Battery Backups for Solar Panel Systems

Battery Backup Options

Should I add a Battery Backup to my Solar Panel System?

Long story short, the answer is maybe! Battery backup systems are designed for you to always be on. So, in a power outage, you will still have power. Since it isn’t a quick yes or no question, let’s look at some common solar battery questions we get so you can make an educated decision when deciding if you should add a battery backup to your solar system installation.

How do solar battery backups work?

Solar battery systems can be AC-coupled or DC-coupled. As we know, AC-coupling take the power coming from the solar panels and converts it with the help of the inverted from DC to AC. From there the battery inverter will take that DC power and convert it back into AC power and power your home or office. The DC- coupled is a bit easier as it doesn’t have to convert the power because solar panels natively produce DC power and the solar battery will store DC power.

Sonnen Preferred Contractor Battery Backup for Solar Panels

How much do solar panel batteries cost?

Solar batteries costs will vary depending on many factors. Batteries that can operate off-grid are going to cost more than batteries that are designed to operate while connected to the grid. Prices are expected to fall, just like solar panel costs have in the past. In addition, you can take advantage of the federal tax savings.

How many solar panel batteries do I need?

The answer to this question will be determined based on your average daily power usage and how long you will want to power your home or office. To determine how much energy you use, you will have to look at the kilowatt hours over a certain time frame.

How do I determine if a solar battery backup is worth it?

First, we have to understand how your energy company is charging you for electricity.

  • Do you pay the same per-kWh rate regardless of time?
  • Does your utility company offer net metering?

If the answer to these questions are yes, then the only added benefit you will have is if the power goes out. So, if you live in an area where there are many blackouts, then the battery backup may still be worth the investment.

Now if your utility company is charging you time of use rates, demand charges, and no net metering then the battery backup is a truly viable solution to add to your solar energy system.

Hopefully these questions have helped you to decide if a battery backup is worth your investment. Not all battery backups are created equal and SRS recommends that our clients use LG or Sonnen battery backups. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation to walk you through all of your options with your solar energy system.

How do Solar Panels Work?

How do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panel installation companies claim to make life easy by providing energy independence and unlimited savings. It is a clean source of energy that does not harm our planet and the eco-system. According to the International Energy Agency report released in 2017, solar energy has become the world’s most rapidly-growing source of power, making it the first time that solar energy’s progression has exceeded all other fuels.

However, the main question that needs answering is, how do the solar energy panels work? Therefore, this post is all about educating our readers on this topic. But before we get into details, let’s first understand what solar energy is?

Solar Energy

Solar energy functions by absorbing the sun’s energy and revolving it into electricity for your home or business.

Sun is a natural nuclear reactor that releases tiny packs of energy known as photons. These photons travel 93 million miles from the sun to our planet in approximately 8.5 minutes. Each hour, enough photons come into contact with Earth to generate enough solar energy to hypothetically fulfill global energy needs for a whole year. So, solar power is capturing the energy from the Sun and converting it into electricity using various technologies such as using photovoltaic, which is a direct system or indirectly using concentrated solar power, or even a combination.

Now, that we know what is solar energy, let’s get into details of how solar panels work?

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Simply put, a solar energy panel functions by allowing photons (particles of light) to knock electrons loose from their atoms, forming an electrical circuit as conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell. So, when electrons move through the circuit, they generate electricity.

A solar panel is made up of multiple, smaller units known as photovoltaic (PV) cells. (Photovoltaic means they change sunlight into electricity). These cells are linked together as every photovoltaic cell is essentially a sandwich made up of two layers of semi-conducting material that is usually silicon, which is the same stuff used in microelectronics.

To work, these photovoltaic cells need to form an electric field that occurs when opposite charges are separated. Therefore, solar cells are constructed with a positive or negative electrical charge that generates an electric field when put together and hit by photons from sunlight, just like in a battery. It is called the photoelectric effect, and it is what creates the current required to produce electricity.

How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

PV solar energy panels generate direct current (DC) energy and allow electrons to flow in one route around a circuit. It is like a battery powering a light bulb as electrons move through the lamp from the negative point of the battery to the positive side of the battery.

This (DC) energy is then converted into useable AC (alternating current) by passing it through an inverter. Now, the electricity can be funneled into the National Grid or be used by the business or home the solar panels are attached to as this AC energy flows through a home’s electrical panel and is circulated accordingly. Multiple panels can be wired together to develop a solar array. So, the more panels you can arrange, the more energy they can produce.

