If you have landed on this page, there is a good chance that you are a homeowner who is interested in using solar power for your home energy needs. While our website is full of great information about residential and commercial solar panel installation, those of you in the Maryland area have the opportunity to have your questions answered in person at our Solar 101 Workshop.
This two hour workshop will be held at the Solar Energy World headquarters in Elkridge, Maryland, and attendees will learn everything that they need to know about solar power for the home. This includes the process of analyzing your specific needs, the actual installation, financing and leasing information, as well as the details about special tax incentives for going solar.
Other benefits of attending the workshop include complimentary refreshments, and a tour of our solar powered rooftop, so that you can see the solar panels up close.
This event is free with RSVP or $20 at the door. RSVP is available on our Solar Workshop page.
At the Solar Energy World headquarters in Maryland, we have seen our fair share of extreme weather. If you are considering solar power for your home, you may be interested in knowing how durable your solar panels will be when subjected to the variety of weather extremes that occur on the east coast.
The solar panels installed by Solar Energy World are incredibly durable. The surface is made of tempered glass, like the rear windshield of a car. This means that, in extreme weather, you can expect the same type of performance from your solar panels as you can from auto glass.
On the east coast, we experience every kind of weather extreme, from snow and sleet, to high winds and hail storms. The factor that would hinder the performance of your solar PV system most would be the build-up something that blocks the sunlight from the photovoltaic cells. Luckily, our climate is such that we experience a decent amount of rainfall, so dust and dirt regularly are washed from the surface. The build-up of snow would decrease performance temporarily, until either the snow melted or it was brushed or swept from the roof. However, neither dirt nor snow would damage your system in any way, and function would resume as normal as soon as the cells were exposed to sunlight.
A hailstorm is capable of damage to many outdoor structures, but the occasional hail that falls in our area is rarely very large or substantial enough to cause real damage. Again, think of the performance of your car windshield during a hail storm. The tempered glass is built to withstand different weather events.
The threat of high winds involves the force of flying debris, such as tree limbs, and smaller outdoor objects. Smaller branches that are tossed around in a thunderstorm will not do any damage. It is also important to consider that the threat of trees and branches is typically decreased because your solar panels will need to be installed in an area without significant shade.
Remember, solar panels are not fragile pieces of technology. They are constructed to endure a wide variety of weather events, and continue to produce electricity when exposed to the sun!
Follow Solar Energy World on Facebook to learn more about solar power, and to keep up with company news and events.
By Samantha J. Majka
How would you feel if what you thought you knew was actually causing you to spend more money every month? Well, there is good news and bad news.
The bad news is that you may have been misinformed about what you need to pay for electricity, and the expense of changing that. The good news is that this article will show you the truth about paying for electricity for your home, and clear up any misconceptions that you may have heard.
One of the most common misconceptions about solar power is that it is only available to a small percentage of homeowners, mainly because of the cost of installation. This belief, as incorrect as it may be, may unfortunately dissuade qualified homeowners from even looking into their options for renewable energy.
Incorrect assumptions about the initial cost of going solar only benefit the utility companies, as electricity costs continue to rise. Many homeowners tolerate the swift kick to the wallet every month simply because they do not believe that they can do any better.
The overall cost of a solar power system can seem intimidating at first, but consider this: purchasing a solar power system is like buying a new car, and upgrading from a gas guzzling clunker. While the price tag may seem intimidating at first, consider the cost of upkeep on the old car, such as gasoline for an inefficient vehicle, and various, unexpected repairs. Buying a new car will likely mean a reliable monthly payment, and fewer trips to the gas station, meaning a more reasonable and manageable cost per month.
That is where solar leasing comes into play. The cost of electricity fluctuates, and rises over time, but many homeowners cling to what they know. Instead, a solar panel system can be installed on your home, while you lease it for a period of up to 20 years. Depending on your down payment, that cost per month will vary, but it will be consistent and reliable. Let’s say that your home is powered 100% by your solar power system, and you finance $20,000 of the cost over a period of 20 years. Your payment for electricity (in the form of your lease payment) will be approximately $83 per month every month, no matter what your utility company charges.*
*Actual cost per month cannot be determined by this article alone. If you are interested in solar power for your home or commercial property, please contact us for a free consultation to assess your personal options and situation.
By Samantha J. Majka
The severe weather this weekend left hundreds of thousands of homes without electricity, and efforts to restore power are still underway. Many homeowners with solar power may find their neighbors asking them whether or not they still have power, or prospective solar power customers may be wondering if switching to solar would prevent blackouts in their home.
