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  1. Can Solar Panels Withstand Hurricanes, Hailstorms, and Lightning Strikes?

    The sun produces an infinite amount of energy, which can be harnessed with a sustainable solution. But homeowners need to be informed about the durability of solar panels before they decide to invest in them. Solar panels are durable, but they’re not indestructible. They’re great for homes that are located outside most hurricane zones. But if you live in an area that experiences a great deal of natural disasters (such as hurricanes and hailstorms), you may want to invest in solar panels that are designed for use in those types of climates.

    Solar panels can withstand extreme wind speeds, and they don’t break easily when they come in contact with ice pellets produced by hailstorms. But while they can endure these conditions, they may experience some type of damage. You will need to determine how much power has been lost after a storm has hit your home.

    solar panels during a storm

    Using Solar Panels in a Hurricane Zone

    A lot of people don’t realize it, but solar panels can get severely damaged during a hurricane. So, they will need to take certain precautions to keep them protected. While they’re strong and resilient, they’re not immune to the effects of nature’s most powerful forces. If you live in an area that gets frequent hurricanes, you need to know how you can protect your investment. You will need to take certain steps (such as removing or covering your panels), so they can’t get damaged by flying debris or strong winds.

    Solar panels are usually safe from any damage caused by strong winds and heavy rain because they’re secured with straps or brackets to keep them from sliding off roof racks, but some homeowners have ended up with damaged solar panels caused by flying debris. You want to make sure your system is properly strapped when you’re installing it. This will keep it from flying off your roof because of strong winds. You also need to be mindful of any leaves or branches blowing into parts of your system.

    The Durability of Solar Panels During Hailstorms

    The chance of your solar panels getting damaged by hail is very low, but it’s not zero. Solar panels are built to withstand harsh weather conditions (such as strong winds and heavy rain). They can also withstand light to moderate impacts from hail. But if you live in an area that’s more prone to hailstorms (such as Texas), you need to know exactly what happens to solar panels when they’re exposed to hail. You also need to know what steps you can take to protect them.

    Hail can damage both the external surface and the internal components of your solar panels, but not all solar panel warranties cover hail damage. Most homeowners’ insurance policies offer hail coverage for solar panels that are installed on roofs, and high-quality panels have a great deal of resistance to hail damage. They have also been tested to withstand these types of weather events.

    If the surface of your solar panels gets cracked after a hailstorm, the unit will still work. But they can cause your solar production to decrease. So, they may not operate at maximum efficiency, output, or voltage. You can test this by taking a voltage measurement of the broken panel. You should also take care of these issues early, so the internal components don’t get damaged.

    Protecting Your Solar Panels from Lightning Strikes

    There’s nothing that will completely protect your solar panels from lightning strikes, but there are some things you can do to protect your system. In most cases, you can keep solar panels from getting damaged by having them installed by a professional. There are also two important things to consider when it comes to protecting them from lightning strikes:

    • Grounding — Having a grounding or earthing system installed will be the safest and most effective way to route excess electricity, which will flow back into the ground. They will also protect your solar panels from high-voltage surges that lightning strikes can cause.
    • Surge Protection — Installing surge protection devices is a critical part of protecting your solar panels from power surges or voltage spikes that are caused by lightning strikes. Their purpose is to shield your solar panels from high voltages.

    Lightning isn’t the only thing to worry about if your solar panels get hit by a summer thunderstorm. They often come with heavy rain and strong winds that can also affect your solar panels. The good news is that they’re remarkably durable in the face of severe weather — that is, if they’re properly installed.

    If you’re looking for one of the best places for installing solar panels in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to Solar Power Integrator.


  2. Is it Worth it to Go Solar in Corpus Christi?

    Corpus Christi is a vibrant coastal city in the State of Texas that’s known for its beaches and rich cultural heritage. It also gets over 2,800 hours of sunshine every year, which makes it one of the most ideal places for harnessing the benefits of solar energy. Using solar power in Corpus Christi can come with many benefits — both for its residents and for the environment as a whole.

    Corpus Christi, TX downtown

    The Benefits of Using Solar Power in Corpus Christi

    The most obvious benefit of using solar energy in the Coastal Bend is that it’s a great way to lower electricity bills, as the scorching Texas sun provides more than enough solar resources. Homeowners and businesses can use this free and renewable energy source to generate their own electricity. By installing solar panels on rooftops or in open spaces, Corpus Christi residents can reduce their dependence on conventional power coming from the grid. It will also protect them from the unpredictability of electricity rates, which can fluctuate.

