Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Solar?

Glad you asked. For some time we have been looking into ways to lower our electric bill. Our home is all electric. We have changed out light bulbs, turned things off when not in use, and monitored our meter daily. All our windows were replaced with Tripled paned, the house had new siding with molded insulation used. A pellet stove was installed, a new two speed heat pump and Heat film put on the solarium window and doors. Still our bill is not going down. This is mostly due to the rising cost of energy. Looking at Geothermal, Gas, Wind power and Solar. We decided that because of the location of our home, Tax incentives( state, county and federal), Solar would be the best move for our money.
All the questions about Maintenance and what if we need a New roof were looked into. As far as the Maintenance. Some solar companies will monitor your system relieving us from that worry. They have a system in place that allows it to be monitored by their computer, similar to a home monitoring system. It takes a look at the weather in your area and other solar systems measuring them. If your numbers are low they will trouble shoot and let you know. Sending out a technician if need be, this is included in the cost and warranty. There is also a monitor placed in your home were you can see the amount of solar energy being produced in real time. Some even give you the option of web monitoring and an APP for your phone. How awesome is that?
Most panels have a 35 year life. Everything is usually covered during the first 25 years time. You really have to be careful on this coverage. Do your homework on the company. There is really no maintenance on the newer panels, they are made better nowadays to withstand the harsh environment.
Now what if you need a new roof? It is better to put a new roof on before the panels. However with that said, if your roof is not that old, our is 10 years and double shingled, you do not need to reroof. Actually the panels prolong the life of your roof due to the way they work. The Panels collect the sun energy and send it to Inverter and then to the meter. By doing this the heat of the sun is not bearing down on your roof. This make the shingles cooler, saving the aging of it. A typical roof can last 25 years or better. Some newer roofing is even more energy friendly, last longer, 30+ years.
As this project get underway I will be blogging more about it.

Photo from Sunpower

1 comment:

  1. My Husband and I have discussed this same topic multiple times. He has recently been looking into Solar Shingles versus Solar Panels, do you have any input on which is better or why? Our house is only 10 years old and the roof is in great shape, but does have a high pitch, so not sure how the solar panels would look or mount (pitch actually helps with the snow, which is usually fully off the roof within 2 days after a snow storm!). But with the Federal and State incentives currently out there, along with deals being presented from vendors, this is a good time to do this, assuming you have the resources.

    Going to keep an eye on your progress with this project! Good luck!