Take advantage of the solar savings now!

Everybody is curious about how we’ve been helping families convert their homes to solar power with no money down. By now you’ve probably begun to see solar panels on the homes of your neighbors as they take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit and lock in their energy rate. What does that mean exactly?

When you go solar, you replace the cost of your power from you power company with the cost of solar. So instead of your power bill fluctuating and rising due to increased energy rates, your bill will remain the same amount until your system is paid off, then you OWN YOUR POWER!

Going solar is a three step process. First we qualify the home, second we qualify the homeowner and finally we conduct the site visit, take pictures for engineers and schedule the installation.

From there you can sit back, relax and enjoy the savings while doing your part to save the planet!

To see if your home qualifies, send your most recent power bill to Service@sunlightsolarvirginia.com along with your best contact number and availability so we can build a proposal and contact you with eligibility status.

How a Solar Power System Can Help to Maintain the Environment and One’s Pocket?

By Dong Wong [https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Dong_Wong/2659905]

Resources are becoming scarce with each passing day and renewing them is simply out of question in the coming years. This is the reason why one needs to find inexhaustible resources which can be used and one will not have to worry about finishing them off. Therefore, for some years now, solar power systems and solar panels have become the most reliable, economical and environmentally safe alternative.

What are solar systems?

Most of the organizations and even residences these days are going eco-friendly by installing solar or photovoltaic systems as sources of electricity. A simple solar system consists of solar panels or a photovoltaic system, an inverter or a power converter and a structural system to hold them all together.

The panels when placed in a strategic direction and alignment so that it can get maximum sunlight and will trap solar power which will then be converted into an alternate current which can be used for electrical purposes. The materials inside the panels convert the solar power into a clean energy source and today many businesses and residences mount them on their rooftops to get cleaner energy.

Traits of a solar power system

Some of the characteristics that make these solar systems great choice are:

One can save the resources by using the best renewable energy form that is available to the earth; the solar energy.

One saves on energy bills significantly after investing in solar systems.

Due to the aggressive demand for solar systems these days, the cost of buying and installation has decreased significantly over time.

These systems do not require high maintenance and have a lifetime of around 20 to 30 years.

Benefits of using a solar power system

Installing solar systems at one’s home or businesses can have many benefits and some of them are discussed below.

Save on electricity bill

Solar systems will help one save a lot of money in terms of electricity bills because the solar power comes for free and PV electricity can help one run almost 80 percent of home appliances and lighting fixtures easily. This will help one increase their family’s savings.

Lower maintenance cost

Though some would say solar systems are expensive, but one should consider the fact that they are a one-time investment and one will not have to pay for a long time afterwards. Also, solar systems need less maintenance and have a life of around 30 years.

No pollution

Unlike other sources of electricity, which produce electricity by giving out greenhouse gases and various other polluting substances, Solar energy does not have any kind of polluting by-products and thus prevent soil, air and water pollution and it is also very useful for places where the electricity lines cannot reach.

Sustainable development

Most of the sources of electricity are nonrenewable which means if they get exhausted, then the chances of renewing them is next to impossible and this can be harmful to the environment and the coming generations. But solar energy is inexhaustible in nature which means it will not get finished up and that means one will make the earth a better place.

Like mentioned above, solar panel systems are highly beneficial not only for the environment, but also for one’s sustenance and finances. All one will need is a solar inverter and solar charge controller to run the system. Other needs that one should buy are PWM controllers, a good panel rack system and power inverter.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?How-a-Solar-Power-System-Can-Help-to-Maintain-the-Environment-and-Ones-Pocket?&id=10135080] How a Solar Power System Can Help to Maintain the Environment and One’s Pocket?

Is It Worth Installing Solar Power On a Boat Or RV?

By Stewart Haynes [https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Stewart_Haynes/301170]

I found myself wondering if there was any real benefit in fitting solar panels to our boat. The reason I pondered this was because of a trip we made three years ago to Boston in Lincolnshire. We had decided to take three weeks holiday and a good long trip would probably be appreciated by the boat’s engine and transmission. In fairness we had a really good trip and enjoyed it.

