Category Archives: Blog
Solar GeneratorsSolar generators have made huge strides in effectiveness, and can be the entry point into storing solar power. Solar generators are portable, and the panels can be mounted just about anywhere—giving you flexibility to move to where the sun is shining. Sami Church, an associate at Solaroo Energy explains, “For most people who are worried about a power outage or a short grid interruption, a solar generator is a great way to go. They are affordable, and will keep the essentials running for a short period of time while the power is out.” Church continues, “Saving a freezer full of food during a power outage can save a lot of money. And having a microwave to cook is also handy. Most solar generators can handle the modest use of both.”
Rooftop solar, grid tiedOne option that is not often explored, is the emergency power that a grid tied solar system can produce when the grid is down. Special inverters offered by Solaroo can now be installed with an emergency outlet that is live in the case that the grid is down. This allows you access to a lot more power than the generator, since rooftop systems usually have more panels producing power. It does, however, only produce power while the sun is shining. Even though you don’t have a bank of batteries, like a battery back-up system, you can use that live outlet to charge a battery—including your solar generator. “With a live outlet on your rooftop solar system, and a solar generator to store power, you can use power while the sun is shining with your live outlet, and at night or on cloudy days use your charged generator,” Church continues, “Grid tied systems save you money on your bill, AND can be designed to give you options for emergencies.”
Rooftop solar, battery back-upFor those who don’t want to just survive during an emergency, but thrive—a complete battery back-up system will be the choice. Battery back-up systems use a bank of batteries similar to what you would find in a car or truck, just bigger. The solar power is generated from your rooftop panels, and is stored in your battery bank. These types of systems can be also tied into the grid, so that you only use the battery power in case of emergencies. This “hybrid” system also reduces your utility bill, and prolongs the life of your batteries, since you aren’t drawing the power down frequently. They can also be designed to function completely “off grid”, which is often times the only option for cabins and remote properties. Both the Hybrid and Off Grid systems will provide you with completely renewable energy for years and years (warrantied up to 25 years). The downside to these systems is that the batteries will need to be replaced after 8-12 years, depending on how much they’re used, and the cost of battery back-up is prohibitive to many—it can add 50% or more to the cost of an average rooftop solar system. Church says, “Whatever your appetite for emergency preparedness is, solar is the only reliable way to generate power over a long period of time, at an affordable cost.” So whether it’s power outages you worry about, or the zombie apocalypse, it’s time to give solar some thought.
Roof OrientationThe order of the best producing directions for your solar panels to face is as follows: First choice – south South is the highest producing because the sun shines in the southern sky for the majority of the year. More sun equals more production. Second choice – east Really? East? There are a couple variables, but yes, the East region might be inferior to the West in the NBA, but not with solar in our climate. One common misconception is, “the west side of my house gets so hot, it has to produce more than the east.” But, heat does not equal production, sunshine does. In fact, most solar panels operate more efficiently in cooler temperatures than in hotter temps. West will also have more clouds on average than east, mainly for the fact that afternoon thundershowers in the summer are more prevalent. Therefore the east (morning) is generally more productive than the west (afternoon). Third choice – west OK, it’s time to stick up for west a little as it is not far behind East after all and can very easily move into second place if you live on the east bench next to the mountains. East is not very productive when the sun is stuck behind the Wasatch Mountains until 10:00 a.m. Last choice – north We should almost say “No Place”, because north-facing roofs won’t even qualify for the tax rebates. Other factors can play into which sections of roof are the best to install panels, such as: trees, chimneys, roof vents, and other shading issues.
Roof tilts and anglesThe tilt or pitch of your roof will determine how much summer sun (directly above you) you will get, and how much winter sun (low at an angle) you will get. The most efficient angle in the dead of the summer for where the path of the sun is over Salt Lake City, is roughly 16 degrees, which is between 3/12 and 4/12 pitch. The most efficient angle for the dead of the winter is roughly 64 degrees, which is really steep (roughly 24/12 pitch). If you average each month of the year, and weight the summer heavier since we have more sunlight in the summer, a good angle would be between 28- 35 degrees (roughly a 6 or 7/12 pitch). If you are steeper or flatter than this, it does not mean solar won’t make sense, it just means you’ll be more efficient at different times of the year.