Will my solar panels generate power during an outage?
The solar panels installed on your roof or on your property will certainly continue to generate electricity because they will absorb sunlight and solar energy as they do every day.
Will my home be immune to neighborhood power outages?
This depends on the set-up of your particular system. The majority of solar powered homes are still connected to the power grid, which is how net-metering works. When solar panels produce electricity, it flows into the grid, and the production is monitored and credited to a homeowner’s account (this is when your meter will roll backward). This is how excess electricity is stored, and it is how a home that may not be 100% powered by solar panels maintains power. Being connected to the grid means that the power supplied by the solar panels on your home flows back into the electrical grid.
You will notice that the majority of times, power outages are due to a disruption somewhere between the electricity supplier, and homeowners. For example, during the most recent storm on the east coast, power lines were snapped by high winds or downed trees. The power plant may still be fully capable of producing electricity, but there is a breach in the system (such as a broken power line) that prevents the supply from reaching the consumer, and it affects every consumer in that service area. Solar powered homes that are connected to the grid contribute to the production of electricity, but are not immune to blackouts that affect the entire community.
However, if you store the power generated on-site, you reduce the risk of a blackout. Doing so requires the installation of a battery backup system. This requires battery storage onsite, and is more costly than the typical net-metering approach, but it does mean that your home will continue to run on electricity even when the rest of the neighborhood does not.
If your home is connected only to the battery backup system, and is independent of the grid, your solar panels must be capable of meeting all energy needs of the home, 100% of the time; being disconnected from the grid means that there will be no backup option if the solar-generated electricity is depleted.
For a more detailed explanation of the available options, and to see which solution is right for you, contact a Solar Energy World representative, today!
By Samantha J. Majka
Solar power, while an attractive option for many homeowners, has been out of reach due to budget constraints. Although the price of solar panel installation has decreased significantly in recent years, homeowners still cite the initial cost as a major reason for remaining solar-free. Luckily, there is a new option that allows homeowners to reap the benefits of solar power with little to no money down. Solar leasing is now available, and for homeowners that cannot or do not wish to purchase solar panels upfront, this is a great way to make the switch to clean energy.
Anyone with approved credit can have solar panels installed, and pay a monthly fee to lease the panels. All components of the system will be covered for the duration of the lease. There are currently two different solar leasing options that homeowners can choose.
- Homeowners can opt for zero down payment, and pay a set fee to rent the panels every month. This option saves homeowners about $50 per month over what they would currently pay for their electric bill.
- There is the option to put money down, which would mean greater monthly savings. There would still be a set fee for leasing the panels every month.
At the completion of the 20 year term, homeowners can decide to purchase the solar power system at its market value, renew the lease for another term, or have the solar panels removed.
With Solar Energy World, homeowners who wish to lease are not limited in the brand or quality of panels. We offer a wide selection of high quality solar panels for a system that is uniquely customized for your home.
By Samantha J. Majka
Solar power is a great way to bring clean energy to your home, and reduce your family’s carbon footprint. In today’s society we are often removed from the source of the electricity we use, and therefore unaware of just how much pollution we create. With solar power, you can stand on the lawn, and look up at the solar panels on the roof of your house and know exactly where your electricity comes from, and exactly how much waste you create (nothing!).
Financially, there are several benefits that you can take advantage of as a homeowner. The most obvious is the fact that solar energy is free. Therefore, as electricity becomes more and more expensive for the average homeowner, the solar panel installation on your home will become more valuable. You may also qualify for certain grants and tax incentives that can help with the initial cost of solar panel installation.
At Solar Energy World, we want the process of solar panel installation to be as simple as possible for you. That’s why, on Saturday March 17th, we are hosting a free Solar Workshop for interested homeowners. Join us over a complementary breakfast and learn how you can go solar and start saving, today– we will even provide activities for children, so the entire family can attend.
Please RSVP by March 11th. Details and RSVP at MySolarWorkshop.com.
By Samantha J. Majka
Solar power is undoubtedly a great choice for eco-conscious homeowners that are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. Furthermore, solar energy is free, meaning that investing in solar panels can reduce your monthly electric bill to zero dollars (or even less, with net-metering). But the benefits of solar energy reach far beyond those reasons. In fact solar installation can significantly increase the resale value of your home, meaning that not only will you be saving money now, but you can expect financial stability and security in your family’s future by increasing the value of one of your most important assets: your home.
