GREENandSAVE’s Monthly and Holiday Newsletter

July 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

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  • The ‘Step by Steps’ of the LED Green Light Grant Program
  • Sustainable Upholstery
  • Future Fashion: Eco-conscious Style
  • LED Saving Solutions launches $10 Million Green Light Grant Program for the 2010 Holiday Season
  • Beyond Bottles: A Better Way to Hydrate
  • WINNER: LED Tube for Best Lighting Retrofit
  • NYC EBie Award Finalist includes LED Tube retrofit
  • The LED tube shines at LIGHT FAIR International
  • Con Ed leads on Building Optimization
  • The Tenacious Hunt for REBATES on LED Tube Lights

Question: I want to convert to solar energy. Where do I start?

Answer: The solar power question is not as complicated as it seems, but you have to do your homework.

Start by contacting a few local solar companies, and have them come do a “free” assessment of your home. This initial evaluation should include the following:

  • Existing energy consumption of the home.
  • Energy saving measures that can be implemented in the home.
  • Area and orientation of roof available for panel installation.
  • Open area that will allow free standing panels to be installed.
  • Amount of power expected to be generated by the installation.
  • Interference of solar radiation, such as trees that may have to be removed.
  • Any infrastructure items that may have to be upgraded, such as the exiting electrical system.
  • What are the local restrictions for installing solar panels.
  • What is the rate you are paying for energy and what is the rate the local utility will be paying for energy returned to the grid.
  • Projected return on investment, before and after rebates etc.
  • Federal tax credits.
  • Local utility rebates available.
  • Other financing available.
  • Companies service policy and plans.

Not all houses are a good fit for solar panels. There are a lot of hurdles you need to get over before you have the panels installed.

  • Some houses are just in the wrong orientation for optimum collection of solar radiation.
  • Some roof lines are too broken up to give you enough area for the panels to generate enough electricity.
  • Some areas of the country have zoning and neighborhood issues with the aesthetic of panels on your roof.

Compare the proposals from those companies, and see how they compare on all the issues above. There is always some difference on what the companies can supply, but by talking to several you can get an overview of what the system will cost, and how long it will take to see a return.

With a number of proposals you will be able to get a good check on the feasibility of the systems you are thinking about any process you will have to go through before you move ahead.

This post “I want to convert to solar energy. Where do I start?” originally appeared in the USGBC’s Green Home Guide – an excellent source for green home expertise, ideas, and connections.

Anthony Addesso is a principal at Addesso Architecture where many projects incorporate green technologies ranging from sustainable materials to solar energy.

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