How it Works
As solar energy has become more popular, it is important to understand why and how it works before making the switch. Solar energy is a renewable energy source which means it can be replenished within a human’s lifespan. Solar panels capture the sun’s energy through photovoltaic cells. Let’s breakdown this process into a couple of step for easier understanding.
Step 1: The sun radiates energy that is emitted onto the earth’s surface. This energy can be captured through photovoltaic cells which are located in a solar panel. This energy is converted into DC (Direct Current) electricity.
Step 2: Our homes receive energy in the form of AC electricity (Alternating Current). So, in order for DC to become AC, we need to connect solar inverters to the panels. There are 2 different types of solar inverters, string and microinverter. We will go into more detail about this later on.
Step 3: The AC electricity can now flow into your home and power it.
Step 4: If you are still connected to the grid, excess power will flow onto the grid when you are not using max production. When your panels are not producing more energy than you are consuming then it will pull from the grid. However, if you are off grid you will have batteries which will hold excess power that is not being used.
A solar system is made up of 4 main components; panel, inverter, racking/ mounting, and battery. Below are the 4 components with a little bit of information to help you better understand your system.
This is the main component when thinking about a solar system. The panels are where sunlight, or solar irradiation, from the sun is turned into DC electricity. Electrons are stimulated in the panels by the sun and begin to move through the solar cells creating electricity. The panel generates electricity based on the amount of sunlight emitted not heat, so it is important not to get the two confused.
As we discussed earlier there are two different types of inverters, string inverter and microinverter. A string inverter is when you connect a group of panels together creating a string and then connect to one main inverter. This inverter is placed in an electrical box that is typically placed on the side of your house wall. Because the panels are attached to one another, if one panel starts acting up then it can affect all the panels like Christmas lights. A microinverter is an inverter that is attached to each panel rather than one inverter for 12 panels. Say you have 36 panels then you will have 36 microinverters. All the microinverters are then connected through a cable trunk that runs to an electrical box. This allows for the panels to operate independently of one another. Essentially, they both convert electricity from DC into AC that can flow into your home.
Racking / Mounting
This is what attaches your solar panels to a roof or the ground. It is important to take into account the orientation and inclination of the roof or ground to capture the greatest amount of sunlight. There are a number of different racking systems out there. We typically use flush mounting for roofs which is when the solar panels are flushed with the roof. There are a number of benefits including reduction of wind loads, roof protection, reduction of dead load on the roof, works well with sloped roofs, and can withstand high winds. We also use ballasted racking when installing on flat roofs and ground fixed tilt for ground installations.
Batteries store excess energy that is generated during the day and used at night. This is not a must for your system but can be very useful if you want to be 100% self-reliant.
Why Should I Go Solar?
You may be asking yourself why should you go solar? Well there are a number of different reasons why.
- BIG SAVINGS: When you go solar you are simply replacing and reducing your current electricity bill. We aim to offset you current bill completely allowing you to receive a bill of $0 a month.
- Avoid Utility Inflation: It has been projected that the price of utilities will continue to increase. By going solar, you become 100% self-reliant on generating your own energy. You will no longer depend on a utility company to provide you with energy. While you may see utility costs go up, you will see solar energy costs go down. Technological advances have made solar energy very affordable and will only continue to go down in cost.
- Increase Property Value: When you add solar panels to your home it’s like adding a new appliance to your house. When you remodel your home, the value of your home tends to go up. The same thing happens when installing solar panels! The value of your property will increase, however, say you want to take the panels with you – we can do that. We will uninstall your solar panels and then reinstall them on your new home.
- 100% Independent: As mentioned earlier, by going solar you will be self-reliant and will not depend on any conventional energy companies to power your home. Fossil fuels are a non-renewable energy resource, its supply is limited and will eventually run out – unlike solar, a renewable energy resource.
- Protect the Environment: This is a pretty big one for all you environmentalist out there. Solar energy is a renewable energy source meaning it is unlimited and replenished within a human’s life time. The sun is an unlimited energy source that we can rely on unlike fossil fuels that have an expiration date. Additionally, burning fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other by-products that contribute to air pollution. When going solar you reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating your reliance on fossil fuels for your electricity and ultimately your contribution to air pollution. Our monitoring systems will show you exactly how much CO2 you are reducing when using your system. We aim for a sustainable planet, so that our grandchildren can experience all that we have today.
- Incentives and Rebates: Although the price of solar has gone down, the government and local agencies have incentives and rebates in place in order to lower the cost even more. The government offers a 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) however, since the beginning of 2020 the precentage has gone down. It is important to take advantage of the ITC before it runs out. Local government and agencies do offer other rebates and incentives, but these vary between states and cities.
- Solar is EASY: When you choose to go solar with Solar Power Integrator we do all the work for you! All you have to do is provide us with your electricity bill and we do the rest; from system design to permitting to installation and lastly inspections. You just get to sit back, relax and wait for your system to turn on. Once the system is operational you will start see money back in your pocket!
Solar incentives help keep the cost of solar down and make it affordable for you. The Federal government created the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) back in 2006. This allows for a homeowner to apply a 26% tax credit to their personal income taxes after the purchase and installation of a solar system. However, businesses that install, develop and/or finance the solar project will claim the credit and reduce the cost of your installation. A tax credit is a reduction in the income taxes one would pay the federal government. Since 2006, the ITC was at 30% however, the beginning of 2020 it was reduced to 26%. In 2021, the ITC will reduce to 22% and then in 2022 commercial installations will be at 10% while residential will be eliminated. The reduction in the ITC makes it very important to take advantage of the tax credit sooner rather than later! In addition, local governments also have incentives to keep the cost of solar down. Call today to see what our local government and agencies can do to help keep the cost of your system down!
Net Metering & Buyback Programs
When your solar system generates more electricity than you are using, the electricity gets sent back onto the grid. In this case, most states will allow homeowners to sell their excess electricity back onto the grid putting money back in their pocket. However, Texas is one of the few states that does not have this in place. Instead, there are buyback programs in place that are provided under utility companies. Essentially, if your system is producing more electricity than it is consuming it will go back onto the grid and you will be credited that towards your monthly electricity bill. The buyback programs varies for each utility provider, so before going solar it is important to take a look at each utility provider’s program.
We offer a few different financing options to help you get your solar system installed. During our energy consultation we will get you pre-approved. All you do is answer a couple of simple questions and in seconds you will know if you have been pre-approved. It’s that easy!
Our goal is to help you save as much money as we can! We do this by reducing your electricity bill that you are paying to a utility company. Why give all you money to a utility company who will just raise the price in the future? We want you to be self-reliant and 100% independent. Once the system is paid off you will have free electricity powered by the sun!
When installing with us, we provide you with a way to monitor your system and see how it is doing. These monitoring systems are available online and begin operating once your system is turned on. Here you’ll see how much your system is generating at any given time, if it’s pulling or sending electricity from the grid, how much CO2 is being offset, and other features. However, they vary based on the type of inverter that is used. If there’s ever a problem with one of your panels we will be able to see that here and immediately solve it.