The only fly in the ointment came when we stayed anywhere for more than one night. We found that we were having to run the boat’s engine for several hours a day to ‘top up’ the leisure batteries. Our engine, although in excellent condition, is almost seventy years old. It is quite noisy, which made it somewhat irritating. Also of course, with the engine running we couldn’t leave the boat unattended. Not ideal.

I did a lot of research before finally making the decision to go ahead and install solar.

We already had an almost new set of four Trojan deep cycle batteries fitted and I can’t impress upon the reader enough that genuine deep cycle batteries are essential if you want success with a solar setup. Please be aware that batteries sold as starter / leisure batteries are generally anything but and are destined to be a terribly expensive mistake. Deep cycle batteries have much thicker internal lead compound plates than starter batteries and are specially designed to be discharged on a regular basis. Our Trojan batteries are very commonly fitted to electric golf carts, and are charged at night to provide motive power on the golf course for hours at a time the following day. A starter battery would be fatally damaged if used in this way.

The next thing to consider is how to regulate power from the solar panels to get the absolute maximum into the batteries without damaging them. There are many options available and it is a big subject. The reason a good quality solar controller is essential is because standard 12-volt solar panels do NOT produce 12 volts. It is common for solar panels to produce up to 22 volts each and this voltage will fry your batteries if not controlled properly. For this reason, we chose a Victron MPPT controller. Victron is universally accepted as a market leader renowned for its quality products and we have been delighted with ours. I’ll begin another paragraph to explain why I am recommending this controller.

The Victron MPPT controllers are extremely cleverly programmed. They are fully functioning ‘smart’ chargers, and can also act as a direct power supply. The latest ones have a Bluetooth connection that allows charging regimes to be adjusted to suit all battery types. This is useful because our Trojans require a bulk charge higher than that available from a standard engine alternator. They utilise ‘Maximum Power Point Tracking’ technology (hence MPPT) to scrape every available electron from the solar panels. Now the best bit. We have three solar panels, each producing 22 volts in sunshine, and we have wired them in series. This has the effect of adding the voltage of each panel together. This means that we are often putting 66 volts into our controller! Far from doing damage, this is advantageous. The Victron cleverly takes the voltage from the panels, which is DC current, and turns it into AC current. The AC current is then reconverted to DC at the voltage required by the batteries and leftover power is converted into extra amperage for the batteries, speeding battery charging. Impressively clever in my opinion.

Of course, the one thing I’ve not mentioned yet is the actual solar panels! They are available in lots of different confusing sizes and forms. Many are rigid, some are flexible, other are Polycrystalline or Monocrystalline. So many options. My choice? Absolutely standard rigid monocrystalline with a 25-year guarantee. A boat with a curved roof may benefit from flexible panels, but I can tilt mine to make the most of winter sunshine. This is quite handy because the solar panels are more efficient at lower temperatures! If you’d like more information about my installation come and pay me a visit. Solar Installation Details

Direct link: http://www.stuhaynes.com/solarinstall/solarinstall.htm

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Is-It-Worth-Installing-Solar-Power-On-a-Boat-Or-RV?&id=9914759] Is It Worth Installing Solar Power On a Boat Or RV?

How to make your home more energy efficient

Whether or not you believe in climate change is one thing, but the fact of the matter is: Reducing your energy consumption and ultimately your contribution to our carbon footprint is a win for everyone. Is this enough to save the planet? Probably not, but can it hurt any more than our current habits? Worst case scenario it doesn’t make a difference, best case it does for the better. Plus, having an energy efficient home is great for our wallets. By reducing your energy consumption and in some cases your dependency on the grid by installing the latest solar technology you can save thousands of dollars on your energy bills.

Check out the energy saving tips and technology below to help make your home more energy efficient, reduce your carbon footprint and save on your electricity bills!