Here is the quick recap of the main steps for how solar panels work for your home:

  • Photovoltaic cells capture the sun’s energy and change it to DC electricity
  • The solar inverter converts DC electricity from the solar panels to AC electricity, which is used by the home appliances
  • Powering electronic devices, electricity flows through a home,
  • Excess electricity generated by solar panels is moved to the electric grid

How the Grid Factors into the Home Solar Process?

Every house that is attached to the electrical grid has something called a utility meter. It is what your energy supplier uses to measure and supply power to the house. When you install solar panels on a ground mount on your property or the roof, these solar panels are connected to your house’s utility meter. It means that the production quantity of your solar system can be retrieved and measured by this meter.

Many homes in the U.S. have a net metering system, which is a major solar incentive that improves the economics of solar considerably. It allows you to send energy to the grid when your solar system overproduces (during the day in sunny summer months) in conversation for credits on your electric bill. And during hours of low electricity generation (like nighttime in winter), the credits can be used to draw extra power from the grid and meet the household electricity demand.

Some Common Misconceptions about Solar Panels and Energy production

Solar energy panels generate more electricity in the summer. Therefore, there is a common assumption that they need warmer weather to work. However, this isn’t the case. It is just that warmer temperature and stronger sunlight often go hand in hand. In fact, solar panels can become less efficient if the temperature gets too hot or too cold as well.

Cloudy days are ok as solar panels react to the observable light range. This means, if there is light visible enough to see, there is enough light for solar modules to start producing electricity. However, the stronger the sunlight, the better the power generation.

At present, photovoltaic energy accounts for only five-tenths of 1 percent of the energy used up in the United States, which is due to cost and technological reasons. However, solar technology is improving rapidly as our ability to capturing the sun’s abundant energy is on the rise while the cost of going solar is dropping quickly. Solar energy is getting more efficient and affordable. However, you will need a good solar panel installation company to have quality solar for your home. And if you from Houston TX and surrounding area, then Sunshine Renewable Solutions is the best option to have solar for business or home.

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How to Choose the Best Solar Installer

How to Choose the Best Solar Installation Company?

The United States’ solar market grew by 82% in 2018. The U.S government, NGOs, manufacturing, and installation companies are making substantial efforts to make America green. There are numerous reasons why every American household wants to install solar panels on their properties.

Using solar panels for creating electricity means no release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Because the sun provides us more and more energy than we will ever need, electricity generated from solar power is an important energy source and likewise a good move to clean energy production.

There are hundreds of reasons why you should go solar – and today, you will find many companies that offer installation and maintenance services. However, you must know that not all of them offer state-of-the-art services. So, what to look for in the solar company or how to choose the best solar installation company?

In today’s blog post, we will give you some useful tips which you can use or apply to choose the best solar company and have a high return on investment. We recommend you to read this post thoroughly in order to get the most out of it!

Houston, TX Solar Install Project

Recommendations

The first step is to seek recommendations when you opt to look for an experienced and professional solar installation company. Simply put, recommendations are suggestions from your family members, friends, colleagues, or other people around you. After getting the recommendations, you can also do your research online and seek more.

The benefit of finding more installation companies from both offline and online platforms is to have a much wider field of choice. For instance, if a person has been served professionally by a particular company, he or she will recommend you to hire their services.

However, suggestions from them should not be the final word and you can’t make your decision based on them. Seeking recommendations from others is just the first step to find the best solar company in town.

Professionalism

After getting various suggestions from your family members, friends, colleagues, and other people, it is time to start hunting for the best company. Remember, your solar panel installation company should be a professional and expert in the installation of all types of solar energy systems.

A professional solar power installation company has certified and qualified employees in the field of electrical installations. Expertise and professionalism come with experience, staff, and quality of tools. Therefore, such a company must demonstrate its competence and skills in the field of solar installation.

Location

Another important thing to consider is the “location” while choosing a solar power installation company. Everyone needs a company that they can count on always. So, it is important to make sure that you choose a company that operates within your locality.

In addition, a solar power company situated near you means affordability, flexibility, and reliability. If you are looking to hire a company that originates from a different U.S state, you need to ensure they have local offices in your locality with enough employees and tools for the installation.

