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.

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Solar best with backup

The drama that unfolded on the Texas Gulf coast late last week has many people looking for ways to prepare their home and family for a natural disaster. Here in Texas, installing solar panels is a great first step to take. Homes with solar panels are always among the first to have access to electricity when storm related damage causes disruption of service after a hurricane or other type of natural disaster.

Taking the simple step of adding a battery backup system can expand the benefit of solar even more in situations where electric service can be disrupted for an extended period.

It’s estimated that over 200,000 homes in Houston and surrounding areas are still without power one week after the storm made landfall. There have been extraordinary efforts to get electricity and other essential services restored but the damage effects a huge geographic area and resources are stretched thin.

For the individual home or business owner, having solar panels with battery back-up is about more than just keeping the lights on. A battery back-up system that avoids losing power can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars during an extended outage. Just think about all the ways we depend on electric power from charging our cell phones and other communication technologies to keeping our food at safe temperatures to powering medical devices like dialysis and breathing machines.

As with any solar project, the best way to get started is to schedule an appointment with a trained solar consultant to determine how much power you need to have access to during an extended disruption in the grid. While it may be comforting to imagine that your battery system will allow life to go on as usual, your battery system will be designed to keep your essential services operating.  This type of system is designed as a temporary back-up, not an off-grid solution.

After estimating the amount of power needed, your consultant will calculate the amount of battery storage needed and explain the different option available. Your specific needs with help your consultant determine which one to recommend for your project.

To get the most value from your solar panel system, it’s best to incorporate the battery back-up with the initial installation. Act now, and you will have your system in place when before fall and winter storms have you shivering in the dark!

Want to avoid power outages? Invest in Solar

The solar eclipse on August 21 brought an intense focus on the electric grid as scientist and energy experts studied the effect of a sudden decline in solar power on our electricity supply.

Now, virtually on the heels of that test, south Texas and parts of central Texas experienced another sort of test as Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi. This category 4 hurricane brought high winds and flooding. Damage from the storm caused power outages that resulted in more than 300,000 residents losing electric power. Utility companies and their employees will be working night and day to restore power to those Texans affected by the storm.

Here are some facts for homeowners with solar panels installed, and those who are considering the solar option for their home:

  • Studies have shown that high quality, professionally installed solar panels are able to resist extreme weather.
  • For customers who have invested in a battery back-up system it’s possible to avoid power outages entirely.
  • As a storm passes, it is typically followed by sunny days that allow maximum solar power production so that solar customers are among the first to have power restored.

Solar professionals are in the business of working with their potential customers to design and install a system that delivers maximum benefits for years to come. That includes presenting options like a battery back-up system, EMP protection and other enhancements that go beyond the basic installation of solar panels that capture free sunlight and convert it into a valuable resource: electricity.

A disaster like Hurricane Harvey, the most destructive storm to make landfall in recent history, reminds us how important it is to build quality into all our projects, particularly when we make improvements to our home. Adding a solar system to your home will increase its value and provide greater safety and comfort to your family for years to come.

When you trust your solar installation to true solar panel experts, part of your consultation will include information about things like electromagnetic pulse (EMP) protection. When homeowners chose this option, their installation includes additional features that protect against this phenomenon. In fact, when our customers choose the Gold Package, EMP protection is provided as a bonus.

As the storm passes and the sun comes out, it’s time to call Go Pro Solar and schedule your no obligation consultation.

Economics of Solar Make an Impact

The solar eclipse that will cross the United States on Monday, August 22 is historic for several reasons.

It is the first total eclipse in several decades. The last time the earth lost touch with the sun for such an extended period was in 1979.

In the decades since then, solar energy started as a fringe idea embraced by a few people then exploded into a rapidly growing energy sector. As a result, the loss of a few minutes of sunshine will, for the first time, make an impact on the amount of electricity entering the grid.

A second factor that makes this eclipse important is its timing. The eclipse will decrease the amount of solar power generated during a peak time of day at the peak season for electric consumption. At midafternoon in August, air conditioners are consuming plenty of power to keep things cool in homes, offices and factories alike. In the areas most affected by the eclipse there will be greater use of electricity for lighting, too.

How will this affect solar homes in Texas? Though the growth of solar generation in Texas increased exponentially in recent years, the amount of solar energy produced is not sufficient for this eclipse to cause an issue.