    Using solar power in Corpus Christi can also contribute to environmental sustainability. It’s clean and renewable, which can help to reduce air pollution and our dependence on non-renewable energy resources (such as coal and natural gas). The City of Corpus Christi encourages solar adoption through various incentives and policies. The State of Texas also offers a robust net metering program that allows owners of solar energy systems to receive credits for any excess energy they generate and feed back into the grid. There are also certain federal incentives (such as the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit) and other local rebates that can reduce the upfront cost of installing a solar power system, which can make it a more attractive investment.

    Why You Should Consider Going Solar in Corpus Christi

    Here are some of the reasons why you should consider getting solar power in Corpus Christi:

    • You can save money on your energy bills — Depending on the size of your system, having one installed can reduce or even eliminate your monthly electricity costs. It’s one of the main reasons why people choose to install solar power in Corpus Christi.
    • You can earn tax credits and incentives — Many government organizations offer tax credits, rebates, and incentives to encourage people to adopt solar energy. These financial incentives can offset the initial cost of installing solar panels and can even give them more long-term savings.
    • It can increase your property’s value — Solar panels are more likely to attract potential buyers, because they can give them the benefit of lower energy bills. Some studies also suggest that solar panels can increase a home’s resale value.
    • It can reduce your environmental impact — Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source. You’re generating energy from the sun, which will reduce your carbon footprint and create a more sustainable future.
    • You will be more energy independent — Using solar power in Corpus Christi will allow you to generate your own electricity, which reduces your dependence on the grid. This can give you energy security, especially during power outages or in remote areas where grid electricity may not be readily available.
    • It can be a great long-term investment — Solar panels have a lifespan that will often go past 25 years, so you can enjoy their benefits for many years. This makes solar power in Corpus Christi a great long-term investment.
    • It supports renewable energy — By installing solar panels, you’ll be supporting the growth of renewable energy and will be paving the way toward a more sustainable future.
    • It creates jobs — The solar industry has created jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, as well as in research and development. So, deciding to go solar in Corpus Christi will stimulate local economies and create more employment opportunities.
    • It supports more technological advancement — Solar technology has made a number of technological advancements, and it continues to do so as we move into the future. As the technology evolves, solar panels are becoming an increasingly attractive and accessible energy solution.

    It’s important to do a thorough evaluation of your specific situation before you make a decision. You need to take your location, energy needs, and financial situation into careful consideration. You also need to consider your locale climate, available incentives, and your home’s potential for generating solar energy. Be sure to speak to a professional for more information.

    If you want to find one of the best places for solar power in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to Solar Power Integrator.


  3. Do You Need to Hire a Professional to Install a Generator?

    Part of being a homeowner is planning for the unexpected. That’s why everyone needs insurance, smoke detectors, and a safety kit for emergencies. Having a generator installed is one more way you can protect yourself in case of a power outage, when everything from food spoilage to uncomfortable temperatures can occur. Power outages can happen at any time and during any season. They can be caused by storms or even the overuse of electrical systems. One windstorm can topple trees, which can damage power lines or even cause the lines themselves to blow down.

    home generator installed

    What to Consider When Buying a Generator

    A backup generator is an investment. You also need to have the space to store or install one. Here are some things that you should think about as you purchase a generator:

    • Where can you store a portable generator?
    • Where can you safely store fuel for a generator?
    • How many of your appliances are electric?
    • Do I need a transfer switch?

    A stationary generator is installed and connected to the fuel source, so it can be activated when it’s needed. There’s also no need to store fuel or to refuel the generator while it’s being used.

    Benefits of Getting a Backup Generator Installed

    A backup generator and its installation are big expenses, but you need to compare it to the cost of a non-functioning security system or HVAC unit during a power outage. Not to mention, the potential losses that can come from the electricity not working as it should. Different terms are used to describe a standby generator. It can also be called a “stationary generator” or “whole house generator,” and it becomes necessary during multi-day power outages.

    A standby generator installation can have the following advantages:

    • It comes on automatically when the power goes out.
    • It makes less noise while it’s in use.
    • It’s covered and protected from the elements, so it will work during a rainstorm or when there’s moisture.
    • It’s already connected to a fuel line and can run on natural gas or propane.