Cost

Most people choose installation service providers – primarily based on the lowest bid. We suggest that the cost of installation services must not be the sole determining factor of your choice.

Moreover, it is important to consider the pricing of the company as well as other factors as mentioned herein. We recommend you to go for the most affordable company but make sure they deliver high-quality installation.

Do you need solar installation services in Houston, Texas? Sunshine Renewable Solutions offers high-quality solar panel installation service for both residential and commercial properties. “Sunshine Renewable Solutions” is a popular company with many years of experience in the solar market. They have qualified, certified, and experienced staff who use top-notch quality tools to get the job done accurately and professionally.

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Federal Tax Credit for Solar Energy Systems

30% Federal Tax Credit for Solar Energy Systems

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows new owners of solar energy systems to deduct 30 percent of their installation cost from their federal tax liability.

There is no cap on its value. This means that, as long as you own both your home and your solar system, a full 30 percent of the total post-sales-tax cost of your system is deductible.

That’s a huge advantage for early adopters of renewable energy technologies such as solar. Unfortunately, it does come with an expiration date. The ITC credit percentage will begin a tiered reduction on January 1, 2020, when it will drop to 26 percent. It will expire altogether on January 1, 2022. If you’re interested in going solar, don’t miss out on this opportunity for a 30 percent savings!

Get started today with a free quote!

If you’re curious about the details, check out the US Department Of Energy’s page or on Bankrate on the Investment Tax Credit.

The Current State Of Solar Panels

The Current State Of Solar Panels

the current state of solar panels

The Current State Of Solar Panels

Updated August 22nd, 2021

The silicon-based commercial solar cell was first released by Hoffman Electronics in 1955. At the time, the solar panel cost was $25 per cell, with a 2 percent efficiency rate. Since these cells were nowhere near as efficient as they are today, they costed $1,785 per watt. Adjusted for inflation, that’s around $16,000 per watt in current times —a far cry from the efficient photovoltaic modules of today which cost a mere $4 per watt.

During the 1960s, Hoffman Electronics was able to increase the efficiency of commercial solar panels to 10 percent, and the gradual improvement of solar panels has continued to increase drastically. During the 1970s, due to the Arab Oil Embargo, interest in solar panels grew larger, which brought in more funding for further research and development of photovoltaic cells.

It wasn’t until 1978 that the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act and the Energy Tax Act was established, which laid the regulatory foundations for solar power interconnections in the United States. The numerous federal tax credits and incentives that have been given to solar energy because of those initiatives continue to improve today. In the early 1990s, solar technology reached a new milestone when the National Renewal Energy Laboratory was able to achieve an efficiency level of over 30 percent. They were able to do so by using gallium indium phosphide and gallium arsenide solar cells. While this particular technology was not mass produced, it was used for several space applications while the residential solar panels continued to grow more efficient in leaps and bounds. Still, solar technology continues to grow more efficient, with peak ratings no reaching 22 percent.

New Technologies in Solar Power

The recent and rapid evolution of roof-top solar panels is due to the continuous technological advancements that have been made, especially over the past two decades, driven by increasing education and popularity of renewable energy and the positive impacts it has on the reduction of carbon emissions.

One reason for the increase in the efficiency of solar panels can be attributed to the developments of new solar technologies such as the Sonnen Battery, which is a smart and powerful energy system that is able to provide backup power and maximize solar output. Batteries provide power when your utility goes offline (during storms or scheduled outages), which gives you peace of mind knowing that you and your loved ones will be safe in an emergency.

Other technologies that have improved the efficiency of residential solar systems are flexible printed solar panels, which can be as thin as paper. These printed solar panels can produce up to 150 watts of energy per square meter with a stable power output of 12.2 percent. While flexible printed solar panels are expensive to manufacture at the moment, further development of the technology will soon lead to more reliable and affordable solar capabilities.

The use of microinverters and optimizers has also been another major improvement in solar technology, because they are much more efficient than traditional string inverters and offer realtime, panel-level monitoring of system health and production. You can learn more about this here.

The technology of solar power has been around for about 150 years and the technology continues to evolve, increasing rates of production, and in the process, becoming much more economical. In fact, the choices of going solar has never been more diverse than it is today. While that may make you wonder whether you should wait for the price to decrease further, the federal tax credit that is available today, along with a plateau in cost, gives you your answer. You can read more about the current state of solar panel technology here.