Energy Efficiency Packages:

Most energy efficiency packages or EEP’s include a radiant barrier, window tint, solar attic fans, LED lightbulbs, Smart thermostat, improved insulation, eliminating roof cavities and foaming any airy openings around air ducts, attic space, etc. Investing in an EEP is a powerful way to reduce your homes energy consumption and in most cases is included in our solar power solutions unless your home already meets our Gold Star Energy standard. Having a qualified technician perform an energy audit can determine whether or not an EEP is right for you.

Smart phone apps:

New options today such as smart phone apps have allowed homeowners to control their appliances, lights and thermostat with the touch of a button on the go from anywhere in the world. Google Assistant or Amazons Alexa both are smart home assistants that allow for automation with routine assignments for your everyday tasks. Forgetting to turn off appliances when they are not in use is a thing of the past. Of course todays appliances are all energy star rated so it is a great idea to have efficient appliances installed if your kitchen or utilities are out of date. Smart phone apps also give homeowners the ability to monitor which smart appliances use the most electricity and when they are most often being used.

Power down smart devices:

Space heaters, air conditioners, lighting, washer and dryers, cooking gadgets, appliances, tv’s, gaming consoles, computers and humidity regulators all typically include options to automatically power-down when not in use. If you don’t have smart devices, you can simply purchase smart plug adapters for your devices which function in the same way.

Smart Lighting:

Of course LED’s are most efficient while being slightly more expensive but lasting considerably longer. Installing smart lighting allows homeowners to set up timers, motion detectors and automatic dimmers to activate at set times during the day or through voice commands. Additional benefits of smart lighting is its ability to act as a deterrent to burglars by simulating presence in the home. *

Smart Thermostats:

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration HVAC systems account for 32% of a homes energy consumption on average. Outdated equipment or ill-spec equipment can waste a large amount of energy when not operating optimally or constantly running. Smart thermostats adjust the homes temperature based on occupancy as well as preference to reduce the time spent in operation. Bonus tip is having energy efficient ceiling fans. While ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air, they do move the air which causes a cooling effect thus allowing you to raise the temperature a few degrees on hotter days and give your A/C a little break while still being comfortable.

Operate your appliances in non-peak times:

Depending on your location, home owners can reduce their bills by using their appliances during times of the day that aren’t in high demand from the grid. For example most houses have washers, dryers and dishwashers going during the late evening hours which create peak demands for energy during that time period.

Solar Power:

Perhaps the most effective way to reduce your homes power bill is by installing eco friendly solar panels. This option can be a big investment upfront (although financing and government incentives are available if you qualify) but the savings overtime far outweigh the cost of installation. Plus, solar powered systems do not give off any harmful emissions! Going solar is a simple process and can be beneficial both financially and environmentally but unfortunately not everyones home makes sense for solar power. We make it easy to find out if solar is right for you just give us a call 804-912-3814 or send your power bill to Service@SunlightSolarVirginia.com for a free proposal.

Is solar power a good investment?

Most people interested in solar power are concerned with two things, the environment and their retirement. If you aren’t at least a little worried about our current dependency on fossil fuels and their potential harmful effect to our ecosystem and our children’s’ future then you’re probably in the wrong place. Allocating resources for future safety and sustainability is always a good social investment of course. As they say “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”

Some homeowners often worry about how they will afford the cost of living when they are no longer in the job force. “Will my pension be enough?” Will I be able to afford groceries on my monthly income, what about gas, car insurance, or even my lights… “Will I be able to preserve the groceries and control the house comfortably” they think.

Maybe that’s not you, and things aren’t as tight for one reason or another and you are able to play offense with your money. Great, so why wouldn’t you do your part to help create a more sustainable society while at the same time putting your money back into your own pocket vs. the power companies? It really can be as simple as that.