The value of solar can be found in the fact that it reduces pollution, leading to a cleaner, better world for future generations, and it saves money, which is an obvious benefit. But the interesting thing about solar power is that its value increases over time. As the price of traditionally supplied electricity rises year after year, this translates to more money saved by using solar power. In fact, according to American Solar Energy Society, each $1000 saved in home operating expenses (such as electricity) translates to a $20,000 increase in home value.
During its lifetime your solar power system will pay for itself more than once. Even when the value of the equipment has depreciated, experience shows that homeowners will still pay more for a home with the system already installed than they will spend to buy a different home and have a system installed themselves. The appeal of solar is strong, but so is the convenience of a home that is already determined to be energy efficient, and ready to be lived in. This demand actually causes homes that are energy efficient, boasting features such as solar power systems, to sell much faster than their less efficient counterparts.
The benefits of solar are obvious, and they only stand to increase as technology improves, and as the price of conventional electricity continues to increase. Solar Energy World is available to answer your questions about going solar. Follow us @solareworld on Twitter, and “like” us on the Solar Energy World Facebook page.
By Samantha J. Majka
Here at Solar Energy World, we love the new and innovative technologies that involve solar power. In fact, we spend a lot of time blogging about the great benefits of solar energy, and how it can not only help reduce your carbon footprint, but also seriously reduce or eliminate your energy bills. However, we understand that many of our readers may be browsing the Solar Energy World website for more information regarding the basics of solar power; after all, what better place to seek information than from the fastest growing solar energy company in the mid-Atlantic region?
Think about the sun. You already know that the sun is an abundance of light and heat. Both light (electromagnetic radiation) and heat (the speed and movement of the atoms in matter) are forms of energy, and we use both of these forms of “solar energy” every day. You have probably used a simple, solar powered calculator at some point, and you may have even tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk on a hot summer day. These, and even simple activities like sitting in the sun as opposed to the shade for warmth, are ways that we use solar power. So how do you take solar energy a step further and use it to power everyday things, like your hot water heater, a solar cell phone charger, or even your entire home?
The answer is in photovoltaic or PV cells. PV cells are comprised of materials like silicon. When radiation from the sun (sunlight) hits the silicon atoms, the electrons that bond them together increase in energy and begin to move more rapidly. This increase in energy allows the affected electrons to become part of an electrical current, which then can be used to power your home. The free, negatively charged electrons that create what we know as electricity flow through our homes through the wires that make up the electrical system, as they gravitate toward a positively charged surface.
While sunlight is a constant, daily occurrence, the amount of solar panels you need to fully power your home depends on the amount and quality of sunlight that hits the panels, largely dependent on your location. It also depends on how much electricity your home uses, and the efficiency of the solar panels themselves. As technology improves, the efficiency of solar panels increases.
This information is great for the times when the sun is shining, but what about on rainy days, or when the sun sets every night? Can you still power your home with the electricity gathered from the sun?
Absolutely! Solar energy can be stored in several ways. The electricity can be stored in the same way that rechargeable batteries are charged. However, the more popular, and less expensive, way of storing solar power is through net-metering. Net-metering allows the excess electricity created using your solar panels to flow back into the existing electrical grid. When this happens, the electric meter on your house will roll backwards, like a credit on your account. If you need to use the electricity, you draw it back from the grid, and the meter will roll forward. If you do not need to use the excess energy, you may be able to sell it to the electric company.
By Laureen Peck, Vice President of Marketing, Solar Energy World
Let’s say you have decided you want to reduce your dependency on your utilities company, have pledged to spend less on your home’s energy costs and are committed to decreasing your carbon footprint. You don’t need to be convinced that getting more of your energy from renewable sources is a responsible way for you to help end your country’s dependence on foreign oil. You also hold the fervent belief that leaving a healthier, greener world for future generations is the right thing to do. You have reviewed various clean energy options and are leaning towards solar.
The problem is that when you do a Google search, although you can see there are several solar energy companies listed for your area, they all look the same and appear to offer similar savings, financial and environmental benefits. So, how can you narrow down your choice to the solar installation company most likely to answer your very specific needs? Here are a few tips that could help save you some time;
1. Be wary of automated processes. Some solar energy panel installation companies provide a calculator or “typical” costs on their website so a homeowner can estimate their energy savings, rebates and tax credits and then sometimes “order” a solar system online. The problem with this automated approach is that in order to get a truly accurate estimate, a home solar energy expert really needs to have a conversation with the homeowner(s) and ideally come to the actual installation site so they can make sure all the elements of your home’s energy usage, roof and/or yard layout, family budget, financial goals, and your home’s current energy efficiency rating are all factored into the recommended solution. There is no question that a knowledgeable human being is more accountable and helpful than a computer can possibly be. Also, it can take time for a company to update their website, so sometimes the information shown is no longer accurate as incentives and rebates change.
