Solar Water Heating

Solar Water Heating
Its time has come

Friday, December 4, 2009

Climate change and the renewable energy industry

Sunrise Solar has been in business since 2000. We have always stood on the principle that renewable energy must make strong financial sense. The reason is that if it does not work for the bottom line, both businesses and residential concerns will not buy, install, or maintain such systems if it is not cost effective.
Global climate change may be effected by human interaction. That is not why we do what we do. We support the renewable energy industry because it does make financial sense, and has for a very short period of time. The reason I say that is because as little as ten short years ago, energy prices were such that installing solar photovoltaic (electricity) was not a viable option from a return on investment standpoint. It use to be a 20+ year payback. Today the costs of energy, both electricity and natural gas, has gone up to a point that we are either at, or soon will be at, a point of parity with standard forms of energy.
Example; Residential natural gas costs are still very low, so heating water with natural gas is still the cheapest and most efficient way to heat water in the home, however, commercially, heating a large volume of water daily with solar can be done more efficiently than with natural gas. If an organization heats more than 500 gallons of water per day, then solar can pay for itself and do this with a 5-7 year payback. As the price of natural gas fluctuates, the payback can be calculated for a considerably larger savings over natural gas, even in the long term.
The solar power industry has been growing over the past ten years, and now competition in the industry is causing somewhere very close to 8-10 year paybacks. Local utilities are offering incentives now that were not available ten years ago because they need to be able to see the benefit of a reduction of load capacity on the grid. Solar power is also a protection from future cost increases over time and levels the playing field for anyone that installs it on their roof. If you have panels on the roof making power, your meter either runs slower or backwards depending on your habits, therefore, cost increases do not effect you very much, if at all. Today, the Federal Government is offering a 30% tax credit for anyone installing renewable energy. By subsidizing the industry, we are helping the industry grow.
The price of solar panels fluctuates just like the price of energy, by helping boost the industry, the payback will hopefully get better in the future.
Recently in the news, the stories about climate change being a hoax are on the forefront of everyone’s minds. We will not aspire to assume what is really happening or what is truth. For us, it has never been the focus of our business, but a welcome benefit of “being green”. My Grandfather was a farmer. From about 1908 until he died at 99 years old, he was an environmentalist. Farmers have to be, we all have to be. The idea that people destroy the environment intentionally does not make common sense. Fortunately, renewable energy is coming of age because it is now cost effective and an environmentally intelligent option.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Can I get off the Grid with Solar?

"Can I get off the grid with Solar?" Is by far the number one question we get from everyone. Businesses, Municipals, and just regular people pose this question, which shows how much is yet to be learned about solar power and where we are in the growth of this industry today. To answer the question, we need to look at YOU. Hmmm, that sounds curious, lets dig in. I often use a calculator on the web from PV Watts. The first question we have to ask is "how many solar panels can we fit on your roof?". Then, we need to know if we can face them South. In North Texas we are located about 33 degrees latitude (to the south). What that means is that positioning from the equator, where the sun goes directly over head, we need to measure what angle to position solar panels to get maximum efficiency, then we can calculate, using our tool, how much any sized system will produce. By going to: . Click on the City closest to where you live and plug in the numbers for: DC rating, or the size you want to put on. The default is 4.0 KW. "how many panels can we fit on the roof?" well, 3.0 KW is 14 - 220 watt panels, 4.0 is 18 - 220 watt panels, and 5.0 is 24 - 220 watt panels. After that you need to put in what you are paying for electricity today, or how much you think you will be paying over the next few years in Energy Data - cost of electricity. the default for this is 9 cents, but most today are paying 12 cents. After you plug in 12 cents at the bottom, just hit calculate. The next page will give you a reading of what you get in one year from the size system you put in on the top like 4.0 KWs.
So with the reading of 5.0 KW and at 12 cents per kwh, we see that in Fort Worth, we will get about 7017 kwhs per year.
Here comes the fun part. after we figure all of that, we need to know how many kwhs YOU use on an annual basis. Are you a frugal person when it comes to spending energy in your home or business, or does your home look like the electronics section at Best Buy?
I got a call from a very nice lady here in North Texas, she has had a very successful life, lives in a very nice home and even has a pool, however, her electric bill is very high. She called to see if we could help her lower her bill, or offset some if not all of her energy use. Her averages per month were between 2000 and 3000 kwhs per month. Using the math that we did earlier, we see that a 5 KW solar panel system will only help her with three or four months of her electric bill. She simply uses too much electricity for the roof area she has available to take care of the whole bill. Some people I talk to do not use near that amount of energy, or they have a much larger area on their roof for solar, so now you can see how everyone is different, and finding out what solar can do for you is really a very detailed decision. If you can make your home or business more energy efficient, then you can have solar be a great benefit to you. typically most people in Texas use somewhere around 1000 to 2000 kwhs of electricity per month, so a 5 KW system creating 7000 kwhs per year takes care of more than half of there energy bill, and the system will pay for itself in about 12 years (with incentives and tax credit).

Today Solar panels and the cost of all of the components for solar power change weekly. The current cost of solar is somewhere between $6 and $8 per watt installed. What this means is that a solar power system of 5 KW will cost somewhere around $30,000 to $40,000. This is good news because just two years ago it was much higher. We also have some incentives in place today to help you pay for such a system. Utility companies are starting to offer some money, and there is a federal tax credit in place for 30% of a system, after incentives or rebates from utilities, or 30% of the total cost if you do not have any incentives available.

Solar installation must be done by certified installers, the rules for receiving incentives, rebates or tax credits are very clear. Equipment, panels, and installation must be done with the proper permits for the electricity and connectivity, so doing it yourself is not an option. Finding the right installer for you should be easy, just call us.

Jay M. Howe - Sunrise Solar of DFW
(214) 325-5877

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Solar Energy Today

Over the past few years, Solar Energy has come through some intresting times. We have seen the price of Solar panels drop as the supply worldwide goes up. Thankfully there are a large number of new manufacturers in the world market, and solar panels are made to last.

The most asked question is "how much solar do I need?" The first simple answer is, as much as you can fit on your roof, and second, as much as you can afford. Today in Texas for example we are seeing incentives being offered by local utilites as well as the 30% tax credit. So what that can mean is the purchase of solar power for your home or business can be realativly inexpensive.

A 5KW solar array, with all the connectors, inverter and such will cost around $35,000.00 , and if you are approved for utility incentives along with the 30% tax credit, you would only be out of pocket $16,000.00. Now what is that going to do for you? A 5 KW system in Texas should be able to take care of up to half or more of your electric bill. That said, let me caution you into thinking you will be getting all of that. The reason it is so difficult to guess how much anyone is going to save has to do with personal habits. Some people are very frugal with their energy, what I mean is they turn lights off when leaving a room, they use high load appliances in offpeak times, and they watch their energy bill very closely. Others, are wasteful, they have two TVs in the house on at the same time, set their air conditioning to 65 degrees in the summer, and do not pay attention to what they are spending on energy.

I'm sure that you probably fall in the middle somewhere, but the thought here is that watching how you use energy is just as important as how much you pay. What we have found is that after folks have installed solar, they tend to become their own "energy police". Once people realize how their energy bill works, load peak and off peak times work, and how they are living their lives, they tend to change.

We are always looking for the right fit for people, we want to make sure we are all getting the biggest bang for our buck, but it really comes down to personal decisions as to how well renewable energy will work for you.

give me a call or shoot me an email if you are intrested in looking at your options.

Sunrise Solar of DFW Inc.