Intro To Solar Energy
You’ve seen the panels, right? The ones on someone else’s roof? And have you ever thought, “I wonder what they pay” or, “does it actually work”? Or how about these: “it’s probably a hassle” or, “yeah, those are for THOSE kinds of people”.
You’re not alone. On this page, we’ll be exploring all things residential solar: What it is, why it is, how it works, and what it takes to get the free energy from the outside into the outlet. Where do we begin? In the beginning.
In the beginning, there’s the sun.
You know, the reason that there’s light or energy at all. It’s the way we found the fossil fuels that power most of our houses today. And since the start of fossil fuels, we complain when it’s summertime, that the sun’s too close and that it’s too hot, and that our energy bills are too high. Isn’t it interesting that the the thing that holds enough energy to power everything has become the thing that’s making the energy bill go up? Is it possible that the way we’ve been doing energy isn’t the brightest? Perhaps the reason the sun is ignored in the energy conversation is because it can’t be owned, held, or even looked at too long. It can only be partnered with.
I Wonder What Solar Power Actually Costs...
Let’s say a homeowner pays $250/month for electricity. They are considering the switch to solar, but they’re worried that they cannot afford it. Let’s also say that a solar system costs $30,000, and then there’s a 30% off tax reduction because the government incentivizes a sustainable future.
So the system costs $30,000, and the homeowner gets a loan. They choose to payoff this loan at a similar price that they’d paid for monthly nonrenewable energy. They pay $300 a month, at 4% APR and at 10 years they pay off their solar system. This does not include the $9,000 that the homeowner would’ve gotten back for the 30% tax credit, an amount they could either put towards the loan (paying it off quicker), or putting it towards something else. The solar system performs the way they were told it would, and the family pays no more than a couple dollars a month to the electric company (We did a case study with some of our clients, click to here to see how Northern California solar owner’s are experiencing solar energy). At the end of the 10 years, the family is now enjoying free energy, and have essentially become their own power plant. How long will this family get to enjoy the fruit of their system? The system comes with a 25 year warranty, and that warranty acts more like a floor for the system’s lifetime than it’s ceiling.
Next 25 years with Solar Energy…
…or, the next 25 without it
By paying $50 dollars more a month, the homeowner has set themself up for decades of free energy. Why did the homeowner make this decision? They realized that every homeowner must pay (x) for energy, and that the homeowner can choose between paying for energy they’ll never own, or for an energy structure that will channel free energy. The homeowner chose the latter, and now they’ll enjoy a lifetime of free energy.
Want to know more about government incentive programs for Solar Energy?
Does Solar Power Actually Work?
By now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, who knew?” Who knew that the sun could produce all the energy I need, or that the system I need to get free energy, if broken down, is actually pretty affordable. When you zoom in on other questions like, “what happens when the grid goes down?”, or “what are the other financial incentives?”, or “is my roof ready for it?”, we’ve got you covered. What you need to know is that not only is solar possible for you, it’ll be one of the wisest decisions you make. Like any good investment, it’s about losing a little today, so you can win when you get to tomorrow.
So how does solar technology work?
Solar panels are made with mostly silicon, and are designed to garner the sun’s energy. The energy goes through an inverter that translates the energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Alternating current is the kind of current you’ll need to power your house. As long as the sun is shining, the panels take in the sunlight and keep the flow of energy moving from the sun and into electricity. Solar panels haven’t always been as efficient as they are today, but in the latest evolution of solar technology, designers have made some significant adjustments. The system that Addy Solar likes to install is the Fixed Voltage System. The Fixed Voltage System uses a single inverter to communicate with an optimizer to help each panel run efficiently and at its highest potential. The optimizer is a solid-state component, and it optimizes the efficiency of each panel output. These optimizers allow the systems to operate at their full capacity and wattage. Before the Fixed Voltage System, the popular system on the market had many inverters. Those systems, the micro inverter systems, did not allow the panels to operate at their full capacity. The inverters were not big enough to allow for the full potential of a panel. With the higher wattage optimizers, the solar panel can now operate to its full KW capacity. These are the workings of the newest type of system in the solar industry.
There’s one type of solar system that trumps them all.
Download this free whitepaper and find out why the fixed-string system is so revolutionary.
What about when the sun isn’t shining? When it’s nighttime? What then?
