summer, awnings block sun from entering the home and increasing the temperature. In winter, allowing additional sunlight in can raise room temperatures and bring in needed light. Especially for south and west facing windows, awnings are a cost-effective way to reduce cooling costs and increase interior comfort, too

Window screens can help reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches interior spaces in summer. In winter, when having more heat and light is desired, screens can be stored away. In hot, sunny climates like we have here in Texas, window screens can make a big difference in cooling cost and home comfort, too. Storm panels and shutters offer another adjustable option to control heating and cooling loss around windows. In warm climates, the problem most homeowners need to address is controlling sunlight and stopping the loss of cool air produced by the HVAC system.

Exterior features like awnings, shutters, solar screens and storm panels help reduce the amount of energy needed by the HVAC system. Drapes, blinds and other elements of window design and décor can all play a part in making your home both more comfortable while saving money with solar.

Saving money with solar starts with a consultation – schedule one now!

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 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.

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.