Today is the first day of May, which marks the beginning of National Home Improvement Month. Solar power is a wise choice for your next home improvement project, which can save, and even earn you money. Don’t believe us? Keep reading to see why solar power should be your next home improvement of choice.
Solar Power Saves Money
Your electricity bill will likely continue to rise, and if you cannot significantly reduce the amount of electricity that you use, solar power can offset the amount that you consume from the utility company. Depending on factors such as energy usage, sun exposure, and available roof space, you could save up to 100% of your electricity costs. Plus, with the available financing and leasing options, along with grants and incentives to offset the purchase price, your monthly payments for the solar power system will remain easily affordable.
Solar Power Earns Money
Wise investments earn money, and solar power is no exception. In fact, typical ROI on a solar power system over a five year period is 125%, reaching 500% by year 20! SRECs, or Solar Renewable Energy Credits, generated by your solar panels’ production can be sold at current market rates for additional income. Additionally, the value of a home increases by $40,000 on average with the installation of a solar power system.
If you would like to…
- save $35,700 in energy costs over the next 10 years*
- increase your home value by $40,000*
- reduce your household’s impact on the environment
…then solar is a wise investment for you.
Contact us today for your free solar analysis, and start National Home Improvement Month with the right choice for your home! Call 410-579-2009, to schedule your appointment.
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Sunshine on a Rainy Day: Solar Panels Still Produce Electricity
Longer Days Mean More Solar Power
At Solar Energy World, when we analyze property for a solar array, we take into account several factors, including energy usage, and available roof space or land for maximum sun exposure. Indeed, exposure to sunlight is the most important factor when it comes to generating solar power, simply because without sunlight, solar panels cannot work.
Deserts are a desirable location for large scale solar installations because of their sunny climates, and the amount of space available. According to the DESERTEC website, more solar energy hits the deserts of the world within six hours than is consumed around the world in one year.
The European Union is poised to take advantage of the immense amounts of solar radiation in the Sahara. Covering an estimated 6,500 square miles of the Sahara with solar panels and wind turbines, the EU will begin importing electricity by 2015. It may sound like a lot of space, but considering the vast size of the Sahara, it would take only one percent of the surface area covered in solar panels to provide enough electricity for the entire world.
Another development in the world of solar power is the concept of using the ocean and other bodies of water for solar power. The oceans make up the majority of the earth’s surface, and, similar to deserts, they are exposed to a lot of sunlight. There are no trees, or buildings to worry about on the high seas, after all!
Of course, there are a few obvious obstacles to placing solar panels on the ocean, namely finding somewhere to put them in the first place. According to this article, several companies are planning to build floating solar islands of steel and plastic, that will be set to drift on placid bodies of water.
Another risk to floating solar arrays? Hurricanes and tropical storms could pose a threat. Included in the design for these solar islands is the ability for the entire floating structure to submerge, in order to avoid storm force winds.
Referenced in this article:
“Europe Will Be Powered by Solar Panels in 5 Years“, ImpactLab
“This Island Paradise is for One thing Only, Solar Power“, FastCoExist
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.
The Solar Holiday Photo Contest is under way, and Solar Energy World is looking for photos of solar-powered homes that are decorated for the holidays!
If you are a home or property owner that has chosen solar power, and you have decorated for the holiday season read the contest rules and submit your entry. Hurry, because all entries must be submitted by Wednesday, December 19, 2012.
All entries will be uploaded to the Solar Holiday Photo Contest Pinterest board by Solar Energy World. Vote for your favorite photos by “liking” the pins, and don’t forget to re-pin your favorites to encourage your followers to vote!
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Solar Holiday Photo Contest Rules and Entry
Solar Energy World on Pinterest: Solar Holiday Photo Contest
Solar panels rely on solar energy in order to produce usable electricity for home and property owners. It seems like common sense would dictate that solar panels would be best used in hot, sunny weather. This logic would mean that solar production would significantly drop in colder weather, meaning that homeowners should only rely on their solar panels in the summertime, right?
Actually, solar panels perform even better in colder temperatures. This means that during the wintertime, sunny days and chilly air will benefit homeowners that have chosen energy independence. The reason for this is that cooler temperatures allow solar panels to produce a higher voltage, which results in higher wattage for your home.
What does reduce solar power production is the decrease in daylight hours. Because solar electricity runs on sunlight and not heat, the winter sunlight is enough to create energy. The catch is that the amount of daylight is decreased, and production time is shortened. However, home and property owners will still see a significant benefit from the installation of a solar electric system, and reduction or elimination of their energy bills during the winter months.
One of the many benefits of solar power is that the industry has the potential to help boost the economy. But how exactly could this happen, and what is the reasoning behind this statement?
Solar Creates Jobs
A demand for solar power means that more materials will need to be manufactured, and more systems will need to be designed and installed. These tasks all require skilled and specially trained employees, which means that higher demand for solar power will lead to job growth in the renewable energy sector. In fact, various news sources have recently reported that job growth in the solar energy industry has outpaced the overall growth rate.
