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Why Go Solar – The Benefits of Installing a Residential Solar Panel System

There are plenty of incentives for households to get excited about. You can acquire free energy from the sun’s rays. You can save on significant utility bills. More and more people are finding this idea appealing. The NREL, or National Renewable Energy Labs has stated that there are now 45 times more households that have solar panels installed in them.

The proliferation of solar panels could be due to a number of reasons. Incentives such as getting tax credit worth around 30 percent of total solar panel installation costs are one. Excellent financing plans that eliminate the burden of startup installation costs on solar panels could be another. Last but not the least, the production of solar panels have been soaring over the past few years, thanks to countries such as China. So, how does one harness the sun’s power to provide electricity? What are the benefits of getting a residential solar system?

The Power of the Sun

Going with solar panels means you use the sun’s rays to power your home, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can live off the grid. One popular option is to have your solar company install a two-way meter, or net meter, that will still let you get juice from the electric company. The solar panels will eventually give you more power than you’ll need, and the two-way meter lets you put electricity back to the grid. The electric company then pays you for the energy provided. Eliminating all electricity costs is possible, but the more likely scenario is that you use your residential solar panel system to generate up to 90% of all the power you’ll need.

The power of the sun is limitless. Installation of solar panels is now possible with a combination of both financial incentives and the cost of electric rates in your area.

Don’t forget that one of the standout features that you can get from solar panels is that you won’t have to worry about energy hikes, especially electricity rate hikes. When you install a solar system, you get locked in at the lowest possible rates due to the nature of solar power. Homeowners will no longer have to worry about stretching their monthly budget when an energy rate hike goes on. You won’t have to sacrifice some of the household necessities such as food, groceries, clothing or monthly rent/ mortgage when you install a panel that provides a stable, low rate. Monthly budgeting becomes more efficient and predictable. You’ll potentially have more money at the end of the month you can put to the bank.

The Benefits of Solar Panel Systems

A typical solar power system can cost up anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000 depending on the scale and need for residential power. The federal tax credit you’ll receive for solar panel incentives are already factored in. When you do the math and check for your local electricity rates, you’ll quickly find that you can save up around $100 to more than $200 on utility savings per month. The figures are for the average electric bill per household. All things considered, you will have the potential to get back the investment costs on installing solar panels in about 5 to 10 years at most. If are a homeowner and are not planning to move anywhere sometime soon, this becomes an excellent alternative.

But now there’s an option to get a solar lease, which eliminates the need to pay huge installation costs to get a solar panel system running. With a solar lease, you will not need to shell out money right from the start. A solar lease happens when you contact your solar company and have them do a solar panel installation, then pay a smaller monthly fee or get charged a discounted rate for when the solar panels generate power. You won’t be able to get the benefits of an upfront installation in terms of tax breaks, loans or any rebates, but cheaper electricity will be had right then and there. You still save on typical electric utility bills by about 15 to 20 percent, which translates to around $20 to $40 per month. The solar companies may also sweeten the deal by providing a maintenance contract for the lease.

Solar loans also give homeowners the perks of having a solar panel installation lease without upfront costs, and often with bonus maintenance contracts. Most people are sure to get greater savings as they consider having solar panels power their homes. Just to give you an idea, most loan interest rates are somewhere between 3 to 7 percent for the 10 and 20-year loans. When you factor in all the numbers and do the math, you can still come out on top. Residents can potentially save up to 60%, or anywhere from $50 to $120 per month as long as they put the tax credits as payment for the loan. When the loan is paid off, you can stand to gain more benefits because the solar panels are tough and they can be used for 25 years or more.

Last but not the least, installing solar panel systems in your home immediately increases your property value by a significant margin. If the time comes and you need to sell your home, people will be more likely to view your solar panels as a bonus and most of them are willing to pay a premium for it. Real estate agents factor in solar panel installations in the overall value of a home. The idea here is that future owners won’t have to go through the trouble of installing new panels because one is already there. They save money and get free energy.

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How Solar Panels Do Their Job

Do you have any idea how much energy the sun pours onto this world in just one hour? Enough to power all of humanity for a whole calendar year. Enough to power over 400 quintillion homes!

Just How Do Solar Panels Do Their Job?
A typical solar installation is comprised of a multitude of modules that are aluminum framed. Every module has photovoltaic cells, also known as PV cells. When the sun is shining, each PV cell immediately turns light into electricity. It is the light that matters, as the heat is not used.