    All of these are reasons to have a standby generator instead of a portable one.

    Reasons to Hire a Professional for a Standby Generator Installation

    If you want to have that easy transition to backup power during an outage, the proper connections and precautions need to be taken by someone with the right experience. When you’re doing any kind of electrical work, certain types of tools and equipment need to be used (which is something that the average homeowner won’t have lying around in a garage). The installation cost will include the use of all this gear, which the electrician knows how to use properly.

    Here are some of the things that electricians will most likely do when they’re installing a generator for a home:

    • Install a subpanel if it’s needed.
    • Enter the home to install a circuit breaker.
    • Relocate existing circuits.
    • Install a transfer switch.

    There will most likely be a need for other people to pour concrete or perform any other related tasks, so the generator can be installed on a stable and level surface. The electrician will have recommendations for or relationships with people who do this type of work, which can save you the time it would need to do the research yourself.

    Safety and Local Codes for Standby Generators

    An electrician will know all the latest codes that relate to installing a standby generator in the safest possible manner. Not installing a generator properly can have serious consequences that can threaten both life and property. Some of them can include gas leaks, fire hazards, and even air poisoning inside your home. Your generator should come with a warranty, which is more likely to be honored when the homeowner can show receipts for a professional installation that has been done correctly.

    Generator Maintenance and Repairs

    Even if a generator hasn’t been used, it will still need regular maintenance to make sure it works properly. And for their safety, many electricians can’t or won’t work on a generator that wasn’t installed by a professional. Even a generator that’s under warranty isn’t exempt from all of its maintenance requirements. So if you get it professionally installed, you’re more likely to find someone who can do the work that’s needed to keep it in good shape.

    If you’re looking for a qualified standby generator installer in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to Solar Power Integrator. We would be happy to speak with you about your specific needs!


  4. How to Find a Quality Electrician

    Electrical wiring may seem like a simple thing because either the light goes on, or it doesn’t. Your electrical system is a vast independent network of circuits that are safe if they’re installed properly. But if they’re poorly designed, they can damage appliance motors and electronic gears because they didn’t get the right number of amps. Lights that are connected to even partially overloaded circuits can flicker when an appliance is being used. The breaker could trip, or a fuse can blow (which can shut the circuit down entirely). That’s why you need to hire an experienced electrician to help you avoid these problems.

    How to Find and Hire the Right Electrician

    Electricians tend to specialize in specific areas. Some focus on electrical installation for new construction projects. Others focus on commercial work, while some only do service calls related to electrical repair (whether it’s to fix dead outlets or repair faulty fixtures). Electricians who specialize in remodeling have mastered the techniques for wiring existing homes and additions (such as snaking wires through finished walls, determining the capacity of existing circuits, and deciding whether to install another service panel).

    Most general contractors have a small list of reliable electricians. But if your contractor can’t recommend one, get in touch with your local homebuilders’ association or an electrical supply store in your area to see if they can give you a recommendation. Be sure to tell them what type of work you’re doing, so they can match you with the right person.

    When you’re interviewing an electrician, ask them to give you a copy of his or her state license and proof of insurance. Make sure that both of them are current. An electrician who is working on a standard remodeling job for a residential property should have at least $500,000 in liability insurance, as well as workers’ compensation for everyone on the job site. If it all looks good, check any references and look at any previous jobs that he or she has done in the past.

    quality electrician work

    Qualifications of a Home Electrician

    Finding a good electrician is easier than finding the right carpenter or plumber. You can assume that electricians have a certain level of competence when they show you their state license, but there are two levels of professionalism that you have to consider. Most types of electrical work require a permit, which is issued by your local building department. Before the building inspector can sign off on the job, he or she must look at it to see if everything is up to code. This adds another layer to the proverbial safety net.

    Master electricians have to pass a standardized test and must have at least two years of experience. They know the National Electric Code and any modifications that your state has made to it. They have the necessary qualifications to plan, design, install, and maintain an electrical system for your project. Journeyman electricians haven’t qualified for the master’s license, but they’re also licensed by the state. Some states require them to work with a master electrician. They’re not legally allowed to design electrical systems, but they can install wiring and equipment.