The path of the eclipse determines how it might disrupt solar energy output. Since early 2017, scientist at NASA have studied the path of the eclipse to create models of its effect on the US, including solar power production. The loss of sunlight will have greater effect to states to our north, from Oregon to South Carolina.

Power grid operators are intensely interested in the effects of the eclipse on solar power production, too. The production of solar and other types of renewable resources has soared in recent years, but the grid that carries the power to our homes, schools and businesses hasn’t been upgraded. In fact, in many cases what we refer to as “the grid” is simply a system that was patched together as needs arose. There isn’t really a well planned and executed delivery system for one of our most vital utilities. In anticipation of the event, grid operators have been preparing for months to make sure that most of their customers are unaffected.

This real-life situation that threatens to put a strain on the grid is an excellent opportunity to gather data and determine the best way to accommodate the growing impact of renewable energy.

Solar energy is mainstream, now. Consumers and businesses have discovered how easy it is to go solar and how quickly they realize a return on investment. Be part of the solar revolution by scheduling your free consultation today!

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Financing Your Solar Investment

There are plenty of ways to fight the summer heat, but one of the smartest is to stay inside and research ways to save money on your electric bills during the dog days of summer next year! Get the process started now, and your solar panels will be installed and ready to keep you cool during remaining warm days and keep you warm when winter chills arrive, too.

There are two approaches to making your solar investment affordable and increasing the ROI of your solar panels. The first is to explore the rebates, incentives and tax benefits available for solar panels. There are also financing programs and loans that to make clean, efficient solar energy fit within your budget.

Here are the three types of financing that homeowners can use for purchasing solar panels:

1) Solar financing companies. These companies specialize in providing financing for residential solar panels. Because they are specialist, they have expertise in the solar industry and have programs designed to maximize the benefits of solar for their customers. They also have relationships with other companies in the solar industry that can help make the process seamless, like partnering with installers for one stop shopping.

2) The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program allows homeowners to pay for their approved renewable energy projects when they pay their annual property tax assessment. This acts as a vehicle for differing the payment instead of setting up a monthly payment plan. To find out if this type of arrangement is available in your area and if it is a viable option for you, take a look at this Fact Sheet from the Department of Energy: http://bit.ly/PACE_Info

3) Home equity lines of credit and home improvement loans can be used to finance solar panel systems. While other types of financing might offer significant advantages, if the solar upgrade is part of a larger home renovation or remodeling project, using this type of financing might make sense.

The easiest way to to start your research about how solar loans and other financing might fit into your plan to save money on your electric bill and enhance the value of your home is to schedule an appointment with a Solar Energy Consultant. When you chose a reputable company like Go Pro Solar, you will be given all the information you need to make an informed decision about the best products and programs for your unique situation.

Ready to get started? Contact GoProSolar today and schedule your consultation.

Finding your perfect solar home

Thinking about making a move? Is your current home too small for a growing family? Or are you ready to downsize now that your nest is empty?

If you’ve been considering going solar, you’ll want to include that into the wish list as you start looking for your next home.

Ideally, you’ll find your ideal home, already upgraded with a professionally installed solar panel system. However, a recent search of Austin homes for sale yielded only 29 homes with solar panels already installed. Chances are, then, you will need to find your ideal next home, then add the solar system.

Buying the home you want then working with a solar company to design and install your solar system is usually the best choice.  Because buying a home and all that it involves is a major commitment of your resources in both time and money, you want a home that suits your lifestyle and meets your criteria for space, amenities and community. Adding your own solar panels to your perfect home will enhance your enjoyment and increase resale value, too.

If you should find a home that fits all your needs and already has solar panels installed, you’ll need to find out if the seller bought the panels outright, financed them with a loan or if they are leased. When the seller purchased the panels without financing there are no issues. A solar loan would need to be paid off before the transfer of title. A lease can be more complicated. The leasing company will require that you, as the buyer, qualify to assume the lease. However, you may find that the terms of the lease are not favorable and you may not be willing to assume the lease.

A second consideration when you buy a home that has already been converted to solar is that the previous homeowner got the benefit of rebates and other incentives. Of course, you will be getting the benefits of low, stable energy costs without going through the work of installing the panels.

If you are considering the purchase of a home with solar panels, be sure that the solar panels are up to the quality standards you expect. You will also want to examine the warranty and other documents that accompany the installation.

