Are You A Homeowners or Mid-Size Business Thinking About Going Solar?

In a surprise move, on December 17th, 2015, U.S. lawmakers agreed to extend the 30% solar tax credit through 2019. This extension benefits small homeowners and businesses. This is AMAZING news for the homeowner or small business owner.

It is crucial to start taking advantage of the ample sunlight that shines down every day, as this renewable resource is a source of clean energy that does not pollute the environment. 

Now that you have a financial incentive, it's time to start searching for what you want and need in terms of solar installation. Starting the task of searching for how to buy, install and use solar panels for your home or small business can seem daunting. Here’s a great video from Consumer Reports to help start your mind rolling on the initial questions to start asking, and where to begin, “7 Questions to ask Before You Go Solar.” 

If solar power appeals to you, we recommend picking something small to start with. For example, there are outdoor lights that are completely run on solar energy. You can find them at big box and even home improvement stores. They are very easy to install. The lights can stay lit after a full day’s charge. A small investment of just a few solar powered garden lights is a great way to get started.

Once you’ve been inspired by personally experiencing this FREE renewable resource, you might ready to start looking into solar energy installation as your home or small businesses' energy source. 

Here’s some information you will want to think about and gather before calling to speak with a solar installation company:

  • Think about how you use your energy. Before switching to a solar energy system, you should have a good sense of the amount of power you use. Given that energy usage changes on a seasonal basis, gather your last years worth of energy usage. You can find this on your monthly energy bill.  
  • You need a reliable method for storing energy that’s produced from the solar energy system. A good battery can store a lot of energy for lengthy time periods. Alternately, you could sell your excess energy to your local utility. This process is called Net Metering. By staying connected to the power grid, you will be able to make use of the energy it provides in the unlikely event this becomes necessary.
  • The efficiency of your solar panels will be dependent on their density. Denser panels may cost you more, but they will also give you more power. This is something to discuss with your solar installation company. 
  • Another option, is a panel system that tracks the sun for optimum efficiency.
  • Are you tired of paying high heating bills or taking quick showers to conserve the hot water? Photovoltaic panels work best in areas that get about five hours of unobstructed sunlight. By using solar water heating, you can heat a swimming pool for cheaper.
  • Are you outside the main utility grid because you live in a more rural area? It may also be a good option if you don’t mind paying more upfront money to reduce the environmental impact of your energy.
  • We recommend a good solar water heater. The best solar-powered models are a third more efficient than electric models but solar energy will help you save money. Water in a solar water heater should retain its heat for at least 24 hours.

Making use of this knowledge will help prepare you and your home or business’s transformation to solar energy. When you want to make the switch, put these guidelines to use and then give ASE Solar Solutions a call for a free estimate on your home or small businesses’ solar panel capacity. We will talk share with you our knowledge, talk through your options, as well give you an estimate on installation.  

 

5 Spectacularly Beautiful Solar Installations

Believe it or not, a common reason people stray away from solar setups is because they think they are “ugly”. Nowadays, more than ever, people care about the aesthetics of their home. Solar has answered to that. With lighter, sharper, and smarter designs, it is time people took another look at solar paneling and realized the many possibilities available to incorporating it into a home or business. 

We found 5 awesome solar installations to help change that stigma. 

1. CLIFF HOUSE

Inconspicuous placement of solar panels allows  for the architecture to highlighted, and the solar panels to be hidden. http://altius.net/projects/cliff-house/

This house was built overlooking the beautiful Muskoka Lakes in Ontario. The aim of the project was modern design and sustainable functionality. Looking to be completely off the grid, this house is outfitted with solar slabs and panels. 

2. SOLAR HOUSE

http://www.trendir.com/house-design/eco-sustainable-home-award-winning-german-design.html

This incredible house was created by students at Technische Universitat Darmstadt in Germany. They won first prize in the Solar Decathlon. With solar sustainability in mind, the students designed a house that is completely covered with solar cells, which generates 200%  of the homes energy use. 

3. FAB LAB HOUSE

http://www.fablabhouse.com/en/

http://www.fablabhouse.com/en/

This awesome home comes from The Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. This eco project based in Madrid aimed at making a house in which its "form followed its energy". It generates 3 times as much energy as it uses, it looks awesome, and sells at 69,000 dollars. 

