Maybe you’re considering moving into renewable energy as a way to help (or completely) offset the energy needs of your home?
Taking this step is one that should not be considered lightly, as the capital investments are typically greater than any other energy efficiency and green update/upgrade that you can choose to apply to your home.
Reduce Before You Produce
First things first, we want to be sure that your home is as energy efficient as possible. If you are going to create energy, it’s worth considering efficiency if you want to ensure that you’re not simultaneously wasting it. We accomplish this through projects such as air sealing, insulation, appliance and mechanical upgrades first. When your home is ready to utilize it’s resources as efficient as possible, we can help you take the steps and complete the research to choose the best system for your needs.
Types of Solar Panel Systems
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems: Used for clean electricity use in the home
- Solar Thermal (Hot Water) Systems: Used for domestic hot water and radiant heating
- Wind Power: Small wind turbines can be an effective way to create electricity for use in the home
- Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems: Use heat directly from natural sources like hot springs, geysers and volcanic hot spots
- Ground Source Heat Pump: GSHP’s are air conditioners that take the heat/cool from inside the earth and transfer it into your home using water and look like traditional heating and cooling units.
Analyze Your Electricity Consumption
Grid-Tied Systems vs Off-Grid Systems
The main difference between Grid-Tied Systems and Off-Grid Systems is where your electricity comes from when the renewable system is not active. For solar systems, it’s where you get electricity during the night or on dreary days. For turbine systems, it’s when the wind is not active…unless you’re in Wyoming where that’s not much of an issue. The vast majority of renewable energy systems will be “Grid-Tied” to ensure uninterrupted access to electricity, provided from the local utility.
- Reliable: Always have the local electric utility to back up your electric demand.
- High Efficiency: Electricity goes both ways, meaning you can either be pulling energy from the utility, or providing it. Often times, the utility company will pay for any electricity they take from your system. Going on vacation just got better.
- Simple to install
- If the utility grid fails then the solar PV array has no way of providing power as the inverter will automatically disconnect itself from the utility grid.
- Independence: Off-grid systems are not subject to the terms or policies of the local utility, nor are system owners subjected to rate increases, blackouts, or brownouts.
- Flexibility with future array expansion.
- Energy Super-Efficiency: Unless you can afford an oversized system, off-grid systems tend to force you to use electricity efficiently.
- You are the utility company: You take on the duties of the cursed utility you were trying to avoid. System maintenance and troubleshooting are serious, ongoing responsibilities with off-grid systems.
- Expense: Must have a battery system to operate and use electricity in off hours, and batteries don’t last forever.
- Wasted surplus energy: When the batteries are full and the sun is shining, say farewell to those kWh’s.