Solar Power Reduces Energy Dependence
A buzzword in the recent election was “energy independence”. The sun belongs to no one, and its energy is present everywhere. The sun cannot be taxed or tariffed, and once your solar panels are installed, there are no price fluctuations or negotiations about the cost of fuel. Solar energy is not owned or supplied by any entity in particular. Therefore, using the sun to our advantage is a step toward energy independence.
Solar Power Saves Money
No one enjoys paying bills, and your electric bill is probably a large expense. The cost of heating and cooling your home will make up the largest portion of your energy bill, and, depending on how energy efficient your home may be, the heating or cooling system may be running most of the time. These necessary expenses add up quickly, and that means that homeowners have less of their hard earned money to spend on other goods and services, because it must be paid to to gas and electric companies.
Solar power can free up more spending money, because it can significantly reduce or eliminate an electric bill. This means that homeowners that choose solar will have more money to spend, instead of being tied to rising electricity rates. Just imagine how much money could be saved by homeowners with a home solar system, and an electric vehicle!
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One of the first questions that we ask when a homeowner inquires about solar power is to see a copy of a recent energy bill. This is because we want you to see the maximum benefit from your investment in a solar electric system, and an analysis of your rooftop size, conditions such as shading, and your typical energy usage will tell us what can be realistically expected.
The number of solar panels needed to power a home or building does not depend on the size of the structure, because many different factors play into the overall energy usage. A large home with Energy Star appliances, replacement windows, and an energy efficient roof may use less electricity than a smaller home with drafty windows, a leaky roof, and old and outdated appliances. Even the habits of those living in the home affect energy use.
The fact is that your roof can only fit so many solar panels. If you have a lot of property, you may also be able to choose a pole mounted solar panel system in order to add more panels. However, an easier and more convenient choice would be to reduce your energy usage and live more efficiently, so that you can reduce the amount of electricity used, which means that your solar power system will need to produce less to keep up with demand.
A home energy audit will help you improve your energy efficiency by identifying the points in your home where electricity is wasted, and will provide you with the solutions to fix them. Reducing the amount of energy wasted will improve the benefit of a home solar system, and can help you save money, or even earn it, depending on the incentives available.
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We have great news for homeowners and property owners interested in solar power: our Solar 101 Workshops are back, starting November 3rd!
Start your Saturday with breakfast and an information session about solar power by Solar Energy World, at our headquarters in Elkridge, MD. Admission is free with RSVP ($10 at the door), and attendees will receive a free gift. Join us to learn everything that you need to know about residential solar power, including various tax incentives, information about different solar panels and technologies, and even take a tour of our solar rooftop.
For more information, and to RSVP for free admission, visit our Residential Solar Workshop page.
By Faith Fernandez, Guest Contributor
Solar power is free and accessible to everyone. It supports the planet’s entire ecosystem, nourishing plants and animals. Now, we are learning how we can use it to create houses that don’t require so much energy from fossil fuels.
Solar Energy Can Help to Create a Greener Household
- through the production of electricity using solar panels;
- through the use of a solar water heating system;
- through the use of solar air heating; and
- through the growth of plants for cooling.
The Sun Can Generate Electricity
Solar panels, or photo voltaic panels, convert the sun’s radiation into a current of electricity. They are usually installed on south facing roofs (or north facing, in the southern hemisphere), and the energy produced is sold to the local power company and added to the electrical grid. The household that produces the power receives a proportional discount on their electricity bill, and many jurisdictions are paying for solar energy at high rates to encourage the installation of solar panels. With solar panels, it’s theoretically possible to get paid by the power company rather than vice-versa.
The Sun can Heat Water
Barring government incentives for solar PV systems, the most cost effective solar technologies available to homeowners today are solar water heating systems. These systems work with regular water heaters, either tank-based or on-demand, to save energy. Solar water heating systems usually consist of a network of heat absorbing, rooftop water pipes. They preheat the water before it’s brought to its final temperature by a gas or electrically powered system. This can amount to an energy savings of up to 60 per cent.
The Sun Can Heat Air
It doesn’t take a high tech system to make use of solar power for space heating. On cold, sunny winter days, a solar wall or rooftop air heating system can reduce the need for gas or electrically powered space heating substantially. These systems work by allowing interior air to circulate through metal ducts that are being heated by the sun. It’s that simple.
The Sun Can Make Plants Grow
Not only can sunlight be used directly as a heat source, it can also be used to help cool your home. Did you know that plants naturally cool the air? House plants absorb the sun’s heat and cool the air through transpiration. In other words, when a plant “breathes,” it cools the air rather than heating it. Filling windows with plants during the summer helps control solar gain and it also provides natural cooling.
Creating a greener household using the sun’s power is easier than you may have thought. Solar panels and solar-assisted mechanical systems are powerful ways to reduce your use of conventionally generated electricity and natural gas, and a simple awareness of passive heating and cooling can bring your energy use down, too.
To learn more about solar technologies for your home, schedule your free solar analysis today.
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!
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