PC cells have a top layer of phosphorus-diffused silicon. It carries what are known as free electrons. There is also a thicker layer, a boron-doped bottom that has surface areas free of electrons. Precision manufacturing of such PV cells creates electronic imbalance in between the top and bottom layers. This creates an effect at a molecular level, where photons of light that come into contact with the cell wind up bumping electrons from the semiconductor’s negative layer into the positive layer. That bumping action and activity essential creates an actual electrical current, since the electrons eventually flow into the metal contacts as such. They then flow into a 60-cell module closed loop or circuit through a bottom solid contact layer.

Arcadia Power Launches First Nationwide Community Solar Program

The new program makes clean and renewable solar power an option for electricity customers across the United States, no matter where they live.

Arcadia Power, an online renewable energy company, announced today the first nationwide community solar platform that gives people around the country the opportunity to support solar energy and get savings on their bills – no matter where they live.

This is a huge step forward for the residential solar industry which only caters to a small segment of homeowners in select states. Arcadia Power’s technology platform can connect solar panel production from a remote site directly to a customer’s power bill, and does not require any additional equipment or installation on a customer’s home.

Home Owners, Realtors and Prospective Buyers Can Now Instantly Find Out a Home’s Solar Energy Potential with Sun Number Scores on Zillow

Sun Number’s Rooftop Solar Power Potential Technology Now Featured on Zillow

Sun Number and Zillow® are putting instant analyses of properties’ solar energy potential at the fingertips of home owners, home buyers and real estate agents with a new feature on Zillow that makes the Sun Number rating of a residence just a click away.

Sun Number provides a simple-to-understand analysis of how solar-friendly a building is based on factors such as regional climate, daily sun exposure, foliage coverage from nearby trees and more. The 0-100 score and accompanying details help users understand how much they can benefit from solar power, reducing their utility bills and reliance on fossil fuels in the process.

Top 12 Ways to Keep Your Home Cooler in Long Beach

AMECO Solar - Top 12 Ways to Stay Cool

By Alex Deeter,

How to Save on Your Electricity Bill NOW

This August was a very warm month for California. Did you know that it was the hottest August Earth has ever recorded? These hot months unfortunately contribute to much higher electricity bills. Luckily, having gone solar, hot days don’t have as drastic an effect. With the hottest days on record however, everyone’s electricity bills went up. Unfortunately, utilities limited the size of your solar system to your previous annual use. When you use more, the utility will charge you accordingly.

Southern California Edison redesigned rates to eliminate the top tier. Edison announced this summer that rates were increasing 8% for homes. That’s the average increase however, and the energy conscious are getting a worse deal. Customers who stay within the tier one and two will see those rates increase 12% and 17%, respectively.

Feds Hope To Have 13 New Solar Power Plants On Public Lands By 2010


By Timothy B. Hurst,

Interior Sec. Salazar and Sen. Reid announce plans to fast-track commercial-scale solar power development on public lands.

In a plan announced on Tuesday, federal agencies will work with western leaders to designate tracts of U.S. public lands in the West as prime zones for utility-scale solar energy development; fund environmental studies; open new solar energy permitting offices, and; speed reviews of industry proposals.

Under the zoning portion of the initiative, 24 tracts of Bureau of Land Management land located in six western states, known as Solar Energy Study Areas, would be evaluated for their environmental and resource suitability for commercial-scale solar energy production. Those areas selected would be available for projects capable of producing 10 or more megawatts of electricity. The Solar Energy Study Areas (maps) located in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah encompass about 670,000 acres.

Speaking alongside Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Secretary Salazar vowed to have 13 “commercial-scale” solar projects under construction by the end of 2010. He set a goal of producing a total of 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.

Essentially, the plan would streamline the entire development process; coordinate zoning and environmental studies, and; prioritize the processing of the projects. The new plan will tap resources made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama.

“This environmentally-sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users,” said Secretary Salazar. “The two dozen areas we are evaluating could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.”

“It’s about time to make the permitting process more efficient and provide greater guidance to solar developers,” Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association trade group, said in a statement.

But the plan will likely face opposition from some environmental groups and political leaders. In particular, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation opposing solar development on BLM land in the Mojave Desert back in March, calling the proposals “unacceptable.”

The federal Bureau of Land Management has received applications for 158 solar projects on 1.8 million acres capable of generating 97,000 megawatts, enough to power an estimated 29 million homes.

Tax Credits and Nanotech to Make Solar Energy More Affordable

Light, flexible solar panels made with nanotechnology will soon bring down the cost of installing household solar energy systems, and new federal and state tax credits are providing additional incentive.