    Judging an Electrician’s Quality of Workmanship

    While it takes a trained eye to find mistakes made by an electrician, you can eliminate some names on your list by looking at the neatness of their work. If you’re able to access a site, find a place where there are a large number of wires running together (usually near a service panel). The flat, white, plastic-sheathed cable that’s used in the wiring of most residential electrical systems should run to the service panel in a neat and orderly fashion. If the cables are crossed and jumbled (or if they droop from joist to joist), the electrician isn’t doing a methodical job or taking the level of care that’s needed to safely install electrical wiring.

    The cover plates on switches and outlets around the living area should be plumb and square to the wall, and they should be flat against the face. If they’re not, the electrician didn’t take the time to set the utility box squarely against the studs and at the proper distance from the wall. If any part of the work looks sloppy, hire an electrician who pays closer attention to detail.

    If you want to find a quality electrician in Corpus Christi to help you with any type of installation or repair, be sure to reach out to Solar Power Integrator.


  5. Solar Panel Maintenance 101: Tips for Maximizing Efficiency and Longevity

    There are many advantages to installing solar panels in your home. Not only can they be a great way to save money on your energy bills, but they will also go a long way toward reducing your home’s carbon footprint. Installing them isn’t exactly inexpensive, but they can last about 25 to 30 years. You’ll have plenty of time to see a return on your investment. But if you want to get the most value and productivity out of your solar panels, you will need to do the proper maintenance.

    While their maintenance requirements aren’t as heavy as other parts of your home, you can’t just forget about them. All you need to do is give your solar panels a good cleaning, because dirt and debris can collect on your solar panels (especially during storms and long periods of rainfall). You may also want to consider scheduling an annual inspection with a solar specialist who can make sure everything is in working order.

    How You Can Monitor the Health of Your Solar Panels

    To keep an eye on the health of your solar panels, you should regularly check them for the buildup of dirt and debris (which can affect their performance). It’s natural for your solar panels to experience a decrease in performance as time goes on. But if they’re underperforming, it might be a good idea to see if they need a good cleaning. Some solar panels have mobile apps that will show you how much energy each panel is producing in real-time. If you see a dip in performance that’s unusual for their age and condition or if something has gone wrong, you’ll get an alert on your phone.

    How to Maintain Solar Panels

    Because dust and debris can build up on your solar panels (which can affect their production), keeping your solar panels maintained may be as simple as grabbing a hose or bucket of water and cleaning them off. This is the only type of solar panel maintenance you need. But if you don’t want to do it yourself, you can hire someone to do it for a relatively low cost. If you experience any other problems, you can contact your solar panel installer to schedule an inspection. That way, you can find out if any other types of solar panel maintenance have to be taken care of.

    How Often Solar Panels Need to be Maintained

    Because solar panels require very little maintenance (with the most common issue being the buildup of dirt and debris), it will depend on where you live. It can also depend on your area’s climate, environment, and weather. If your area has an active storm season, you may need to clean your panels more often during that time of year. If you live in an area where you can experience long periods of no rainfall, you will most likely need to check your solar panels regularly for dirt buildup.

    Solar panel companies often recommend cleaning your solar panels at least twice a year, regardless of the weather conditions and where you live. This will reduce the chance of having too much dirt and debris collecting on your panels. More will accumulate as time goes on. The longer you let it go, the harder it will be to clean. Read the manual that came with your solar panels, and look for any suggested maintenance practices.

    The Cost of Solar Panel Maintenance

    While the cost of keeping your solar panels maintained is pretty low, it might be worth considering other costs. Some solar panel companies have a mobile app that will allow you to monitor your usage, but you can always get your own by paying a small fee. If you’re spending $300 a year to have someone clean your panels twice a year and $200 for an annual maintenance inspection, those annual costs should be considered while you’re figuring out your break-even point for getting solar panels.

    What You Need to Know About Solar Panel Warranties

    The warranty from your solar panel company is a promise to fix or replace your solar panels if they don’t work properly or have any defects. Manufacturer warranties will usually cover solar inverters, solar batteries, as well as any defects related to workmanship or materials. Installers will also offer warranties, which typically cover any damage or defects during the installation of your home’s solar panel system. They may also offer a production, performance, or power output warranty (which guarantees that your solar panels will produce a certain amount of their original energy (also called “output”) over a certain period.

    If you’re looking for one of the best places to get solar power in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to Solar Power Integrator.


  6. Understanding Generator Fuel Options: Gasoline, Propane, or Diesel

    One of the most important things to consider while you’re finding a generator for your home or place of business is the type of fuel it needs to run. Most people believe that all fuel types are the same or that it doesn’t even matter, but it isn’t true. Fuel types can vary significantly in terms of price and availability. They will also have different storage requirements, which is especially important if you’re running a generator.