Most solar systems have this type of relationship with the grid: When the sun is up and there’s no energy being used in the house, the solar system sends the energy it’s producing to the grid. The grid holds it like credit until the homeowner gets home. When the homeowner returns, and it is, say 8 PM, the grid sends back the energy the system made during the day. This way, the homeowner isn’t dependent on whether or not the sun is up, but whether or not they have energy left from the daytime. If you’re home during the day, and you use a lot of energy at your house, there’s a storage option. With the battery, you can get back the energy you made and sent to the grid, as well as store an extra supply of energy with your battery. With the battery, you pretty much insulate yourself from an electric bill of any kind. This way, whether rain, night, or shine, you’ve got free solar energy ready to power your life. Ahead, we’ll take a look at a solar system right here in Redding, how it’s doing, and whether the owner is getting what they paid for.
How Much Could I Be Saving with Solar Power?
So how are people in Redding, Ca experiencing solar energy? A few months ago, we did a case study where we interviewed some of our clients to find out how they were doing (more on that case study here). Before these homeowners made the switch to solar, they were promised that solar energy would nearly eradicate their energy bill. After a few years time, we checked with the homeowners from the case study to find that, indeed solar energy had brought these homeowner’s electric bills to almost nothing (median, $3.00/mo). While all of these clients are experiencing virtually no electric bill today, they are paying more a month for energy than they were before. The difference is that now, instead of paying that (x) a month for energy, they are paying the (x) towards an energy structure. Once the energy structure is paid for of course, the energy is free. These systems are collecting all the energy the owners need, and they do so with consistency. Clients are seeing solar energy sustain their energy needs throughout the whole of the year. This adds further resolve to the frequently asked question, “Well what about when it’s raining, or when it’s winter?”. These studies show that when the system’s production is analyzed at at the end of a full year (and not just an isolated look at a rainy day), the system performs up to the standard it claimed it would. All in all, these case studies brought evidence to the “never go back” assertion that solar energy makes. Solar energy gives its owners the financial space they need to direct finances towards a personal, sustainable energy structure.
What Is It Like Having Solar?
Here are some solar monitoring screenshots from one of our clients in Redding. She says that throughout the summer her system is overproducing (making more energy than she needs). This customer has a solar system and a battery, which you will see in some of the screenshots below. With a quality system and storage capacity at her home, she has more free energy than she needs (a problem any Redding summer resident wished they had). This is a prime example of how Redding residents are experiencing solar energy.
This screenshot is showing that most of the solar energy that is coming in is charging the battery. The battery is being replenished so that, when it is nighttime, the home has stored energy ready to use until the next morning. This way, the home has solar energy reserves ready to go and doesn’t need to buy energy from the grid.
This screenshot shows the output in kwh for each panel during different times of the day. All of these screenshots are from a Solaredge portal; one that provides the homeowner with data for their system’s production. In this picture, you’ll notice that the top rows are a darker shade of blue than are the bottom rows. The lighter (blue) the panel, the higher energy output the panel has. When the panels are darker, it could mean shading or in worst case, a panel going bad. With a solar monitoring package, Addy will monitor your data to ensure that your system is running at peak efficiency.
This screenshot shows the production of the system, what is being consumed in the house at any given time, and the energy either taken from or given to the grid. Overall, the home is producing more solar energy than is needed in the house. This means that at the end of the time period the homeowner will likely be gaining credits from PGE.
How to get started with Solar Energy
We’ve determined that solar is not only saving the planet, but that it’s also bringing people right here in Redding, Ca energy savings. We found out that without solar energy, a person keeps paying for energy and never sees an end. Yet with solar, when a person pays off a system, they get free energy from the sun. We found that for locals here in Redding, solar does live up to these claims, and that these people are experiencing the payout they had hoped for. Where does that leave you? Would you like to keep paying electric bills? Or would you like to see an end?
Give us a call, and we’ll give you a free estimate. We’ll start by looking at your last year of energy bills, and determining the size system you’ll need at your house. Next, we’ll determine where the system should be installed (roof or ground), and what must be done to get your house solar ready. Then, we’ll come in and install the system, and once it’s up, we’ll be monitoring your system and providing maintenance when necessary. We know you couldn’t install a system at your house, or even know where to start, and that’s okay. We do. With hundreds of systems installed in Northern California, we are learned in installing the system that’s right for you. We install a system that’s tailor made for your energy needs, and let the sun do the rest. After all, it’s never failed us yet.