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 off grid?

Most residential solar customers will remain on the grid. In other words, they will use their residential solar panels to reduce their energy bills while contributing their excess production to the grid. They will then use the grid for backup when their energy needs surpass their own production. This is a great solution, and for many, it truly offers the ideal situation.

For others, however, there is a real desire to be totally energy independent. These customers have the available resources, in terms of the initial investment and access to enough space for their solar panels to make this dream a reality.

While installing solar panels is easy, designing and installing an off-grid system takes a considerable investment of time and resources. Before you make your final decision, here are some thoughts to consider.

Why do you think going off-grid is an option? There are a variety of reasons both practical and philosophical.

At the top of the list of practical reasons is that your home or business is in a location that currently doesn’t have access to the grid. In that case, you will need to research the cost of creating your own system. It will most likely be a substantial array of solar panels, along with a storage system. Compare the cost of your system to what the local utility will charge to connect you to the existing grid.

Another aspect of going off-grid to consider are the practicalities of producing your own energy in the same consistent, reliable way we have become accustom to. Most of us have lived for many years in a system where energy is abundant and as easy as flipping a switch. By going off-grid, you will have to put serious consideration into replicating that system with your own resources. You will most likely be required to make some lifestyle adjustments, too, so that you can effectively balance your energy production with your consumption.

When you are totally off grid, your biggest challenge will be dealing with the fluctuations in power production. When the days are long, sunny and cloudless, no problem! Your solar panels will keep all your systems running efficiently. Cloudy days and the rainy season are another story all together. That’s why it’s so important to work with a solar company with expertise in the design and installation of solar installations that incorporate an adequate storage system along with the solar panels.

Of course, this type of system can represent a significant investment.  The good news is that your solar energy back-up system may qualify for tax credits and other incentives, too. As always, these decisions should be made in consultation with your tax advisor.

The best way to determine if now is the time to go off the grid is to contact a professional solar system design company and schedule an initial consultation. Get started today and realize your goal of energy independence today.

Credits, rebates, incentives, oh my!

Would getting a generous tax credit make your decision to go solar easier? Or maybe getting a rebate that reduces the cost of your investment in going solar? Interested in learning about what financial incentives are available?

If so, keep reading to learn where you can find the latest information about what’s available to help make your dream of going solar a reality.

Let’s start at with the Federal Government programs. These programs generally use tax credits to reward individuals by allowing a credit that reduces any tax owed. In 2017, the solar credit is up to 30% of the investment made.

Always consult a tax expert about your individual situation before making a decision about items that affect your tax return.

The state of Texas does not have an individual income tax, so there are no rebates or incentives for solar investment offered at the state level. However, Texas residents who install a solar system on their home are increasing the appraised value of their home. State lawmakers recently decided that this increase in value will be given an exemption from property tax. As always, please check with your personal tax advisor regarding these questions.

At the local level, here’s a sample of the type of programs available in the area GoProSolar serves

  • Austin Energy offers rebates to homeowners who install Photovoltaic panels on their home. To find out what they are currently offering and how to get started, visit their website:  http://bit.ly/SolarRebatesATX
  • Austin Energy has programs for business/commercial property, too: http://bit.ly/AustinSolarBiz
  • San Antonio is working hard to increase the solar capacity of their city, so CPS has a residential solar rebate program. Visit their page for information on their program and tips for getting started: http://bit.ly/CPSSolarRebates

In addition to these programs for homeowners and small business, there are many programs at the federal, state and local level.  Visit: http://bit.ly/dsiretexasprograms for a searchable database of programs for Texas homeowners and businesses.

Solar is always a great investment, but incentives, rebates and tax credits make the decision even easier – go solar!