Shingle type and ageWhen talking about shingle type, the concern isn’t really about production — it’s about installation. Asphalt and aluminum shingles work well with solar panel installation. Tile shingles and corrugated metal roofing are more difficult. But production won’t be materially different based on your type of roofing. Age brings up two concerns: First, if you need a new roof next year, you’ll probably want to do that roof first, then install solar. It is expensive to remove a system and reinstall. Second, If your home is older and doesn’t have trusses, there could be some structural braces that will need to be installed to your rafters to be able to support the weight of your system. Most of the time those structural modifications aren’t expensive, but they will need to be made.
Solar energy is a resource with many benefits. It’s sustainable for energy consumption and continuously renewable. Not only can solar power be used to generate electricity, it can also be used to heat water. You may have already known these tidbits of information, but here are five additional facts that may surprise you about electricity and solar energy in Utah.
Utah’s residential electricity is expensive
If you were to research energy costs by state, Utah would appear to be one of the cheapest states. While this may be true in general, there is a big variance between commercial and residential cost per kilowatt hour.Residential rates average between 9 – 12 cents per kilowatt hour for the average home, and even more for larger homes. Summer costs can get even more expensive, with even higher rates charged to those who use over 1,000 kilowatt hours per month.
Kelly Curtis, Director of Operations at Solaroo Energy, a Utah based solar energy supplier, touched briefly on how the costs of residential electricity can add up quickly.”When it comes to commercial energy, the general rates for an average business are at three to four cents per kilowatt hour. Although that may be cheap, compare it to residential electricity. A house that is 4,000 square feet or more can be charged as much as 14.5 cents per kilowatt hour.”
Solar energy rates are fixed
According to the State of Utah Public Service Commission, one Utah power company has averaged 4.44 percent increases since 2000. In the last seven years alone, the rates have gone up 50 percent. The latest rate increase was levied just last month. “Utility rates have a history of going up, and they are projected to increase even more, whereas solar energy is fixed. You pay for it up front, but the cost of producing energy is fixed over the life of the system, and results in huge savings,” Curtis says. “Solar gives you the opportunity to control your rates, and control your power.” With solar energy, you are purchasing your own electricity generation at a fixed cost, allowing you to maintain the same energy rates for 25 years or longer. The best part is that the longer your solar panels produce energy, the cheaper your energy will be.
Solar system guarantee
You can now have a warranty on your solar system (not the one made up by planets orbiting the sun) that will guarantee how much energy you will produce over the next 25 years. While many companies offer leases for their solar panels, keep an eye out for a good warranty and production guarantee.
Technology has improved
Advancement in technology is the main reason why U.S.-based manufacturers are now willing to warranty entire systems and components for 25 years. Curtis also mentioned how using specially designed solar panels from SunEdison, a Fortune 1000 company and a global leader in solar technology, can make all the difference when switching to solar energy. “Many solar energy companies continue to purchase their solar panels from China because they are really inexpensive, but they are also poorly made. These solar panels lose their effectiveness only after a few short years,” say Curtis. “SunEdison guarantees that your panels will produce the energy we say they will over 25 years.”
Solar system costs have come down in Utah
The cost of installing efficient, reliable, and maintenance-free solar systems in Utah is much more affordable compared to other states, according to Solaroo Energy. For example, systems in California can cost up to $7 per kilowatt, whereas in Utah, systems will cost as little as $4 or less per kilowatt. The cost of solar energy has decreased over the last few years. With the ever-increasing electric rates, the time has never been better for installing solar systems in Utah.
Image SourceDo you open your electric bill every month knowing it’s going to be high and dreading the moment you pay your bill? We understand. We were in your shoes once with high bills, but not anymore. We don’t have to worry if Rocky Mountain Power is telling the truth when they say that they’re working on keeping prices down because we have a fixed rate with solar energy. With energy prices rising annually, make sure that your energy bill stays consistent with solar energy. Solaroo offers different financing options so you can afford solar today! The time for solar in Utah is now, so what are you waiting for?