Although going online to gather information is a good idea, going online to get a solar installation estimate and/or order an installation package is like going online to get a comprehensive medical checkup. A good doctor does not make a diagnosis or prescribe medications to her patients based on educated guesses. A solar installation company cannot give a homeowner a customized energy solution based on guesswork either. To make certain you are getting the best solution for your needs, it is smart to schedule a free in-home analysis with a solar energy expert, preferably from a company that also provides home energy audits and is experienced making homes more energy efficient overall.
2. Trees matter – but there are other options. It’s a myth that solar energy won’t work in colder, greyer climates. Remember when your mother told you to wear sunscreen lotion, even on the cloudy days? Mom knew that UV rays still get through the clouds. The fact is that solar works in all types of climates. If that were not true, Germany, a country certainly not known for sunny weather, would not be one of the world’s top photovoltaics (PV) installers in the world. Shade is a different matter, however. If your roof is shaded, you might need to cut down a few trees, or trim them. If you don’t want to do that, but have a good amount of property and your zoning allows it, you can still use the sun to power your home by having solar panels installed on mounts. To see an example of what pole mounted solar panels can look like, click here.
3. Good customer service is proactive, not reactive. Once you have narrowed down your selection to a specific solar energy company, make sure that company will take care of you before, during and after installation.
Prior to making a commitment, find out how much of the leg work you will have to do for yourself once you agree to buy. Will you have to be the one dealing with the utilities company or filling out all the forms for energy rebates and solar energy credits? Or will your installation company do that for you? The more the solar installation company does for you, the better. The company you choose should be the experts on all of the processes and have the most recent information about money saving options that you may not be aware of. They should also be experienced managing the bureaucracy involved with utilities so you won’t have that headache to worry about.
Also prior to installation, find out if the installers are subcontractors or actual company employees. There is nothing worse than having untrained, or barely trained installers on the job. Make sure the installers work directly for the solar installation company and are accountable to that company for their performance. Keep in mind that solar installation companies, in particular larger ones that are part of national chains, hire subcontractors most of the time so if you decide to go that way there is no assurance you will be getting the most qualified workers installing your system.
Make sure the company you hire will take care of you once you buy or lease from them. The whole point of using solar panels to power your home is that there is hardly ever a need for repairs or major services. However, there are rare times when the system goes down. In this case, it will be a lot less stressful for you if you are working with a company that not only allows you to monitor your system yourself online, but also continually monitors your system for you. What this means is that you should expect that your solar installation company will be on top of any problem that might occur and will be on their way to have it fixed before you even know there was a problem. If you bought your panels from a large solar installation retailer, it’s unlikely you will get that type of proactive service.
4. Cheapest may not really be cheaper. If you want to get the most out of your solar panels and/or feel it is your patriotic duty to get panels from an American manufacturer, do your research to make certain you are making an informed investment. Not all solar panels are equal. Your panels should be designed to absorb the most solar energy possible and have a guarantee to help increase the value of your home.
Hopefully the tips above will help you with your decision to go solar. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling us at 1-866-856-4580. You can also follow us on the official Solar Energy World Facebook page.
Perhaps the biggest myth about solar energy is that it is too expensive. The reality is that solar energy is more affordable than ever. In fact, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the cost of solar panels is down 70% since 2009. But it is more than just low cost that makes the investment of solar energy affordable. Federal, state and local grants and incentives help to reduce the upfront cost of installation as well. Maryland solar incentives are considered to be among the top of the table.
On the Federal level, incentives for solar energy were introduced as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009. Customers who go solar receive a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of installation for renewable energy systems, including solar electric, solar hot water, and photovoltaic solar panel systems. The best part? There is no cap to the credit, so residents receive the full 30% credit no matter how large or small the installation.
While everyone is eligible for Federal tax incentives, states and local incentives vary a great deal. In fact, incentives don’t just come from the government. Local utilities offer rebates and incentives for switching to renewable energy. Incentives also vary in form, whether they be tax deductions, rebates or grants.
Solar incentives and grants change regularly and are different for every location. If you want a comprehensive look at what benefits might be available to you, then you might consider scheduling a free solar analysis, where one of Solar Energy World’s representatives can go over all your options in specific detail.