    When it comes to fueling generators, diesel, gasoline, and propane are among the most common fuel types. There is no “universal fuel” for every single generator, but each one has its own set of advantages (as well as their drawbacks). Knowing this will help you to determine which type of generator works best for you.

    Pros and Cons of Diesel

    Diesel is one of the most common fuel types, and it’s one of the most popular. In fact, diesel generators are often used for facilities that run high KW appliances (such as commercial businesses) and for locations that need to have a steady supply of power to stay operational during emergency situations (such as hospitals and 911 call centers).

    Here are some of the advantages of diesel fuel:

    • Diesel is an easy fuel source to find.
    • Diesel generators are the most suitable for long-term use.
    • Diesel generators are the least expensive to operate and maintain over the long term.
    • Diesel is the least flammable of all the other fuel types, so it can be stored on site for quick and easy fueling.

    Some of the disadvantages of diesel fuel include:

    • Diesel has a shelf life between 18 and 24 months.
    • Diesel generators produce more engine noise than all the others.
    • Diesel isn’t as effective in cold temperatures, so it has to be used in combination with another fuel source to power generators in colder climates.

    Be sure to speak to a professional for more information.

    Pros and Cons of Gasoline

    As a fuel source, gasoline is the easiest to find. As long as they produce less than 150 KW of power, it’s suitable for most generators. They’re commonly used by people who need residential backup generators, but the issues of safety and affordability are among the most important when it comes to gasoline usage (especially when you compare it to other fuel types).

    Here are some of the benefits of using gasoline as a fuel source for generators:

    • Gasoline is the easiest fuel source to find.
    • Gasoline generators have a simple fueling process.
    • Gasoline is the most suitable fuel source for portable and smaller standby generators.

    Some of the drawbacks of gasoline as a fuel source include:

    • Gasoline has a shelf life of only 12 months.
    • Gasoline is extremely flammable, which makes it a safety hazard for on-site storage.
    • Gasoline is expensive, and the demand for it always goes up during an emergency.
    • Gasoline is the least suitable fuel source for cold weather conditions compared to other fuel sources.

    Be sure to talk to a professional for more information.

    home generator

    Pros and Cons of Propane

    Because of the cost and complexity of storing it, propane isn’t used for commercial or industrial purposes. But it’s a great fuel source for smaller generators that are used to power any necessary appliances at home during a power outage. Some other advantages of using propane as a fuel source for generators include:

    • Propane generators produce very little engine noise.
    • Propane is a clean-burning and emissions-compliant fuel source.
    • Propane has a limitless shelf life, so it’s easy to store on-site for refueling.

    Here are some of the disadvantages of using propane:

    • Propane generators have a complicated fuel system.
    • Propane storage containers are pressurized and highly flammable.
    • The installation and maintenance of propane generators are expensive.
    • Propane generators have a high consumption rate and a short life expectancy.

    Be sure to reach out to a professional for more information.

    Final Thoughts

    All these fuel types have their own uses, benefits, and risks when it comes to their use in residential or commercial backup generators. Not all of them are suitable for large-scale operations (such as commercial and industrial businesses), each of these fuel sources can be used to create backup power for your home (as long as you follow all of the specific safety requirements).

    If you’re looking for one of the best places to purchase backup generators in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to Solar Power Integrator. We would be happy to speak with you about your specific needs!


  7. How Much Has the Price of Solar Panels Dropped?

    The average cost of solar panels in the U.S. is about $20,000, which is a significant drop from 10 years ago (when the average cost was more than $50,000). Now, the average cost of a solar panel installation is anywhere from $17,430 to $23,870 after taking the federal solar tax credit into account. On a cost-per-watt basis, the price of solar panels is an average of $2.95 per watt (which is before incentives). This is based on marketplace data from thousands of users across 37 states and Washington D.C.

    solar price falling

    What Can Affect the Cost of Installing Solar Panels?