The Rise of Solar

Currently, over 500 Mega Watts of Solar power has been installed worldwide. That’s enough to power 91 million homes. This number jumped considerably in the last decade as technology made solar more cost effective and efficient and continues to do so. In 2008, solar power comprised of just .1% of electricity generation in the US but by 2018 had jumped to 2.3%. Clearly people are starting to catch on to the benefits of solar power. Billionaires such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk have invested in exploring new solar technology and storage solutions. It’s no secret, creating a carbon free future is a major concern for some influential people of our time. They are utilizing their resources to develop it more thoroughly so, Kudos to them.

The US Federal government has been offering a 30% tax credit for going solar. This incentive is something very few people have known about up until now, just as it will be decreasing starting in 2020. (Having your system installed before the end of the year can lock in this 30% tax credit) Banks have also started to cater to the solar industry with new more affordable financing options. This means homeowners can potentially invest in solar for $0 up front cost.

About 2% of detached residential homes have solar but this number is expected to increase substantially as states like California implement mandatory minimums for solar on residential homes. Solar Co-ops are beginning to emerge as people take advantage of group pricing and large scale solar projects have also been utilized by investors to deliver lower prices by having larger amounts of people going solar at one time similar to a co-op.

Utility scale projects allow major companies like Google, Apple and Facebook to purchase more of their power from renewable energy source. Something they all have done and continue to do on top of solar storage devices. Solar plus storage, in most cases is more cost effective than a natural gas peaker plant.

Asset vs Liability

Your power bill fluctuates up and down depending on usage, it can also very depending on peak usage hours and then of course, you’re subject to the power companies inevitable increases. This can be seen as a liability since it fluctuates and you will never be able to pay off your power bill. At no point is there a financial return for relying exclusively on the power company for power.

When you go solar, you receive a fixed solar energy bill through financing that over time you pay off and own as an asset that produces a valuable resource for your home. If you opt for a backup battery then your investment is even greater since you will now be completely independent from the grid if needed. What is the value of having power after a bad storm? Backup battery or not, having solar on your home allows you to sell your home for more if and when the time comes. It’s more beneficial to a potential buyer or potentially, your kids, if the home is something they will get passed down. One of the most important things to understand with our financing options is that we DO NOT place a financial lean on the home or property, just on the equipment itself that can be turned off remotely.

Selling your home with Solar

Homeowners can expect to see an increase in the homes value by an average of $4 per watt as reported by The US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. So on average a standard 5kw system can increase your homes value by as much as $20,000.

Compare that to remodeling a bathroom, kitchen or even building a garage. The ROI on residential solar is consistently higher than most other home improvements. Who doesn’t want lower electric bills and a smaller carbon footprint?

Plus, according to the US Department of Energy, houses with solar spend 50% less time on the market. Time is money, and the faster you can get out and make a move when you have to the better it ends up being on your wallet.

Saving money with Solar

If you choose to finance your system with $0 down, some homeowners can begin to save money as soon as the system starts generating power (within a couple months).

For cash purchases The average payback period for solar power is about 7 years depending on system size and production. Some homeowners will still have a small power bill with connection and/or delivery fees so its important to have your system designed by a professional for optimal production.

Going Solar is a Win Win.

When you go solar, you are making an investment both socially and financially. Why not, what are the downsides of having solar installed by a professional trusted company. Save the planet and save your money.

Why did Buddy and his wife switch to solar?

Buddy and his wife replaced their high power bill with a lower solar bill. People think an average solar system costs $32,483, and they’re right. But that’s less than you’re going to pay the power company over the same period of time. Also, most people are eligible to get 26% of their system cost back as a tax credit.

Most people are scared of solar at first, and its not their fault.

Solar is relatively new in Virginia and new things can seem scary.

What helped Buddy and his wife make the switch was the fact that there is a 25 year production warranty on the system that is backed by the manufacturer who is a 23 year old company.

Also, they are able to get credits on their bill from the power company for the extra power their system generates, which they love.

There’s only 2 problems,the first problem is: only half of the homes make sense for solar. Things like shading and orientation can disqualify your house.

If there are any trees casting shade on your roof, solar simply won’t work.

Also, we need to put the solar as close to south facing as possible because that’s where solar produces the most power.

