Saturday, 13 July 2013

Buying Solar electric systems

You are looking for a solar electric system to fit ? Here are some planning tips for considering solar electric systems that are sure to help you a lo

Look at incentive programs. Check the web site for federal, and state tax credits and rebates. The U.S. government offers a 30 percent tax credit on solar and other renewable energy systems, with no ceiling, through 2016.

Check locally. See if there are any rebate or other programs offered by your municipality or local utility. Some cities and companies offer loan programs and other incentives to get people to invest in solar arrays.

Look at your roof. Which direction does it face? What’s the tilt, orientation and shading? If it faces south and isn’t shadowed during the day, you’re a good candidate to produce solar. Productive arrays can also be put on west facing roofs. A good solar installer can calculate your roof’s potential for producing electricity from solar panels.

Check the age of roof. If you only have a few years left on your shingle warranty—many are for 20 years—replace the roof first. You do not want to be pulling up expensive solar panels to replace shingles.

Consider financing options. Do you want to pay cash or lease the panels or re-finance your home? “Buy it with cash and you’re buying twenty-five years of power,” Bono says. Some banks also offer green loans. Having good credit is critical. Some companies likeSunRun do solar PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements), in which someone else owns and maintains the system and you pay a fixed or variable cost for the power produced. If that’s less that what you pay from your utility, it could be a good deal. Leasing is an option if you have little or no money to put down, but it may restrict your ability to sell your house, and you won’t receive any rebates, tax credits or energy credits. The leasing company gets those. So a good rule of thumb is that if you can swing the upfront payment, do so. After rebates and tax credits, moderately sized systems often cost around $15,000.

What aesthetics do you want? Some framed solar panel modules use blank panels to blend in nicely with a roof. (And when you’re saving money, solar panels always look better.) There are also more expensive BIPV (Built-in Photovoltaic) products that mimic the look of a shingle, for example.

Look at architectural standards in your neighborhood and local building codes. There could be restrictions on some additions by local homeowner associations. State and federal laws are changing to allow for residents to install renewable energy devices without the approval of homeowners’ associations, though the associations may still dictate the placement of the device.

Inverters are important. The solar panels kits may be the visible and sexy part of the system, but the inverter is the heart and soul of a solar array. Don’t cheap out on these. Check the manufacturer and how long they’ve been around, the warranty and how your solar installer will service and check its performance. “Inverters have gotten a lot better. They help with harvesting power and getting the most out of the solar system.

Check all manufacturers. Many cool solar technologies are emerging today, from thin-film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) and CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) products. But these are not as efficient as the rigid crystalline silicon panels that abound today, and some of the crystalline silicon manufacturers like Sharp and Panasonic (Sanyo) have been around and aren’t going anywhere.

Source: Peak Solar

1 comment:

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