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  • Sunshine City Solar

Solar Panels for Beginners

How do Solar Panels Work?

Sunlight hits the solar panels and shakes up the electrons inside the cells. That creates a flow of electricity that is sent to the system’s solar inverter. The inverter converts the electricity into usable electricity that can power everything in your home. Some solar panel systems also include a solar battery, which stores the extra solar energy the panels produce for later use. However, not all solar panels are installed with solar batteries.

You don't need to understand all of the technicalities to benefit from solar. Once installed, solar panels run themselves and require no involvement from the homeowner.

What types of solar systems are there?

Grid-Tied Systems

The cheapest type of system is the simple grid-tied system. They offer the quickest payback, but when the utility grid is down these systems switch off. That means that they do not offer backup power when the grid is out. Most people think that solar panels will keep their lights going when the power goes out. Unfortunately, unless you add battery storage they won’t.

Hybrid Solar Systems

That is why more people are now considering adding solar batteries to their solar systems so that they have backup power if the electric grid is down. Residential solar systems with battery backup that are also connected to the utility grid are called hybrid solar systems.

Off-Grid Solar Systems

Off-grid systems are the most expensive so few people choose this type unless they live in a remote location.

What are solar batteries?

Solar batteries store excess solar energy so you can use it when you most need it, for example during a power outage. When you don't have a battery, your excess energy is sent to the grid with net metering. When you do, it is sent to your battery, where it is stored for you to use later.

Most home solar batteries cost between $10,000 and $15,000 to install, so they add a substantial amount to the total cost of a solar installation. It is worth noting that the 30% federal solar investment tax credit applies to batteries and helps reduce the cost significantly, and that solar batteries are cheaper than ever before. Blackouts are becoming more common throughout the U.S., and the best way to keep your lights on is a solar battery.

Solar batteries will only become more popular, especially as more utilities put an end to net metering. Without net metering, you wouldn’t be paid for all of the solar electricity you produce, however, by storing your extra energy in a battery, you’ll still get the full value of your solar energy.

How long does it take to install home solar panels?

Depending on the complexity of the system, a solar installation usually takes one to three days to complete, sometimes more. The installation is just one step in the process of going solar. However, solar permitting and utility approval, depending on where you live, can add months to the installation process.

Are there solar incentives or tax credits available?

The federal Clean Energy Tax Credit or the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides homeowners with a tax credit equal to 30% of the total cost of a solar panel installation. Battery installation costs are covered, as well. This tax credit is available until the end of 2032. At the start of 2033, the value of the tax credit drops to 26% and falls again to 22% in 2034. The tax credit expires in 2035 for residential solar installations.

The solar tax credit isn’t the only incentive for going solar. There are other solar incentives. For example, the Texas property tax code offers a 100% tax exemption for any increase in property value that results from your solar installation. In addition to saving money on your monthly energy bill, you’ll also save money on your annual property tax.

With renewable energy buyback programs, customers in deregulated service areas can choose a retail electric provider to buy back their excess energy. In addition to Texas’ other programs, you may be able to participate in a solar net-metering program. In addition, Sometimes called net energy metering, or NEM for short, this type of program credits solar energy system owners for the unused energy that they produce. When their system isn’t producing enough energy for their needs, they can draw on those credits instead of paying for electricity. However, all of these incentives might not be around for as long as the federal tax credit. To maximize your solar savings, it’s best to go solar sooner rather than later so you can take advantage of as many rebates as possible.

How many solar panels do you need to power a home?

The exact number of panels on your roof varies depending on the specific brand and model of the solar panels chosen. On average, people are installing around 20 panels. If you would like a more detailed explanation of solar system sizing contact us today.

Is a DIY solar installation a good idea?

Installing solar panels is dangerous, so the potential savings of doing it yourself may not be worth the risk. You’re working on a roof on electrical work. Not to mention, you’ll need to work out all of the permitting and planning yourself, which can be hard to navigate. Additionally, you run the risk of voiding warranties and not qualifying for certain incentives. While you can install solar yourself, we don’t advise it.

There’s ample sunshine in El Paso, Texas, which makes it an ideal city to invest in this renewable energy. If you’re ready to move forward with a solar installation, contact us today!

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