The second problem is, time is running out. The tax credit is going away and that’s what makes solar affordable.

Click the link below to send us your information and one of our technicians will reach out and build you a custom proposal to see if solar is something that makes sense for your property.

Get my FREE custom proposal!

How does the Solar Tax credit work?

This is a great article originally posted on credit.com explaining the Solar Tax Credit and how you can take advantage before its too late. The author John Smith did a wonderful job explaining this from a completely non-biased perspective and continues to write great content to help consumers make informed decisions.

The U.S. has been grappling with the idea of making renewable energy the primary source of power for homes and industries. Solar energy is by far one of the most popular in the market today. As an incentive to ensure that as many homeowners as possible adopt the use of solar energy, the federal government came up with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which first introduced the solar tax credit.

What is a solar tax credit?

The federal solar tax credit allows you to deduct up to 30% of the cost of installing solar energy systems in homes and industries in the U.S. There is no cap to the value of the system installed, and this deduction applies to both residential and commercial solar system installations.

A small history of the solar tax credit

Originally established by the EPA in 2005, the solar tax credit was supposed to last until the end of 2007. However, due to its vast popularity, Congress has been extending that expiration date for over a decade now. It’s mostly because the solar tax credit has proven to be a highly effective incentive supporting the transition of the country’s economy into the renewable energy era.

Today, the solar tax credit is still available to both home and business owners. Here are some of the details:

  • 2019-The solar tax credit remains at 30%

  • 2020-Homeowners and commercial solar system installation will benefit from a 26% deduction

  • 2021-Homeowners and commercial solar system installation will benefit from a 22% deduction

  • 2022 onward-Only owners of new commercial solar system installation will benefit from a 10% deduction of the cost of installation. There are currently no federal tax credits for residential solar system installations from 2022 onward

There was a time when, as the owner of a newly installed solar system, you couldn’t claim your deductions until your solar system was up and running. Now you can file your claim as soon as the installation process for solar power begins and as long as your solar energy system is up and running by the Dec. 31, 2023.

What are the benefits of the solar tax credit?

The benefit of the solar tax credit for a taxpayer can essentially be boiled down to the benefits of installing a solar system in your own home or your business. The very first advantage is the fact that you get to claim 30% of the installation costs with no cap to how much your system costs.

For example, if you got a system that costs $10,000 you can claim 30% of that and have a tax credit of $3,000. Should your neighbor install a solar system worth $100,000, they get to claim $30,000.

The solar tax credit also has the following advantages:

It has made solar energy more affordable for many home and business owners.It encourages home and business owners to buy their own solar panels-leasing disqualifies you from the tax credit.It helps you save money both during the installation of the solar system.

Thanks to the solar tax credit, you start saving money from day one. Even the fees that go into consultations with a professional solar energy expert count as part of the installation costs.

How do you qualify for the solar tax credit when filing taxes?

If you want to install a solar system, you can qualify for 30% thanks to the federal tax credit. However, to do so, you must meet a few requirements during the tax year:

Your solar system has to be installed by Dec. 31, 2019.You must own and not rent the home or business that you want to outfit with the solar system-a rental property doesn’t qualify.You must own the solar panels. Leasing disqualifies you.

It’s understandable that you might want to lease your solar panels to save money. The problem with this is that the leasing company is the one that qualifies for the 30% tax credit, not you. You can, however, buy your own solar panels by taking out a loan and enjoy the 30% tax credit yourself.

How do I claim the solar tax credit?

Assuming you qualify for the solar tax credit, here are some of the things that you can claim when filing your tax returns:

  • Solar consulting fees

  • Solar equipment

  • Freight

  • shipping costs

  • Tools and equipment

  • Professional installer fees

  • Engineer fees

  • Electrician fees

  • Wiring, screws, bolts, nails, etc.

