Your Questions About Solar Panels For Your Home

Sandra asks…

Have you ever thoght about buying Solar panels for your Home?

ssadmin answers:

If you're thinking of installing solar panels, there are several things to consider.

1. Where you live – solar insolation (energy available) varies dramatically by region. NREL has a calculator that can help predict performance and estimate how much money a PV installation can save.

2. What incentives are available – each state has its own programs and often there are differences by utility. Everyone in the US can qualify for the 30% federal income tax credit (30% of the installation cost, up to a specified limit, can be deducted from your tax bill) and you can find the rest of them here:

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency®

3. What equipment and services are available – depending on where you live, your choice of installers (and therefore of panels) may be pretty limited. If you're a member of a PUD or rural electric association, check with them since they may offer support. Otherwise, check local directory listings for PV installers. If you can't find any, try a national outfitter like Real Goods or Akeena. A good dealer/installer will help you deal with all of the necessary paperwork to claim incentive money and get connected to the grid.

4. What your power bill looks like – you'll see the most benefit if you're currently paying a lot for electricity. Those who only pay $.10 to $.15/kWh will see less benefit than those who pay $.20 to $.30/kWh. Also consider if your utility is planning to raise its rates in the near future.

5. Where you will put the panels – A South facing roof slope is optimal, unless you have room on the ground for a tracking PV or dish concentrator system. Your local installer can help you with this, but make sure to ask them about it as it makes a big difference.

Chris asks…

Where can you get a loan for solar panels when your “upside down” in your home.?

ssadmin answers:

Go to your bank or credit union and get an unsecured personal loan or put them on a credit card.

Sharon asks…

Solar panel for your home?

I was wondering if anyone had info on where to go to have Solar panels installed on your house and I heard there were all kinds of rebates from the state to make this affordable . Please help . thanks

ssadmin answers:

In the US, there are tax incentives from the Federal government as well as several state governments. I've included a link below that shows you all the incentives available for each state. Note that there are often different incentives available for solar water heating than there are for solar photovoltaics.

If you are interested in getting an estimate on putting a solar system on your home, I would contact a company that is listed through NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners). There is a spot on their web site that will list certified solar instalers for your state. By choosing someone off the list, you know that you are dealing with someone who has some experience sizing, pricing and installing these systems.

Good luck!

Betty asks…

How do you heat your home with solar panels?

I use forced air to heat my home. I will need to replace my furnace in a couple of years, possibly less. I'm interested in solar energy for all kinds of reasons. It looks like a great solution for light and electric appliances, but how can it be used to heat a home? More to the point, if I were to put solar panels on my roof, would I still need to purchase a new gas-burning furnace, or is there something else I should factor into a solar electric system that could heat my house using forced air, in place of the furnace?

ssadmin answers:

Different type of panels needed. It would require many more panels than have room for to heat with solar electric. To heat your home the collectors have some kind of fluid circulating to absorb heat. The fluid is stored in a large insulated tank so that you can have heat as you need it.
I would suggest using the solar heat to supplement your conventional heat source. Never know if it will be cloudy for several days.

Linda asks…

Do solar energy panels for your home make sense?

I have heard solar PV panels cost $ 75,000.00 to save about $ 2,200.00 per year and only last 20 to 24 years and need replacement. To finance that cost $ 123,000.00 over 24 years at 4.6 intrest.This sounds like a financial disaster. Any thoughts…
If I spend 75k on panels I will save a lot more than $ 2,200.00 per year? The cheap quotes out there dont seem to exist around the mid west. There is much info rate life span at 24 yrs. and losing effectiveness as they age.

ssadmin answers:

As single home solution might not be cost efficient when you try to use the energy “1:1” in your home.

The concept is to use an array of solar panels on roofs and feed the energy into the grid.

Here is an article from CNN from today which shows how it is done in CA,
the article mentions companies which are active.

In NJ the concept is that solar panels are installed on roofs of buildings (schools, warehouses, private homes), the energy goes into the grid. There are different concepts: you buy everything and sell the electricity or companies “lease” your roof and pay you a certain amount.

The advantages of this is that the oil and gasoline prices do not contain the real cost, in economics this is called “externalized” meaning: you push the costs of the problems to somebody else.

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