When you weigh all the factors involved in buying a home that already has a solar panel system installed, you might decide that your focus will shift from finding a solar home for sale to finding your ideal home and contracting for the solar installation yourself.

At the end of the process, you’ll discover that the effort to seek out and create your ideal solar home is well worth the reward: a comfortable home with low energy costs for years to come.

Going solar from the ground up

There’s no doubt that purchasing a home tops the list of exhilarating experiences – from exploring for that perfect neighborhood to settling in and figuring out where to place treasured objects. But even more thrilling is building a home.

If you are thinking about switching to solar energy, incorporating that plan into a home you are building present the ideal opportunity to design and install a solar panel system that will meet your electrical energy needs for years to come. When you are choosing a builder, select a company that will work with you to incorporate solar into your new home.

No matter whether you are building a new home from the ground up, purchasing an existing home or upgrading your current home by installing solar panels, the first step will always be a solar site analysis. In the case of new construction, a site analysis can identify the perfect location for your home. This early planning allows you to incorporate energy saving design elements that can reduce consumption and lower energy costs even further.

One of the most important considerations is how much sunlight will fall on the proposed home site. The location of trees, the size of your property, the design of your roof and geographic features of the site will be evaluated as you work with your builder to maximize the amount of sunlight available for energy production.

During this process, your solar company will obtain the permits – typically building and electrical – that are required for your project. If your new home is in a community with a homeowner’s association, find out their requirements. Plans for your solar energy system may need to be submitted for their approval. As solar becomes more common, the permitting process is becoming easier to navigate.

Incorporating solar energy into your new home construction allows you to have the maximum amount of control over your energy bills. When you design and build your home to maximize your solar energy output and minimize your energy use, you have created the best of all possible worlds. Instead of the uncertainty about your energy costs, you will own and operate your own clean, renewable energy supply for the life of your home.

In Austin and the surrounding area, GoProSolar is the only solar company with years of experience in new home construction. If you are planning to build an energy efficient, solar powered home, you’ll want to schedule a consultation today. You’ll get the guidance you need to make your dream of a new, solar powered home a reality.

Texas Leads the Way

When you say Texas, people think “energy!”

That’s been true since Spindletop in Beaumont gave birth to the modern oil industry and it continues to hold true today.  Now, however, along with traditional energy sources like oil, gas and coal, Texas is also becoming a leader in renewable energy.

Here’s how the Lone Star State stacks up in three major types of renewable energy:

1) Biomass energy comes from plants used in livestock production and other agricultural industries. For example, the stalk, husk and leaves of corn fed to cattle can be used to create biomass fuel. Instead of going to waste, these byproducts of agricultural production help create valuable energy resources. Scientists are working toward more efficient ways to harness biofuels and put them to work.

Texas leads in production for many of the agriculture products that are used to produce these renewable energy sources. Canola, sorghum and even switchgrass, which is a Texas native plant, all have huge potential as a fuel source.

2) Geography plays a key role in the ongoing prosperity of Texas, particularly when it come to wind energy. Location and topography work together to create huge potential to harness wind energy into clean, renewable and cost-efficient electricity. One of the world’s largest wind farms is in Roscoe, Texas. Georgetown, just north of Austin, recently made history by becoming the first city powered by a combination of wind and solar energy. The decision was made based on the desire to create a long-term, sustainable energy program with predictable cost.

3) Solar is the fastest growing energy source in Texas in 2017, surpassing growth in biofuel, wind and traditional power sources, too. Just like Texas, solar energy is characterized by diversity. From huge solar farms in West Texas to rooftop solar systems installed on homes and commercial buildings, there are many ways to harness the energy of the sun.

One of the primary benefits of solar, and the key to it’s great potential, is that each individual homeowner has access to solar power. While installing your own windmill is out of the question for suburban and city dwellers, rooftop solar is a practical way to access the savings and other benefits of renewable energy.

There is a place in our energy future for all of these clean, renewable fuels. In fact, by creating multiple sources of energy, we create a stronger economy and a stronger state. Once dominated by the oil industry, today Texas is the leader in industries ranging from aerospace to entertainment to technology and tourism. Economist call this diversification. Most of us here in Texas just call it smart!