  • Permitting service costs

  • Permitting fees

You can do the installation yourself if you have the technical know-how but you can’t claim your own labor for installing solar panels as part of the tax credit on your return. When filing your tax returns:

  • Confirm that you qualify for the 30% tax credit

  • Gather all the necessary receipts

  • Complete IRS Form 5965

  • Add the credit to Form 1040

Once that’s all done, you will have effectively filed for the 30% solar tax credit. You can consult your tax preparer to ensure that everything is in order.

Unfortunately November 15th 2019 is the last day we can guarantee a completion date before December 31st 2019, to be eligible for the full 30% tax credit. Making the decision to go solar moving forward will result in a 26% tax credit as long as the system is installed before the December 31st 2020 deadline. For more information on whether solar power is the right solution for you and receive your free customized proposal give us a call at 804-452-7699 or send your most recent power bill to Service@sunlightsolarvirginia.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

How Solar Customers Save Money: A Beginner’s Guide to Net Energy Metering

This is a great post from our friends over at Aurora solar explaining the basics of Net Metering.

Lower electric bills are one of the biggest selling points of installing a solar PV system. But how exactly does adding solar provide these savings? For customers early in the process of evaluating a solar purchase, the specific dynamics aren’t always clear.

As a solar professional, being able to give potential customers a concrete understanding of the process by which a solar installation will put more money in their pockets each month can help make this big investment much less daunting.

In the U.S., net energy metering (also called net metering or NEM) policies are the primary mechanism driving savings for solar customers who wish to remain connected to the electric grid—as most solar customers do, so that they can rely on the services of their local utility when needed.

In this article, we break down how solar saves customers money by explaining how solar installations interact with the electric grid and how this relates to net energy metering as a means to allow solar customers to lower their electricity bills.

What is the Grid and How Does It Relate to Solar Installations?

While most people have a general familiarity with the electric grid—often referred to simply as “the grid”—as the source of power for their homes and businesses, few people have a strong understanding of how it works. The grid is a network of power plants and transmission lines that work together to deliver electricity to consumers across the U.S.

Because electricity is always in demand, the grid is constantly operating, and grid operators carefully manage energy output to meet demand; energy that flows into the grid must be immediately consumed. It is a complicated system that is vital to the operation of countless services we depend on.

For a typical home without a solar installation, all of the electricity needed to meet occupants’ demands is drawn from the grid. When solar panels are installed, the relationship between the customer’s home and the grid changes because energy can now flow in two directions.

The solar array acts as a small power plant that provides an additional source of energy for the home and the grid.

When the household consumes energy at the same time that their solar panels are producing it, they can use that energy directly in place of what they would draw from the grid. This results in lower energy consumption through the utility company and thus a lower electric bill. This is the part of solar savings that most people intuitively understand—but there’s more to how a solar installation saves customers money.

Unlike a traditional power plant which can be turned on and off as needed, the amount of energy produced by a solar array changes depending on factors like the time of day and the weather. This variability means that there will be times when the installation produces more or less energy than the occupants are consuming. This is a key reason why most solar customers still rely on the grid even after installing solar.

How Net Energy Metering Reduces Solar Customers’ Energy Bills

When a customer’s solar panels do not produce enough energy to match their needs, the grid provides the additional energy needed. On the contrary, when solar panels produce more energy than the household is using, the excess energy is fed back onto the grid. This two-way relationship between a customer’s solar panels and the grid is central to net energy metering (NEM), the primary way U.S. solar customers save money on their utility bills.

We know that solar panels can directly save customers money by decreasing the energy they buy from the grid, but what happens when the system is producing a lot of energy when they don’t need it—like on a hot summer day when they’re away on vacation?

Net energy metering answers this question by putting a value on the excess energy solar customers send back to the grid when their system produces more energy than they need. Under net metering, excess electricity generated by the solar installation is valued at the same retail rate customers would pay the utility for it1, which allows them to cancel out the cost of electricity they purchase from their utility at other times.

One way to visualize this process is that when the system produces excess energy the building’s energy meter runs backward so customers pay only for their net energy consumption. Coupled with the direct decrease in energy consumption from the grid, net metering compensation often allows solar customers to pay nearly nothing for electricity.