4. VODACOM

image : http://www.wspgroup.com/en/WSP-Africa/What-we-do/Project-Case-Studies/VODACOM-CENTURY-CITY-SOLAR-POWER---CAPE-TOWN-SOUTH-AFRICA/         article : http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/vodacom-shows-off-its-solar-rooftop-the-largest-in-africa-2013-03-06

image : http://www.wspgroup.com/en/WSP-Africa/What-we-do/Project-Case-Studies/VODACOM-CENTURY-CITY-SOLAR-POWER---CAPE-TOWN-SOUTH-AFRICA/        

article : http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/vodacom-shows-off-its-solar-rooftop-the-largest-in-africa-2013-03-06

This is an astounding 542kWp installation on the top of the Vodacom building in Cape Town, South Africa. It takes record as the largest solar panel array setup on a single building in Africa. Go Vodacom! 

5. SOLAR CANOPY

http://www.toledomuseum.org/about/green/solar/

http://www.toledomuseum.org/about/green/solar/

A lot of places are now turning toward solar parking canopies. Here at the Toledo museum, where they are known for being green, they have gone off the grid before with this 360kw system they installed. 

The end is near: solar tax credit

Solar power has become a popular alternative energy source due to how ineffably green and affordable it is. Many people are looking to be environmentally conscious and money conscious. The environmental benefits of solar are obvious. There is less dependency, more renewability, and long-term sustainability. But it begs the questions, how does solar put money back into your wallet? 

Well in 2005, The Energy Policy Act established the investment tax credit or ITC. The ITC is a 30% federal tax credit that you may claim for solar systems, both in residential and commercial spheres. Essentially a company setting up solar systems, or homeowners paying to install a solar system, will receive a 30% tax credit. This act established the most crucial financial benefit for the solar industry, which has propelled its immense growth in the last 10 years.

Unfortunately the Energy Policy Act intended for the ITC to end following December 31st, 2016. The new policy will reduce commercial tax credit from 30% to 10%, whereas homeowners will gain absolutely no credit at all. This is a major shift that will negatively affect everyone involved in solar, companies and homeowners alike.

What does this mean?

The reality is that the ITC needs to be extended. The tax credit is the largest magnet the solar industry has. Homeowners will shy away from solar when the same financial perks don’t exist.

In 2017, the first year after the change, we will lose 80,000 jobs in solar alone, not to mention the 20,000 jobs we will lose in related industries. That will not only end 100,000 careers but it will also crash our solar capacity by 8 gigawatts. That’s the lowest it will have been in 5 years.

We need to speak up and fight as a community and industry to extend the ITC, maintaining the affordability and accessibility of solar power. If the ITC is not extended, then between now and the end of 2016 will be the most opportune time to buy solar panels, have them installed, and benefit from your tax credit. So if you have been interested in going solar, now is the time to get educated and act fast. 

 

Simply, Why Solar?

Solar energy stands out as the cleanest and least impactful energy source we have access to today. Both economically and environmentally, solar power systems pave a conscious and resourceful path into the future of energy.                                                                                  

With a clean and free energy source from the sun, we can all be more independent from the high cost of electricity. In turn, converting to solar can significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. When these fuels are used to produce electricity, they release toxic emissions that are harmful to both our bodies and our environment. With pollution and global warming on the rise, we need to confront the truth and find a realistic alternative to this growing problem. 

Solar is that realistic alternative.  

Solar paneling is lightweight, space efficient, and cost-effective; it’s an obvious solution.

 With a system that is kind to both nature and your wallet solar energy is ever appealing to the consumer. There is such a demand in our society for a more direct service from providers in all industries. A great example is the ride-sharing industry, where companies have looked to achieve more efficient servicing, and in doing so have eliminated the middleman. Giving us just what we want, when we want it. 

Solar systems accomplish a similar goal by bringing us cleaner and greener energy, without being harmful or expensive. It seems as if consumers are assuming more direct social and personal responsibility than ever by converting to solar. 

Switching to greener lighting systems in your home, as well as solar, can reduce your consumption, and thus your bill, by up to two-thirds. Over a 20 year time period, a California resident could save an upwards of $30K by switching to solar. You can imagine the impact month-to-month on your utility bill. Not to mention, a solar system can increase the value of your home. 

So with solar being so much smarter, it begs the question, why not solar?