    There are a lot of things that can affect the price of installing solar panels. Because it’s such a unique product, the price you’ll pay to get them installed will depend on your specific situation as well as other factors related to your property and your electricity use. Here are some of the common things that can influence the cost of solar panels:

    • System Size — The bigger your solar panels, the more expensive it will be to install. But the average per-unit price for solar panels decreases as the system size increases.
    • Location — Pricing can also vary by location, which can lead to differences in both local quoting trends and system size differences. Areas with a larger system size will have lower average cost for installing solar panels.
    • Panel Brand and Quality — Like any other product or appliance, solar panels can come in varying degrees of quality (which often depends on the brand).
    • Panel Type — The type of panel you install (which will often be monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film) will have a direct impact on the quality of the installation. In this case, higher quality means a higher price.
    • Roof Characteristics — The cost of a solar panel installation doesn’t just come from the equipment being used. The installer will also charge you based on the difficulty of the installation, so having a more complicated roofing system will increase the cost of the system.
    • Labor — Solar panel companies charge different labor rates for their work. So, you may want to pay a higher price for a more reputable company with better reviews and a shorter timeline for installation.
    • Permitting and Interconnection — While it’s not a huge factor, paying for permits and your interconnection fee to the grid will add a little more to the cost of your solar panel installation.

    Be sure to speak to a professional for more information.

    How Do You Pay for a Solar Panel Installation?

    Once you have determined the cost of installing solar panels for your home, you need to decide how you’ll pay for it. There are three main financing options for residential solar system:

    • Cash Purchase — This is a good option if you want to maximize your savings on a solar panel installation (provided that you have enough money to pay for the system upfront and you have enough tax liability to take advantage of the solar tax credit).
    • Solar Loan — This is a good choice if you don’t want to get the amount of cash you need to pay for a solar panel system upfront and you still want to maximize the savings on your energy bills (while being able to take advantage of all the available incentives and rebates).
    • Solar Lease — Also called a PPA, a solar lease is a good option if you want someone else to monitor and maintain the system. It’s also a good option if you aren’t eligible for any tax incentives or if you just want to reduce and/or lock in your monthly electricity bill.

    Be sure to speak to a professional for more information.

    How Long Does It Take to Break Even on Solar Panels?

    It takes an average of 8.7 years to get back the upfront cost of a solar panel installation, but it’s better to think of solar panels as an investment instead of as a single product that you’re buying. The point that you break even on solar panels (which is called the “solar payback period”) can be calculated by dividing your combined costs (which is the gross amount of your panel installation minus any incentives and rebates) by your annual financial benefits (which is the amount you save on electricity combined with any eligible incentives and rebates).

    Your payback period will depend on a few things, and it includes your electricity rates and energy usage. As energy costs continue to go up, you’ll be able to protect yourself from these rising prices by getting solar panels for your home. The faster energy prices increase, the shorter your payback period will be.

    If you’re looking for one of the best places for installing solar panels in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to Solar Power Integrator.


  8. Raise the Roof for Happy Customers

    Installing a rooftop solar system is a great step towards achieving energy independence and lowering utility bills.

    Solar energy has the potential to be exceptionally beneficial for both residential and commercial buildings; booking an appointment for a consultation is sometimes over looked amongst customers. There are many factors that apply to a home’s energy bill, but lets go over a few key points to consider during a physical assessment.

    Once we get an analysis on the electrical panel & a rundown on the customer’s expectations, we will begin the physical assessment. Here are some important things to consider if you decide to go green with solar power:

    Backyard Solar Install View

    Roof Quality

    Before installing solar panels, the quality of the existing roof should be assessed. Most roofs last about 20 years but if the roof is due for a replacement, the replacement should be completed first. Solar being installed on a roof that is less than 10 years old is ideal. Installing panels on a roof that needs to be repaired will only result in excess money spent on the removal and reinstallation of the system.

    Roof Pitch

    The pitch of a roof can affect the production of a solar system. The latitude of the location where panels are being installed is considered an optimal tilt. Typically, pitches between 30-45 degrees work well, although most tilts within range will produce sufficient production.

    Azimuth

    Azimuth is the direction of the sun from the observer, angular distance from the north or south point of the horizon to the point at which the horizon meets the observer. Both south and west facing roofs tend to be the best orientation for solar systems in the northern hemisphere. Like pitch, the azimuth will also affect the amount of energy produced by solar panels. In some cases, utility rates may influence the direction of the system. For example, a time of use rate plan will benefit from a solar system that is positioned to have optimal irradiance during on peak hours (when energy use tends to be the highest).

