Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Switching to solar

Some homeowners searching for ways to save energy are looking for alternative ways without the extra cost.

Douglas Crowe, a homebuilder in California has been researching solar paneling in the last two years to help with the environment and electrical costs.

“ I am still not convinced to install the solar paneling because I think the costs are still too high,” Crowe said.

Last year, the Department for Trade and Industry refused grants for the
installation of household renewable power, making the industry angry, saying that solar
panels were unaffordable to all but the wealthy.

Fred Moore, who is an independent roofing contractor in Apple Valley, said that solar paneling might be more expensive but a smart future investment for homeowners to save money on energy costs and on the environment.

Moore said that the upfront costs for installing solar panels can range from $20,000 to $30,000, which is still a big chunk of money to invest.

“Even though the costs to install solar paneling are still high, it is proven to save you money in the long run, especially on your electrical bill,” Moore said. When you decide to install solar paneling he suggests that you choose a company like SolarCity that specializes in paneling and installation.

“It is important to choose a company that understands the importance of the technology that it provides.” Moore said.

The SolarCity Web site shows how the solar panels are installed on your roof or adjacent structure.
Each job that is set up by SolarCity is composed of solar panels, mounting hardware and associated structural elements and is custom created for each customer.

When you decide to install solar panelling many companies will come to your business to determine the best size, mounting arrangement and present you with a detailed design and installation plan.

The panels that are installed are made up of photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into converter called a direct current. The direct current from the photovoltaic cells is sent to an inverter, where it is converted into an alternating current, or standard household electricity.

The alternating current travels from the inverter to the electrical panel or breaker box. This power is then available to service all of your electrical needs. The utility meter continually measures your electrical supply; when your solar system produces more power than you need, the meter spins backwards, racking up your credits with the utility company?

Most solar companies do give refunds or will sell the power back to you at a rate lower than the utility. Owners can also sell any excess power they generate back to the local utility. But you must go back to those that you bought your solar paneling from.

After your system is installed, you can log in to the SolarCity secured Web site to check your system performance, as reported by the solar guard monitor and find out how much power your system is generating.

SolarCity’s offers a more affordable way to save energy by leasing panels in with no upfront fee. The company still owns the panels when you lease them and you pay a leasing fee, which is usually $100 per month. The plan is to help cut monthly electricity costs by 10 to 15 percent.

Crowe said that the lease option would only apply to those who have really hefty electric bills and suitable for those who are still wealthy.

“It does not make sense for those who pay little to nothing for electric bills,”

Crowe said.” But if your electric bill is more steep then solar may be a good option or
other alternative to saving energy.”

According to Crowe when purchasing solar most companies require up-front investments.

“Even after tax rebates, it takes years for that investment to pay itself back to the homeowner in locally generated electricity,” Crowe said.

Although, Solar City’s leasing plan is making it possible for homeowners who have larger electric bills to switch to clean, solar power for less money than they currently pay for electricity.

“I would like my next home to have solar panels because I am looking to cut costs effectively, especially if it will cut my electrical bill in half,” Crowe said. “ I am especially interested in increasing the value of my homes with installing solar but hope that a better affordable plan arises so that everyone can afford to install them and not just the wealthy.”

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