Because solar customers are paid at the retail rate for the extra energy they produce, they may wonder whether installing a very large solar system could provide a source of income rather than just savings. However, almost all net metering policies are structured so that customers are only compensated at the retail rate for solar energy up to the total amount of energy they consume over the course of the year. Any energy production beyond that is compensated at a much lower rate (this is called the utility’s Net Surplus Compensation policy). This is why solar designers typically recommend a system that produces slightly less energy than the total amount the customer needs.

We hope this article provided enough useful information to reference when communicating with respective solar installers and if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call 804-452-7699

[Note: In this article, we are only discussing “grid-tied” solar installations, in which the homeowner remains connected to the electric grid, as opposed to an “off-grid” solar installation, which would not be eligible for net metering.]

Quick guide to going solar

Everyone knows about solar energy, but most people think of solar energy as just a concept. People think of solar energy as something that only a wealthy or eco-friendly people have on their homes, but don’t realize how obtainable a system is. Advancement in technology and the rapid popularity of solar energy make it not only more affordable but very beneficial for most residences and businesses. Whether you got here because one of our field representatives identified your property as having a good potential for a solar system or you

found yourself interested in solar energy and its benefits, we hope this guide takes the concept of solar energy and puts it in perspective of what it would look like in

the setting of your home or business.

The first step is to educate yourself on residential solar energy. You don’t want to start an investment without really know much about it. With solar power growing so rapidly, information about solar energy changes just as rapidly. In today’s age, solar has become increasingly more affordable and solar cells have become more technologically advanced and more efficient.

There is a lot that can go into explaining residential solar, but for now here are some helpful bits of information that we believe are important.

– Electricity is not produced by the sun’s heat. The way that electricity is produced is by the sun’s rays interacting with solar cells in a way that releases electrons, and therefore you

still get electricity on a cold or cloudy day.

– Buying a solar system is like buying years of electricity. You are paying the upfront cost to set up your system knowing over time your costs will be reduced, thus saving more money. Not only are you saving money over time, but you are also investing into the environment as well and reducing dependency of fossil fuels.

– There are many government programs that give you credit towards your bills or will even give you money back for reducing the strain on electrical grids. Not only are you reducing your bills for power, but the government will compensate you for reducing your energy footprint.

Questions to ask yourself before deciding if solar is right for you:

WILL SOLAR SAVE ME MONEY?

– Figures vary based on specific location, but a common threshold is $100 a month. If

your electricity bill is equal to or exceeds this amount, you can likely save money from

residential solar.

AM I LOOKING FOR A LONG TERM INVESTMENT?

– There is an upfront cost for a solar system and it will take a couple years to offset the cost, but after those years you will be saving money. If you are interested in calculating this time, we can look at these numbers our solar assessment. Another thing to note is that solar systems increase the value of your home.

WHAT IS MY SUNLIGHT EXPOSURE?

– Even though solar panels do work without direct sunlight, the more direct the sunlight

the more effective the panels are. You want to make sure that the energy produced is

worth while.

DO I QUALIFY FOR GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS?

– With solar energy reducing the strain on electrical grids, the government has established several programs that you can take advantage of. The government uses these programs as incentive to be more energy efficient. These incentives can be everything from energy credit to actual cash back.

What to consider when looking at who to hire.

Local companies often have a better idea of what the environment is like, what government programs are available, and they can help in securing local permits and contracts required for putting in a new solar system. Another thing to consider is a solar company that has their installers on the payroll as opposed to sub contractors. This provides much more accountability and if something does go wrong it will be much easier to get a resolution.

So who are we?

We are Sunlight Solar, locally owned and operated in Virginia, serving the entire commonwealth from right outside Richmond. We pride ourselves on quality workmanship, products and customer service. Our mission is simple, help property owners make an educated decision on going solar by a free no-pressure onsite analysis. You can reach out to our office at 804-452-7699 or send us your info in the form below and we will be in touch!