    Shading

    Roofs need substantial sunlight to benefit from solar panels. Solar panels convert the sun’s rays into energy. Without the sun, solar panels are unable to produce electricity. Shading affects the solar system’s performance. Trees and rooftop obstructions typically create shading. Cloudy days can also result in a less efficient system. The location where panels are being installed can help determine the severity of cloud shading. Depending on the components of the solar system, some system’s production can be impacted greatly by shading.

    Obstructions

    Rooftop obstructions may be a critical obstacle in system design. Obstructions can vary from pipes to chimneys and skylights. Depending on the height and width of the obstructions, shading severity can vary. Aside from shading concerns, obstructions also restrict the system design. An aesthetically pleasing system design might be unachievable if the obstructions are permanent or unable to be moved.

    Setbacks

    Different codes require different setbacks to be implemented on solar system designs. For example, the fire code requires a three-foot setback from the ridgeline and sides of the roof plane. Codes may vary under which jurisdiction has authority and are continually changing. If there is already a lack of roof space, system design will be affected. On larger projects, walkways and setbacks around larger obstructions such as rooftop HVAC units are common.

    Understanding what factors affect a solar system’s performance is important when considering an installation. Rooftop systems typically have a variety of fixed features that are unable to be manipulated with ease such as the steepness or direction of a roof. The influence these elements have will better prepare an owner on what to expect out of their solar system.

    To book a free assessment, call Solar Power Integrator at (361) 360-1800 or click the link to visit the website!


  9. Green Energy Boom In Texas Utility Markets

    Much attention has been given to the exorbitant electric bills issued by a single company selling an extremely high-risk index-based service in Texas – which unfortunately backfired on that company and its customers in light of rising spot market prices caused by power generation issues during the recent winter freeze.

    Texas electricity rates are cheaper overall than regulated markets. Further, competition and consumer choice have resulted in ease of use and innovation that enables consumers to find cheaper rates and switch plans in minutes online, or choose to buy green electricity plans, or take advantage of special offers such as smart devices to reduce their consumption – whatever fits their desires. In fact, Texas leads the U.S. in green energy generation with 25% of its electricity produced by renewable green energy sources in 2020, more than any other State.

    green texas

    Since 2006, electricity generation in Texas from renewable sources increased over 1,200%, from 2% in 2006 to 25% in 2020 – that’s 12.5x growth in green energy in 15 years.

    For those familiar with the Texas deregulated market, the WSJ article’s stated methodology for concluding that Texans in deregulated markets paid $28 billion more for electricity than their regulated neighbors appears overly simplistic and inconsistent with the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) own data on average electricity prices nationally and in each State. The WSJ article does not share its numbers, but states that it “calculated separate annual statewide rates for utilities and retailers by adding up all of the revenue each type of provider received and dividing it by the kilowatt-hours of electricity it sold.” It must be noted, however, that there are other sources of revenue generated by Texas retail electric providers (REPs), such as the commercial sale of smart thermostats, home energy monitoring devices, warranty products, HVAC services, and home services bundles, as well as revenues from the sale of excess power in the market, derivatives used to hedge its load requirements, or even their own power generation. Without transparency into the WSJ’s internal model calculations and a true apples-to-apples comparison of actual pricing within these diverse electricity markets, WSJ’s conclusions can neither be accepted nor verified.

    Another factor is that significant numbers of deregulated Texas electricity customers purposefully pay more for their energy to subsidize green energy through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). Most Texas electricity retailers provide “Green Energy” plans that are premium or semi-premium priced that directly subsidize wind and solar projects through RECs.

    At the same time, the EIA’s own by-State retail electricity price analysis states that average Texas retail prices since 2016 are on average 18% lower than the U.S. national average and ranks Texas as the 8th least expensive State for retail electricity prices. This clearly does not reconcile with the WSJ claim that the 60% of Texans pay 13% higher rates than the national average. Separately, the American Public Power Association studied average State rates from 1997, prior to any U.S. deregulation, through 2018 and noted that average electricity prices in 2018 vs 1997 increased nationally at a rate over 50% higher than price increases in Texas over that same period.

    It is abundantly clear, however, that consumers find tremendous value in shopping for better prices and more service options, as well as the innovation and convenience brought about by the competitive electricity marketplace in Texas. This is reflected by continually increasing satisfaction ratings in JD Power over the past decade and our own Electricity Ratings reviews, in which over 10,000 customers have rated retail providers and expressed their opinions. To further emphasize the importance of comparison shopping, our internal data shows that shoppers using our online Texas marketplace have saved 20% since 2013 versus regulated rates in Texas, while enjoying some of the best and risk-free rates in the U.S.

