Do we get enough sun exposure to benefit from solar panels?

     There is plenty of sunshine for anyone to let the sun power them 100%. Not everyone wants to pay for that much battery backup though. Amperage and voltage are a big factor in off-grid systems. In Colorado, people can do off-grid homes with just solar and a generator for emergency backup. In Missouri, we don’t get as many sunny days a year, so we recommend a secondary power source (such as a wind turbine).
     In the next 5-10 years battery backup costs will change with the new batteries that are being developed. We have off-grid customers who use “older” battery styles and are very happy with their solar powered homes. Some use a secondary power source (such as wind) and some just use a backup generator. We size off-grid systems to cover however many cloudy days the customer wants. More covered cloudy days = more batteries “just in case” so we like to be careful not to go too far in either direction.
     Grid tie is easier – you  know what you’re making in solar power and you know (from history) what you use from the grid. It’s simple math. The sun shines and the meter runs backwards when it makes more than you use. Staying tied to the grid gives you a place to put extra power from the solar that you don’t need to use right away (like battery storage), and it also gives a sort of “backup” power for when you need more than your system is designed to produce.
     When someone is grid-tied, we don’t typically scale those systems to be 100% of your historical energy use, because it’s not the most financially beneficial for you to do so. If you were off-grid, you’d have to cover at least 100% of your electricity needs. Grid-tie allows you to lower the size of system and not use any batteries because of the way you can use the grid to your advantage. We run the statistics based on a lot of factors, but the “sweet spot” is usually between 80% of total electricity use and 100% when doing a grid-tie solar install.
     Click HERE for the PVWatts Calculator. That is a government site – from the US Department of Energy. Their goal is to keep solar companies honest. We are actually more conservative than they are in our bids.
     They can tell you what your solar exposure is going to be for your exact location. They look at local weather patterns and how much sunlight you actually get for your location (latitude and longitude).
     HERE is an article about Co-ops going solar. It has some great statistics in there (including comments about France and Germany having 90% of farms on solar… and they’re at a “worse” location with worse weather conditions than the US for solar power).
     HERE is an article about Tesla’s Powerwall. While we see him being too diversified, and unable to meet the demand for people trying to buy the Powerwall… It’s coming through other companies now and we believe Tesla will catch up eventually and will get these into the hands of the consumers. The technology is here, but it’s hard to keep up with the demand. We have a customer who sent Tesla money over 3 years ago, and she’s still on a waiting list to get one.
     Here’s a chart to see the growth of solar installations over the past several years. Do you really think the solar market would keep growing year after year if it wasn’t worth it?
     All of these sites and charts can be found on our “News on Renewables” tab on our website. We don’t expect you to just take it from us… we know you want to hear it from other sources too. So we keep interesting information posted on our website. It’s a fun tab to browse.
We have tons of customers willing to be references for us if you want to talk with someone else who has solar in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, or Colorado. Our customers can vouch that it’s worth it. They can see the savings in action. Monitoring systems “prove” the results for any skeptics. But you’ll only see the savings for yourself if you own it.

In our free quote, we show real numbers based on hard facts, such as…

  1. Your actual electricity history – what you use, and month by month to show your seasonal variables (highs and lows compared to summer/winter sun variables).
  2. Your actual utility rates of what you’re currently paying per watt
  3. Your location (latitude and longitude)
  4. Historical weather patterns
  5. Incentives that are available only if you go solar (you can’t get them if you just pay your electric bill forever)
  6. Seasonal sun patterns
  7. And it shows solar as a fixed rate because the energy it produces is free. You’re just buying equipment – The power it makes is always free. Your utility company is a variable in that aspect. They can (and do) increase your rates at a whim. The grid supply of power is guaranteed to get more expensive and will never be free.
  8. Charts in our free bid are based on facts. They show buying the equipment and paying for it to be installed (free power) is cheaper than the utility companies selling you power. It also shows the investment not only being “good” but that it’s better than other investments you can invest in – such as stocks and bonds, IRAs, etc.

Reach out to us online or by phone if you have any questions. We’re eager to help!

Category: General

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