Get started today on creating your own reliable, renewal energy resource by contacting GoProSolar!

Solar energy, your way!

Seems like everyone is excited about solar energy! In 2016, solar sources made up 39% of new electric generation added, surpassing other technologies for the first time.

Why? Because the cost of generating solar energy is falling, and cities and counties across the country are working to streamline the permitting process and reduce barriers to installing solar systems.

As you might suspect, Texas is quickly becoming a leader in solar energy. Because of our geography and climate, Texans have a clear advantage in creating their own energy independence using power from the sun on long, clear days and storing it for their future use. However, if your goal is to connect your solar energy to the grid, or the system that connects power producers and users across the state, we can help you do that, too.

For most of our customers, we create a solar panel system that is tied to the traditional utility power grid. With this arrangement, customers generate electricity for their own needs using solar panels they own. Excess power they produce can be added to the grid, creating credits that can be used if their production falls short in the future. This type of system helps smooth out the peaks and valleys of electricity production throughout the year. For customers who chose this type of system, the utility company serves as their backup if the weather turns gloomy and supplemental power is needed. You will need to check with your electric utility to find out about their solar energy program as you decide about going solar.

The big advantage of a solar panel system that is connected to the grid is its lower initial cost and ease of installation. It still requires that you be connected to the power grid and you may have some months when you pay a utility bill, though it will be lower because of the energy produced by your solar panel system.

Are you that more independent sort of Texan, who has bigger dreams of independence and living off the grid? We can work with you to design and install a totally independent system that not only produces adequate electricity for your needs, but also stores it for use later if your energy production slumps.

A self-contained system is ideal for homeowners who are serious about energy independence and are willing to make the investment. This type of system uses solar panels plus specially designed batteries. So, instead of sending extra power generated on sunny days into the grid, that energy is stored for your future use.

This type of solar plus battery system requires a higher upfront investment, but it allows complete freedom from electric bills. We take pride in helping many of our customers achieve total energy independence.

Why choose GoProSolar for your self-contained system? We’re the only local company that provides this proprietary system. While most solar companies focus on panels, our experience and expertise makes us true solar energy system providers.

Want to know more? Schedule your consultation today!

I’m ready to go solar – how do I start?

Schools out, summer’s here and temperatures in Central Texas are soaring.  It’s no wonder that many homeowners are asking this question! After all, the sunlight is intense and solar panels can harness it into a precious resource: electric power to fuel our busy lives.

If the question has crossed your mind, you will need to spend some time analyzing your home and how your family currently uses electricity. This process takes a little time and effort, but you will find ways to save money and use resources more efficiently, too. Gathering that information is the first step toward going solar and stepping away for high electric bills.

To find out how solar panels can help, you need to determine your energy needs. Start by looking at your electricity usage over the past year, or the longest period you have access to. This information will help you know how much electricity your solar panel system will need to generate. It will help you pinpoint areas when you might be able to adjust your energy consumption, too. If you have recently made other investments, perhaps in new, energy efficient appliances or installing new windows, take those factors into account.

You will need to look the appliances (refrigerators, clothes dryers, etc.) and systems (heating and air conditioning) that drive your energy consumption. This stage of your process is an opportunity to fully understand your energy use by scheduling an appointment with an energy auditor. This involves looking at your entire home to determine places where your home is leaking the heated or cooled air back into the great outdoors. Your auditor will evaluate your home, inside and out, and help you get the full picture of where you can save energy.

Your energy audit will show where you can reduce energy waste and make your home more comfortable, too. For example, if there are spots in your home that are always too hot or too cold, could be that a leak or draft keeps your HVAC system from doing its job. Finding the source of the problem and correcting it will enhance the comfort of your family and lower energy consumption, too.

This information about your energy use helps your solar panel company design a system that will provide for your energy needs year-round. It provides the basis for making a series of decisions about the type of solar panel system to help you reach your goals.

Once you determine your energy needs, your solar energy consultant will work with you to design residential solar panel system that’s right for you. Things like the size and slope of the roof and the amount of sunlight available, along with the number of kilowatt hours your household needs, will determine the cost of your system. Your consultant will provide a report that shows your potential savings.

Here in Central Texas our summer days tend to be long, bright and sunny. We at Pro Solar can help you capture plenty of that good sunshine to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Ready to get started? Contact us for your free initial consultation today!