    Texas stands as the benchmark of success in deregulated energy markets, and while the recent cold weather disaster pointed out flaws in the generation, distribution and wholesale marketplaces. Texas’ retail electricity marketplace continues to provide innovation, value, and savings for those that take the time to get an estimate on their home.

    To get a free estimate on your home, visit Solar Power Integrator’s website or call the office at (361)360-1800.

    https://energycentral.com/c/pip/texas-electricity-rates-are-not-only-cheaper-deregulation-has-spurred-innovation


  10. How to Pick Your Home’s Generator?

    Considering the recent blackouts in Texas, and the 2019 outages in California, the home backup power industry is more essential than ever. And it’s also more varied than ever, due to cost-competitive solar generation and battery backup competing on the home generator’s turf.

    There are pros and cons to consider when deciding between portable vs. standby generators, and solar battery backup vs. generators. There’s also the hybrid option of combining solar panels with a backup generator. This article, built on the knowledge of our Square D™ residential energy experts, explores each approach to help you decide.

    working on new generator

    Portable generators vs. standby generators vs. solar

    Prepare for the next outage by weighing the pros and cons of short-term versus long-term fixes.

    1) Short-term: portable generators
    Let’s start with portable generators: a quick and easy power source for your home. These affordable machines typically run on either gasoline or diesel fuel. To play it safe, budget at least $30 per day for fuel costs.

    Choosing the right size portable generator is important because it’s possible for them to overload. Overloads happen when you use more watts than your generator can handle, resulting in machine deterioration, fire, and possibly even an explosion.

    To determine the correct portable generator for your home, consider making an appointment for an estimate with a utility provider such as Solar Power Integrator. This system captures device-level data on your household’s energy consumption and provides a clear picture of how many watts each appliance is using. Armed with this information, you can properly size a generator for your home.

    A licensed electrician can also use the data from your home energy monitor to help you identify critical loads in your electrical panel and determine the best way for you to switch these loads on or off. For example, you may want your refrigerator and lights to remain on but you can do without your washer, dryer, and dishwasher.

    The bottom line: Portable generators for the home are suitable when you require immediate power to your critical loads with low upfront costs, but they require manual startup, take time to turn on during an outage, and incur ongoing fuel costs. Another factor to consider is that many portable generators are quite noisy.

    2) Long-term: standby generators
    Standby generators, also known as pad-mount generators, are permanent household fixtures installed outside your home on a concrete pad. The unit size you need depends on your home’s square footage. During an outage, pad-mount generators power on automatically and continue running indefinitely, most often using your home’s natural gas or propane.

    Although they cost considerably more than portable models when you factor in installation, a standby generator’s automatic operation and stress-free refueling provide peace of mind to homeowners in energy-inconsistent regions.

    3) Long-term: solar with battery backup
    One of the cleanest energy solutions during an outage comes from solar power. However, most household solar panel systems feed directly into the main power grid, meaning they stop working during an outage and won’t produce energy again until the utility starts up. That’s why you’d still need to combine your solar panels with a generator or battery.

    To maintain power when the grid goes down, you can purchase either an off-grid residential solar power system or install a battery backup system that stores energy generated from the solar panels and switches on in the event of a power failure. For many years, the price of batteries made this approach cost prohibitive. Fortunately, the price of batteries has plummeted 89 percent between 2010 – 2020, and storage is rapidly approaching cost competitiveness compared to standby generators.

    Once residential solar and battery storage systems are purchased and installed at your home, energy generated from your panels is free and will power your critical loads indefinitely if the solar array is sized correctly.

    Prepare now by understanding your energy use

    Although we can’t predict the next big outage, we know that with worsening weather conditions and increased stress on the existing grid, it’s just a matter of time

    Prepare early by taking a deeper look at your home’s energy use using Wiser Energy. Not only will this monitor help you understand your backup power needs, but it also collects real-time information on your energy use — allowing you to make split-second decisions that extend the life of your backup energy source during an outage.

    https://blog.se.com/residential/2021/02/19/portable-generators-vs-pad-mount-generators-vs-solar-whats-best/


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582 Yorktown Boulevard
Corpus Christi, TX 78418
(361) 360-1800
info@solarpowerintegrator.com
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