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Top 10 BIG Businesses Going Solar (Infographic)
Dec12

Top 10 BIG Businesses Going Solar (Infographic)

Agree or disagree: Wal-Mart is a socially-conscious, altruistic corporation that installed 89MW of solar because it was the right thing to do. Let’s put it this way- Walmart wouldn’t install 89 Megawatts of solar (or 3.86 Million 230W solar panels) if it didn’t make financial sense. Wal-Mart now has a greater solar capacity than 38 states combined.  The falling price of PV has allowed companies like Wal-mart to use solar energy to reduce their operating expenses and take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy systems. Wal-Mart isn’t the only corporation that’s caught on.  Some other businesses that are using solar to lower their operating costs include Costco, IKEA, Kohl’s, Apple, Macy’s, Kaiser Permanente, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen, Walgreens, Target, Safeway… the list goes on. Vote Solar’s Executive Director Adam Browning explains, “For years, the promise of solar was always ‘just around the corner.’  Well, solar has turned the corner, and found itself on Main Street, USA. These companies – titans of American business – may have vastly different products, business models, and geographic locations, but they all have something in common: they know a good deal when they see one, and they are going solar in a big way.” Very BIG.   Commercial deployment of solar increased about 40% over last year.   Take a look at this infographic....

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Top 7 Myths About Solar Energy

1.  Solar energy is too expensive. According to a nation-wide poll, 97% of Americans overestimate the upfront cost of going solar. [1] The price of photovoltaics (a.k.a. solar)  has been declining, renewable energy is more affordable than ever.  Click here to view solar panels as low as $0.70 Watt! There are financial incentives at the federal and state level that help solar compete with fossil fuels, which also subsidized by the government.  Having the financial incentives in place for renewable energy makes solar energy a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels and a often a practical investment for homeowners. Solar systems in the United States qualify for a 30% federal tax credit.  If you have tax liability and you put a solar system in service, you can claim a tax credit that’s equal to 30% of qualified expenditures that went into your solar system. To learn about state and regional incentives in your geographic location, visit dsireusa.org. “Soft costs” associated with permitting are also going to depend on your local Authority Having Jursidiction (AHJ).  Unfortunately, the U.S. has yet to streamline permitting so much of this is going to be specific to your location. Want to see how you can save by switching to solar?  Get your monthly energy usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) from your electric bill and use our Solar Energy Savings Calculator! 2.  Solar panels only work on hot, sunny days. Contrary to the common misconception that solar only works on sunny days, solar panels work best on clear, cool days.   Even if it’s overcast and a bit foggy, your solar panels will continue to generate at about 30% of their normal energy output.    Germany, which doesn’t have a reputation for being the sunniest of places, had about 21.6 times more solar power installations per capita than the United States by the end of 2011.  Solar panels can also take a beating.   Quality solar panels are manufactured with tempered glass and “hail-tested” with golf-ball sized projectiles to ensure that they will withstand environmental pressures.  Click here to read about solar panel hail testing. 3.  You can size a solar PV system based on the square footage of your home. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to get an accurate idea of how many kW of solar you should install without doing some homework first.   The first step is determining your load, or the average amount of energy consumed (kWh). Dig out your electric bills for the past 12 months and average the kilowatt hours (kWh) used by your home or business.  If you don’t have this on hand but want to figure out how much electricity you use,...

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How Does Solar Energy Work?
Feb11

How Does Solar Energy Work?

 

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How much is a solar panel system for a 2,700 square foot home?

Everyday I get at least one email from a customer that asks, “How much is a solar panel system to power a {insert number of square feet here} home?” It’s quite impossible to quote you the size of system that will meet your goals without understanding your individual project site and needs. People who ask this question to me have not done enough research and typically indicate that they are just starting to explore solar power. More than often I lead customers who ask that question to the solar power calculator since it helps them realize all the variables required to figure out how many solar panels you really need. The following reasons are why I can’t give you clear cut answer to, how many solar panels you’ll need for a 1,ooo square foot home: #1 – The size of your home is not as important as how many kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year. This information can be found your last 12 months of electric bills #2 – Typically grid tie solar panels are used to offset your highest cost of electricity if your being charged on a tiered rate structure by your utility company. Solar panels are most cost effective if you use them to stay out of consuming electricity in higher tiers. Therefore not always do people purchase a system that “eliminates their entire bill”. #3 – Your location matters, in particular if there is shading due to trees, vents, chimneys, other buildings..etc. You’ll need more solar panels to meet your goals if you have to compensate for unavoidable shading. Different places across the world have variances in the number of sun hours they receive per day, which has an influence in the number of kWh you can generate per year in your location. Also the orientation #4 – what’s the intent of your solar electric system? Is it just to get started? Some people are satisfied to get started with a small solar electric system and then add more panels to their system later to keep the upfront investment of the system as low as possible to get started. The great aspect of a solar electric system it’s completely customizable to your requirements, particularly your budget. I hope this post highlights the most important key points that need to be analyzed before you can figure out how many solar panel you’ll need. got any...

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texas school gets a 1kW solar power system

Minshew Elementary School in Texas recently got a free 1 kW (kilowatt) solar electric system to offset a small percentage of the school’s electric bill. TXU, a local utility donated the system to the school mainly for educational purposes. The grid tie inverter on the system includes web-monitoring capabilities through fat spaniel so teachers, students, parents can all monitor through the school’s website how much electricity the 6 solar panel system is contributing to the grid in real time. Teachers at the school are being trained on how to use the solar power system as a tool to educate students on the science behind photovoltaics. TXU plans to give away more solar electric systems to schools, under a program they call “Solar Academy”, the utilities’ push to help younger generations realize the importance of conservation and energy of the future. It’s quite shocking that a utility would support this kind of initiative, wouldn’t you think...

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