Solar Misconceptions

Here are some common misconceptions about solar power that often stop homeowners from installing solar panels:

1.  My state doesn’t get enough sunlight to make solar worthwhile.

The image below shows a measurement of the potential each area of the world has for solar power:

Global Solar Power Potential

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As you can see, the entire United States is situated for good to great solar power production.  Even more interesting, compare the map above to actual solar production by country and you will see that Germany currently leads the world even though it has less solar power potential than the USA.

Solar Power by Country: Leaders Per Capita

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2.  Solar Panels Are Too Costly

Most of DIY Rooftop Solar has been devoted to disproving this misconception.  Check out these posts for more information:

Sizing Your Solar Panel System and DIY Solar Kits for estimates on what solar panels will cost you.

What If My Utility Company Doesn’t Offer A Rebate for possible credits that would lower the cost of solar panels.

When looking to lower the cost of your solar panel installation, a helpful tool for investigating what rebates or subsidies your home qualifies for is the DSIRE website.  Here is a link to DSIRE’s interactive chart of financial incentives by state:

Interactive Chart of Financial Incentives for Renewable Energy

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3.  Solar Panels Are Unsightly

I may be biased here, but I think that solar panels can be installed in a way that not only blends in with your home,  but can actually enhance its appearance.  Our home’s solar panels were installed flush with the roof and most people do not even realize that they are there.

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DIY Solar Kits

An interesting article appeared in the local newspaper this week, “Solar Power For The Do-It-Yourselfer”.  The article profiled a company, SolarPod, that sells a solar kit that includes 4 PV solar panels, mounting hardware and micro-inverters.  The kit will produce about 1kW of electricity for a price tag of $4000 and are designed for flat roofs.

Solar Power for the Do-It-Yourselfer

While a bit pricey at $4/watt not including installation, it’s a great Continue reading

Solar Increases Home Property Values

According to the infographic below, your return on investment can be even further sweetened by considering the increased property value of your home after solar installation:

Solar Home Value Infographic

Source:  JetsonGreen.com

In fact, solar installations add so much value to a home that they are becoming as common as Continue reading

How Much Electricity Does Our System Produce?

Our system is located in Minnesota, and while we can generate large amounts of energy all year long, the decreased hours of sunlight and snow cover impacts our production in winter months.  On the flip side, the summer months are our super star performers.  Our 7kW system generates well over 100% of our usage in the May-November months.  The utility company “buys back” the excess resulting in a profit of $20-$60/month.  Seriously, not only do we not pay for electricity during these months, but the utility company sends us a check each month!

yearlyutilitybillsbymonth

Note that the $20-$60 is in excess of the savings that we are NOT paying utility fees for the month.  We averaged $700/year or $60/month in electricity costs before the Continue reading

Solar Panel System Components

OK, so you know that your roof is situated for solar exposure and either your utility company offers a rebate or you plan to sell your SREC’s on the open market.  Great!  Now we can dig into the actual components of a rooftop PV system.

*Disclaimer:  You should know that I am not an engineer Continue reading

What If My Utility Company Doesn’t Offer A Rebate?

As discussed in previous posts here and here, the cost of installing solar panels can be greatly reduced by utility company rebates.  But, what if your utility company doesn’t have an incentive program?  Or your roof doesn’t qualify due to the direction your roof faces?  Fortunately, without the utility’s involvement you retain ownership of the SRECs and can sell them on the Continue reading

Sizing Your Solar Panel System

The amount homeowners are eligible to receive from our utility company is based on the size of their PV system.  For example, as mentioned previously, our home’s PV system has a total of 7 kW.  At the time of installation, the utility rebate was $2.25/watt*.  This resulted in a $15,750 rebate (2.25 x 7000).

After rebates and incentives, our total Continue reading