How Solar Customers Save Money: A Beginner’s Guide to Net Energy Metering

This is a great post from our friends over at Aurora solar explaining the basics of Net Metering.

Lower electric bills are one of the biggest selling points of installing a solar PV system. But how exactly does adding solar provide these savings? For customers early in the process of evaluating a solar purchase, the specific dynamics aren’t always clear.

As a solar professional, being able to give potential customers a concrete understanding of the process by which a solar installation will put more money in their pockets each month can help make this big investment much less daunting.

In the U.S., net energy metering (also called net metering or NEM) policies are the primary mechanism driving savings for solar customers who wish to remain connected to the electric grid—as most solar customers do, so that they can rely on the services of their local utility when needed.

In this article, we break down how solar saves customers money by explaining how solar installations interact with the electric grid and how this relates to net energy metering as a means to allow solar customers to lower their electricity bills.

What is the Grid and How Does It Relate to Solar Installations?

While most people have a general familiarity with the electric grid—often referred to simply as “the grid”—as the source of power for their homes and businesses, few people have a strong understanding of how it works. The grid is a network of power plants and transmission lines that work together to deliver electricity to consumers across the U.S.

Because electricity is always in demand, the grid is constantly operating, and grid operators carefully manage energy output to meet demand; energy that flows into the grid must be immediately consumed. It is a complicated system that is vital to the operation of countless services we depend on.

For a typical home without a solar installation, all of the electricity needed to meet occupants’ demands is drawn from the grid. When solar panels are installed, the relationship between the customer’s home and the grid changes because energy can now flow in two directions.

The solar array acts as a small power plant that provides an additional source of energy for the home and the grid.

When the household consumes energy at the same time that their solar panels are producing it, they can use that energy directly in place of what they would draw from the grid. This results in lower energy consumption through the utility company and thus a lower electric bill. This is the part of solar savings that most people intuitively understand—but there’s more to how a solar installation saves customers money.

Unlike a traditional power plant which can be turned on and off as needed, the amount of energy produced by a solar array changes depending on factors like the time of day and the weather. This variability means that there will be times when the installation produces more or less energy than the occupants are consuming. This is a key reason why most solar customers still rely on the grid even after installing solar.

How Net Energy Metering Reduces Solar Customers’ Energy Bills

When a customer’s solar panels do not produce enough energy to match their needs, the grid provides the additional energy needed. On the contrary, when solar panels produce more energy than the household is using, the excess energy is fed back onto the grid. This two-way relationship between a customer’s solar panels and the grid is central to net energy metering (NEM), the primary way U.S. solar customers save money on their utility bills.

We know that solar panels can directly save customers money by decreasing the energy they buy from the grid, but what happens when the system is producing a lot of energy when they don’t need it—like on a hot summer day when they’re away on vacation?

Net energy metering answers this question by putting a value on the excess energy solar customers send back to the grid when their system produces more energy than they need. Under net metering, excess electricity generated by the solar installation is valued at the same retail rate customers would pay the utility for it1, which allows them to cancel out the cost of electricity they purchase from their utility at other times.

One way to visualize this process is that when the system produces excess energy the building’s energy meter runs backward so customers pay only for their net energy consumption. Coupled with the direct decrease in energy consumption from the grid, net metering compensation often allows solar customers to pay nearly nothing for electricity.

Because solar customers are paid at the retail rate for the extra energy they produce, they may wonder whether installing a very large solar system could provide a source of income rather than just savings. However, almost all net metering policies are structured so that customers are only compensated at the retail rate for solar energy up to the total amount of energy they consume over the course of the year. Any energy production beyond that is compensated at a much lower rate (this is called the utility’s Net Surplus Compensation policy). This is why solar designers typically recommend a system that produces slightly less energy than the total amount the customer needs.

We hope this article provided enough useful information to reference when communicating with respective solar installers and if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call 804-452-7699

[Note: In this article, we are only discussing “grid-tied” solar installations, in which the homeowner remains connected to the electric grid, as opposed to an “off-grid” solar installation, which would not be eligible for net metering.]