If you’re worried about the aesthetics of your roof, using solar panels probably isn’t worth looking into, though we hear new technology is coming that will replace roof shingles with disguised solar panels. However, if you have some money to invest and want to reduce your utility bills and/or your carbon footprint, read on! Solar power might just be your thing.
The idea is that you’ll invest a significant amount up front in solar panels and installation, but eventually you will see a long-term decrease in your monthly power bill. You’ll also have more fun and guilt-free options for decorating your home indoor and out when it comes to things like adding power sucking features. You know, the fun ones! Solar energy can provide energy to operate a fountain pump and outdoor lighting, etc. It can give you the guilt-free go-ahead to use that little space heater when you want to curl up on the couch and be extra cozy. You won’t stress about leaving a light on in the middle of the night for kids looking for a drink of water. It’s all energy provided by the sun, and the sun never quits working.
And solar power is from a free, clean, and renewable resource (the sun) so it helps the environment — unlike most of our electricity that’s taken from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas that burn dirty enough to create pollution and a buildup of greenhouse gasses.
Solar panels are generally not moveable like the sun, so you’ll need clear “access” to the sun’s rays from your roof during the day. Your preferred solar panel installation company will expertly determine which permanent angle of panel installations will catch the most rays through all four seasons.
How much sunshine do you need for solar power? Of course, more energy is created in a sunny climate or season, but you don’t necessarily need to live in a year-round sunny climate to get use from solar panels. Check with your local companies to help determine your sunshine needs, or you can also Google for information on determining and calculating your area’s solar irradiance.
It’s okay to install solar energy panels even if they won’t meet or exceed your annual electricity use and generate enough power. If you have a day or a season or a year where you just don’t have enough sun to fulfill your energy consumption, power is pulled through the utility grid through (using your meter) like everyone else. You won’t go dark.
The fixed/mounted panels will directly convert energy from the sun into electricity by using what’s called photovoltaic technology. This means once the sun’s rays hit the panels, you get the juice. Or in highly technical terms, semiconductors turn the energy into electrons of direct current (DC) electricity, fed into an inverter, transforming it into alternating current (AC). This becomes the source of power for the electrical panel of your house.
The amount of savings is not straightforward and there’s more technical stuff to know (or not) after the energy reaches your electrical panel, the grid, etc. But the main thing to understand is, this energy from the sun is tracked and creates a credit on your monthly bill for all time. Viola!
The cost of this extraordinary power system will depend on factors such as your area’s cost of living (therefore, what the companies charge), how much electricity you use and what percentage of that you would like your solar energy system to supply. The more electricity you require, the larger the system you’ll need. There are some solar-incentive programs through some local and state governments that might give you a rebate or credit for installation and/or purchase. There are also some incentive programs where your surplus energy that’s fed to the power grid (and used elsewhere) is measured and you receive payments over time to pay you back for your initial investment. Check out this link to solar incentives by state https://www.wholesalesolar.com/solar-information/state-solar-incentives
Thinking of going solar in Durham or Chapel Hill?
Here are some resources to help get you started:
Town of Chapel Hill
The town’s website offers information and links to resources like:
A checklist that explains Chapel Hill’s residential solar permitting process
Guidelines that explain Chapel Hill’s residential solar inspections review
Going Solar in America: A Guide for Homeowners Considering Solar PV in America’s 50 Largest Cities
North Carolina Solar Policies and Incentives
The website lists the “6 best Solar Energy Companies in Chapel Hill, NC” and the “4 best Solar Energy Companies in Durham, NC”
Chapel Hill’s Leading Solar Power Company – NC Solar Now
“Go solar — and save money — with help from NC Solar! Our Chapel Hill, NC solar specialists make renewable energy affordable and accessible through custom, energy-efficient solutions like solar PV panels, solar water heating, thermal barriers and more. At NC Solar, we love what we do and it shows!”
Durham’s Leading Solar Power Company – NC Solar Now
“Make the switch to solar energy with help from NC Solar! We’re proud to provide energy-efficient and affordable solar solutions for homes and businesses across Durham, NC.”
Yes Solar Solutions: Solar Power Systems | Solar Storage
“NC’s Top Solar Installation Company. Serving Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, spanning NC. We offer customized solar panel and storage systems solutions.”
Solarize Chapel Hill
“Solarize Chapel Hill has tiered pricing. When more people in Orange County go solar, everyone’s cost goes down even more.”
2018 Cost of Solar Panels in Durham, North Carolina | EnergySage
“How much do solar panels cost in Durham, North Carolina?”
Chapel Hill Solar Panel Installation » Sun Dollar Energy, LLC
“Sun Dollar Energy offers residential and commercial solar energy panel installations in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, NC. Get your free solar estimate now!”
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